Frostbite

Winter either bites with its teeth or lashes with its tail. ~Proverb

On the 22nd of December 1994 a family, were known as the Goodriches. Like any typical Irish/Scottish Catholic family, their family was large, and whatever event occurred they would all be involved, They lived in the southern end of Oregon, where they lived peacefully in a suburban area. There was a couple by the names of Mr. Andrew Goodrich and Mrs. Erica Avery Goodrich. They had two daughters and a son by the names in order; from the eldest to the youngest, Helena, Melody, and Duncan.

One of the children, the middle child: Melody, at the age of 7 had a pet mouse named Mittens. Due to the fact that this particular mouse was a Mini mouse that was mostly black but its legs were white. Everyday, Melody would play with the mouse by holding him and letting him crawl on her. She giggled every time the little mouse's feet skittered on her. However, that evening, Mittens wasn't as playful and didn't crawl so much like he used to. Melody gave Mittens a puzzled expression on her freckled face.

"Mittens, are you okay?" She asked her furry friend.

The little mouse just curled up in a ball in her hand and she felt his sides heave in a silent sigh. The girl lifted both of her eyebrows at the mouse and was still puzzled. Suddenly, after a few seconds, she had an idea.

Melody got up from the floor in which she was sitting on and put the mouse in its glass box. She shoved the mouse near the food to try to see if he was hungry, nevertheless, Mittens did not eat. The mouse didn't even seem to look at his food; he simply gave a blank stare at the corner of his glass. Then Mittens crawled to that corner and tried to curl up again, giving another silent heave before closing his eyes to try to sleep.

Melody giggled, "Mittens, you can't sleep there tonight!" She picked up the mouse as she continued, "You always sleep next to me at night remember?"

She went into her bed and set Mittens beside her. First she said a few prayers, such as to find the perfect gift for Mittens, she pulled the covers, whispered good night to Mittens and fell in sound sleep.

Once Melody was asleep, she began having odd dreams of a creature, a small, fuzzy creature with some familiar features, trying to crawl towards her. She stared at the creature in a more sleepy state and asked in a whispering voice, "What are you?" In reply, the creature gasped for air and tried to crawl, more and more towards her. Its feet went directly on her arm, clawing at her skirt and still gasping for more air. Melody's sleepy expression suddenly became a horrified one. Everything seemed so real, the creature, the clawing, the gasping, and the biting on her arm.

The very next day at 6:00 am December 23, a cry, a shrill cry echoed through the house; which bounced off on every wall and every ceiling. A 10 year old girl with red hair awoke with a start and looked toward her door. She jumped out of the bed in her cat print pjs and she opened the door. She rubbed her weary eyes with her fists and tried to walk to the source of the sound. Then, a four-year-old boy with strawberry blonde hair awoke and walked along with his sister. Two larger figures ran toward Melody's door and yanked the door open to see their little girl shaking as she loomed over her bed. The woman that was one of the two larger people ran toward her daughter and hugged her tight.

"Melody, we heard you scream! What's wrong?" She turned on her daughter's lamp, and much to her dismay, she saw the reason for her daughter's horror.

"Yeah, why did you…" The red haired girl started to say before she saw what her sister and her mother were staring at. She exclaimed, "Ew! It's dead!"

The two male figures also loomed over the bed and saw the tiny creature, with its mouth open and it's tongue hanging out. The expression in the helpless creature's eyes were lifeless, the fur was scruffy and unkempt. One of the male figures sighed and his wife let go of her daughter to let him hug Melody. He kneeled down to her level and embraced her.

"I'm sorry Melody, but unfortunately, these things do happen, and no one can do a thing about it."

The boy looked down at the dead creature and exclaimed, "Ooh! Can I poke it?"

"Ducan, no!" His mother exclaimed with a stern expression.

The four year old asked why and his father simply told him to hush and said that this was not the time to play around, nor was it appropriate to joke around when someone just passed away.

"But it's a…" Ducan started to say, but his father wouldn't hear anymore of it. Then Andrew stared right into Melody's eyes and promised. "We'll give Mittens a burial in our backyard. You can even make a cross for him, would you like that?"

Melody couldn't respond. She was too upset as it was and she exploded with tears and cried on her father's shirt and the tears seeped through.

After a few hours of getting ready for the day and breakfast, (though Melody didn't eat anything, she mostly fiddled with her fork and looked down at her pancakes) Duncan and Helena, the red haired ten year old dug up the hole to put the mouse in. Ducan had fun just digging the hole with his toy shovel. Melody made a cross, with mom's help, that was made out of Popsicle sticks and she wrote on the vertical part of the cross "Mittens", then on the horizontal part she wrote, "Care for".

The mouse was put in the hole; Andrew covered the hole with the extra dirt. Melody did the honor of putting the cross and inserting it into the dirt. She also had something else in her small hand. It was Mitten's favorite toy, a cloth Mittens dragged away enthusiastically to chew on. She placed it at the foot of the cross and she kneeled down to pray. Helena and the rest of her family joined her, to show her that they cared. Suddenly, it was 12:00 pm, lunchtime, so Duncan and Helena walked away to go inside to find something to eat. Erica wanted to be sure they wouldn't get into anything she didn't want them to get into, so she kissed her daughter's forehead and fast walked to the house. Melody's father sat beside his daughter and said, "The snow is supposed to come in thick this time of year Melody, we better head inside."

Melody looked up at her father with a sad and silent stare. He helped his daughter up and they both went inside. However, Melody couldn't help but look at the scene of the cross and the words inscribed, "Care for Mittens". That dream she had, she suddenly realized, she knew it was true. Mittens, before his death, most likely did all of the things to signal her that he was in deep pain. He clawed, gasped, bit with his teeth, and he lashed with his tail.