The snow in Cervaux is forever unforgiving. It is a white demon asleep on forest floors and village mud. It is a muffle on top of the sounds of spring and the smell of grass. The snow in Cervaux is a demon killing your favorite faerie, your uncle telling you the Solstice Stealer isn't real. Of course, the foxes don't mind as they crouch behind bushes with their powdered fur, snarling, waiting. Until a little girl walks by, and then she is alive no more.

"Nia, stop that. You're scaring your brother."

"I'm not! Are you scared?"

He shakes his head, his big eyes indignant for more gore.

Yes, yes, they press the foxes in the pages of their myth books and call them false, but they cry when their little girls fall dead near the forest, their blood leaking, seeping, a fire-flower on the canvas of the - "Don't listen to her. She's making this up," their mother's voice called.

"Do you think I am making this up? I saw it with my very own eyes. Its luck I tell you, that a girl as little as I was didn't die in those curving fangs. Luck, I tell you."

His eyes close, and his toes curl as he thanks the gods and stealers above for her luck. He thanks them for him being a little boy and not a girl.

Remember the little girl named Marla? He excitedly nodded. Well, that's all she is now, a remembrance. They don't have no nothing of her, not a single bone. He gasps too deep and starts coughing. The foxes are a cruel thing, boy. The snow is crueler. It is not flowing like water, it will trap you underneath and suffocate you until you give up. It won't forget, and it will not forgive.

"Alright that's it. Both of you. Bed. Now."

"I need to teach him, so he can save himself."

"He'll get saved from your lies just as much as I'll be warm when I go outside naked with deer antlers on it."

"Why "when" and not "if"?"

"Get outta here."

The fire behind framed her massive body making her look monstrous as ever, with her rolling pin in one hand and the other on her hip, nostrils flared. The waft of freshly baked bread rolled in from behind her.

Remember me when the foxes get hungrier and start looking for uncomprehensive mothers. Remember this, remember that I didn't lie when your daughter gets too close to the woods. I'm not lying, boy.

"I know. I trust you," he said hurriedly, with his words bubbled up from his chubby cheeks and small age.


"Okay, okay. Ma, tell me what it's like to have the ultimate speaker of truth grace your presence everyday, tomorrow morning will ya?"

"I'll tell ya what I'll tell ya." She advanced towards them, rolling pin rising and then they were gone. Like dust bunnies and sunlight. Vanishing into nothing, only in this world with a thread of memory in her mind and heart. Memories of Nia fantasizing about her foxes and her brother incessantly giggling to hide his fear, the cottage warm and safe from the snow in Cervaux, that was unforgiving indeed. She fell to the floor, her weight crashing on the floorboards and dug her head into her hands and weeped. The rolling pin rolled away and hit the fireplace that hadn't been used for the past eleven years. She gasped in dusty air between breaths. Faces flashed by - an officer, a General's chariot, the snow in Cervaux, a little crazy girl and her gullible little brother. She whispered to herself, "It was the best thing in the world to have the ultimate speaker of truth grace my presence everyday. Come back to me and I'll tell ya." She closed her eyes, and breathed deeply. The floorboards never quivered with her weight ever again.