Frost Farmer sample
The Frost Farmer
Leaving home was healthy. This statement brought him as much misery as freedom, as he worked not lose years' worth of nerve to a moment of sentiment. The last confrontation still stung like first frost on an already withered plant. This was not his doom though. He was not some damaged creature of the garden to be cultivated for someone else's dreams, pruned to their liking year after year of being under-watered. He was the master of his own labors and would be held accounted for the growth or stunting of his produce. He was to design his own life now.
Yet everything felt cold to touch. Far from numb, he felt the burn of frost-bitten fingers in his ribcage, making threats with their words of doubt. Each surge of pain accompanied skin splintering words about his worth, his potential, and a hundred reasons that he had neither-that he only inherited a sliver of these through proximity to the tribe of verbal sadists. These whispers had power granted by his ego. And if he could bear it, then denouncing his pride's desire to gain worth might save a man who had that very value from birth.
The man raised his head against the misshapen monster which they had grown from seed in his mind. He gathered every dry piece of brush and wood he could, the words of the kind and wise against the chill, and built a fire against the cold in his body, shooing away the ice which had grown in him for so long with the new flickers of light. It had to be intentional, precise actions to melt that within him which had so long been a part of his reality. But the frost farmer would use his skills of husbandry to grow what he desired despite the history of cold, and despite the seasons of hardship. He would learn what to plant, and how to take care that the cold would not wither his potential again.