Chilled

It was dark. Not the deep, empty dark, where your eyes can't penetrate the thick black veil of sky, but the kind of misty midnight blue that feels soft on your skin. Sparkles and shimmers twirled and sliced through the night, sparks of white to drastically contrast the sky. It would be an electric sea of paleness this winter. The blanket of twinkling powder that lay over countless miles of earth held an interest to him. Inside that house was a small child, a boy of seven, with his nose pressed firmly against the bedroom window. His warm breath fogged the glass below his young snow-shocked eyes, creeping up like ivy until his vision was obscured. He wiped the moistness away with his small sweater's sleeve, only to place his cheeks in the same position next to the cold pane of glass. Mesmerized, he turned, as if in a trance, gathering his boots and coat from his closet. Holding the bundle of clothing in his tiny arms, he crept downstairs after a quick glance into his parents' sleep-filled room. It was far too late for him to be awake, let alone out in the cold air, but he was restless. He dressed quickly but quietly at the foot of the steps, his independence making him appear much older. He cast his eyes about the hallway before proceeding to the door, reaching high to open it. He turned the knob slowly and carefully to try and stop the gust of cold that rushed and crowded into the house. Stepping forward with delight and anxiety, he walked out into the night. He was the only figure for those miles and miles of white, alone and embraced in his warm jacket. Like a statue, he stood against the wind, his eyes closed and mouth open. He tilted his head back and stretched out his arms against the current to catch the spirit of the winter chill. The moon's glow cast his shadow out behind him like a wound in the ground, tall and dark. It was the only reminder of his existence between the deep snowdrifts surrounding him. No matter how loud the pounding of air on the winter sea, it was still peaceful. He opened his eyes and let his arms fall to his sides, staring up in astonishment at the star-strewn heavens. He felt as if he could reach up and brush the pricks of light aside, as if he could take a handful of the night in his hand, and maybe put it in his coat's pocket. He had this secret, whether in his hand or in his heart and it bled on into the rest of his life.