Estimated reading time — 4 minutes
Their world was white. For as long as they could remember, the world had been white. Perfectly white snow was all around. Even when the snow had ceased falling from the sky, it was still cold. It was always cold. Cold enough that the snow wouldn’t melt, forever collecting on the ground outside. For as long as they could remember, there had been snow on the ground.
“All is white,” said the girl, huddling by the fireplace. The boy put more wood in the fire, and came over to hug the girl.
“It’s just snowing again,” he said.
Sometimes the snowing would cease, and the white sky would become impossibly clear. But, even then, the world was white. He looked at the dwindling pile of wood.
“We need more wood,” he said. The girl gazed back at him hollowly.
“What about the pile of wood in the attic? We’ve been saving it since the last time it was snowing.”
“This is the last of it.” The fireplace filled the room with its last remnants of heat. The boy and the girl huddled together. Despite everything, they were happy. Yes, this white world was imperfect, but it was their place, and they were together.
The snow always started with an earthquake, and the last one had almost turned their home upside down. Neither could remember a time without earthquakes. The earthquakes were erratic, and came without warning. Around Christmas, they occurred almost daily, but at times they would go for months without one. Yet, even during these times, the world was white.
“I’m going outside to get more firewood,” said the boy
“You have to get the wood now?” she asked. “What if there’s another earthquake; the snow has just barely stopped falling.”
“If I don’t go now, we won’t have enough wood for the next few months.” She kissed him, and made him promise to return to the cabin in one piece.
The boy trekked through the snow, his white footprints marking his way back to the cabin. Other than snow, the cabin was the only thing for miles. When he was in the forest, it seemed as if no matter which direction he walked, he could find his way back home. The forest itself was very sparse, just a few snow-covered pine trees for wood. At first, they had worried the forest wouldn’t be enough, yet the small forest seemed to somehow replenish itself; new trees kept growing back whenever the boy returned for wood. His hands white from the cold, he grasped his hatchet and approached the tallest pine.
“BUT I WANT TO PLAY WITH IT AND MAKE IT SNOW AND YOU SAID I COULD!”
Without warning, the voice had appeared, knocking the boy backwards. He picked up his hatchet and got up from the ground. Turning, he looked around for the voice’s source. Surely, anything that loud would be seen. But he saw nothing but white. He wiped snow from his pant leg and tried to put the voice out of his mind. He had imagined the whole thing. Perhaps it was the cold. The couple had long given up on meeting anyone else out here in their cabin, there couldn’t possibly have been another person. Certainly not a person with such a loud voice.
He gathered the wood and put his hatchet back into his pocket. The ground shook. He grabbed a nearby tree to steady himself. As violent as they were, the earthquakes never lasted long. The worst part was afterward. The snow would fall and fall, impossible to avoid.
The boy had dropped his firewood, and, with difficulty, he attempted to gather it. The snow was blinding. Other than the cabin, there was nothing around for miles. He knew he had to get home. He had their only hatchet, and if he couldn’t get back to the cabin, then the girl would have no more firewood for the constant harsh winter. He slowed his breathing and gazed around him at the white. Each angle looked impossibly like the last. He gathered his nerves and decided to head off through the snow.
Ahead, he saw a clearing. In this clearing, it was not snowing. In this clearing, it was not white. Like the sky, it was impossibly clear. The boy ran towards the clearing, and as he neared it, he was pushed back. Some barrier, some invisible clear sheet was preventing him from making it to the clearing. The boy stood, and put his hands out toward the barrier. It was a sheet of cold glass. Clutching his hatchet, he approached the barrier, when he was knocked back again by the voice.
“HAHA-I WANT TO MAKE IT SNOW AGAIN! I LIKE THIS GAME!”
The boy again looked for the source of the voice, turning around for a sign of anyone nearby.
“Hello,” he called out to the unending world of white. Receiving no response except an echo of his own voice, he turned back towards the barrier. What he saw made him fall back into the snow. A giant hand, large as the sky, was reaching towards the barrier. The hand grasped it, covering the barrier, and blotting out the white sky. Everything went dark. The boy cried out, as he felt the ground move. He slammed into the barrier from the force of the earthquake, desperately clutching for his already erased footprints. The snow attacked him from all sides, and his face was filled with cold. After a few minutes, all was still, and the boy turned to see the giant hand ascending once again into the sky.
“PUT DOWN THE SNOW GLOBE, DEAR,” he heard a loud voice scream. But this was different, an older voice, just as loud. Not knowing, not understanding, the boy picked himself up off the ground and grabbed his firewood. The snow was falling everywhere, and there was nowhere else to head but into the falling blanket of white.
Credit: Miles Purinton