How is it that on a snowy night, when the drifts skirt first floor windows and pile into mounds atop cars, that not even the smallest noise can escape the vacuum? Each night I walk the path behind my house through snow up to my ankles and silent blizzard that buffets my face. Each night I dress too warmly with full knowledge that when the snow falls the air between flakes is warmed by their alabaster bodies. It is never truly dark; I assume that this is because my house must be near a larger luminescent metropolis. I can't be sure; I never leave the path.
As I walk snowflakes manage to penetrate the scarf wrapped around my head and the hood capping it. Frigid water melts like icy tears on the tops of my cheeks. I walk backwards with my spine to the gusts. I see the trees coated in robes of powder; the ends of their barren branches like mangle spindly fingers. The trees all droop and bow and sway in the wind. There are other houses, all connected like chain links; townhouses like mine. Sometimes I deviate from the path, knock on the doors and go inside, but no one is ever home.
On the insides of the houses there is more snow, as if the outer shells, though solid, are nothing more than mosquito netting. The shapes of furniture are evident under pristine layers of untouched white and the wind does not blow. I have looked inside the cars, too, but it is more of the same and they are no longer operational. The cars are nothing more than monoliths of an implied idea.
I stop walking backwards after twenty steps and turn, my face centimeters from the hanging, ivory branches of an oak. It is the only deciduous tree that has retained its shriveled brown leaves. They reach like a billowy hand out to me, which has frightened me on several occasions when I forget they are there. I am paranoid. Any person would be when surrounded by constant peach tinted dark, trapped in a void where there is no sound.
The end of the path is at the bottom of a hill. The road running horizontal to my path has been plowed, though still harbors an inch of snow that have fallen since. This is something that bothers me. I have sat here for long stretches of time, I can't be sure how long, and never have I seen a plow, nor has the snow risen despite the constant flakes from the sky. There are more, larger houses down the road where it splits off further down; their lights are visible from here. Beyond them, there is only white. On a more tenacious night I have trekked to the end of the road. What I found was most disturbing; or at least I think it should be.
There is no end. I walked in what I perceived to be a straight line only to find myself where I started. In this place I can walk away from a place and still come back to it. Sometimes I think I hear people, their voices greedily eaten by the quiet of the snow, but I never find them. I cross the road only to loop back up to the foot of the hill that will bring me home. A line of houses begins at the bottom and lead up to the summit. In the eggshell glow of the street lights shadows of the falling flakes skip across the snow that already inhabits the ground. If there is any merit in saying so, this sight is my favorite.
I turn off the sidewalk outside the abandon row of houses and make my way through the backyards, and decisively planted trees. The snow is shallower here under the canopy of skeletal trees. I hear a voice and whip around but there is no one there. I sigh; I can't tell if finding another person in this place would be terrifying or exhilarating, either way I would not have a reason to trust them.
Remembering things in this place is a challenge. Imagine memories as pieces of paper. Having a lot of memories adds up a reasonably large accumulation of papers. Now imagine trying to hold on to every single one amidst a hurricane. I do not have a name that I can remember because I let go of the memory. In a place where there is only you and the silence, there is no need for one. The one thought I try hardest to preserve no matter how hard this place tries to take it away is my theory that wherever I am it is not a place meant for normal people. There is no escape, and I find, I haven't the will to desire leaving. I don't know which thoughts are mine and which are fabricated, but no matter the truth meeting another person in this world could only mean they were put here because of something negative.
I arrive at my front door. My house is the corner house of my cul-de-sac and the only house that is not as wintery on the inside as it is on the outside. I am sweating now, under my layers of sweaters and down coat; I under dress in the doorway. I did not design my house and if it really were my house I don't think I would have designed it this way. In a bout of insanity I once rearranged the dull furniture only to awake later to find everything back in its original place.
I leave my snow soaked coat and boots and most of my clothing in front of the door, knowing it will be pressed and folded when I awake again. There is no time in this place. It is always night; always snowing, always silent. No matter how long I manage to stay awake the sky never changes, the blizzard never stops. The one place where things can change is my room; and it is for this reason that everything is messy. I can hardly walk into it without hurting myself, but I prefer it to the stillness of the rest of the house. I have dragged the mattress from the confines of the bed and propped it up unevenly in a corner of the room. This way there is just enough room to sleep on it and just enough discomfort to remind me not all things stay the same.
I clamber over the piles of clothes that I never wear and books I've read countless times to the mattress where it will sit until I become stiff. There is a large standing sentry outside my window with another not too far from it. I can just barely make them out from here because of the reflective orange glare provided by the paper lamps hanging from the ceiling. I look at my reflection, which goes as unchanged as the snow filled homes and inoperative cars and long fingers of the trees. Outside, beyond the glare, tree branches move in a way that is not the familiar pattern of the wind. My stomach turns over as I bear witness to the movement of a goliath. It is made of darkened branches and drenched in snow. What I compare to my own body as a shoulder sways back and forth as it walks away from my window.
I do not move.
When it is gone, its footfalls sending tremors that cause the trees outside to shed their robes of snow; it leaves an enormous gap in my view that I realize has always been there. How could I have walked by a thing so massive? To clutter my window and blend with the already existing limbs it had to have been standing in the parking lot.
Before I get the chance to fret over what the thing looking through my window was blood seeps from a cut in the fleshy side of my forearm. I do not remember having a cut. It hurts, but I do not panic. I have hurt myself before both unintentionally and otherwise; when I wake it will be healed. I am wrong. The cut opens wider as if a shard of glass that I cannot see is being dragged over my arm. My knuckles begin to ache and swell and turn purple. More cuts peal open on my shoulders and thigh and face. I would be remiss to say it is not painfully because it is. I scream, but the sound is lost in vacuum.
My blood is staining the mattress and carpet and for once I am unhappy that the only way to clean it is if I do so. I fall on my side, spasming from the agony of being cut open by a force that I can neither see nor hear. It takes a very long time for to fall asleep after the cutting and bruising ends, but I do eventually.
When I wake; I am in my house no longer.