Walking, walking, walking, and walking. On to my own destruction I go. Over hills, through valleys, and into the cave. Inside there, the cold overwhelms and there is only darkness.
She's closer. I know by the way my mind seems frozen, but my heart beats in anticipation. So, I await.
The first time I met her I was a foolish, young boy. She was as alluring as any woman, but seemed even more so. She rode into our town and pulled up to our little town. There I greeted her as any bellboy should, but when I saw her face, my heart melted. Then I knew I would never love another single soul like I knew I would come to love her.
She placed her hand out for me to grab and I did. Her touch although ice cold filled me with sparks of light none could understand. I pulled her out and watched in awe as she strutted into the lobby. She seemed to create a shock around all the staff as amazing as she was in all her furs. She quickly signed in though without a word and escaped to her room.
Later I was charged with taking her belongings to her room. As I entered her living quarters I paused, for beyond I saw her furs lying on her bed and her gentle figure waiting in a chair near the mirror.
"Enter," she commanded in such a voice I can only describe as angelic.
I obeyed willingly and gazed upon her beauty. Her eyes were like sapphires that had been frozen, her face pale and without blemish, her hair the color of snowfall, and her lips as red as a rose dipped in blood. She smiled and I caught a glimpse of her perfect crystalline teeth. Her voice escaped from her mouth with the same result as warm honey.
"Come closer. Approach me Michael Johnson."
I obeyed her command and came closer. She placed an icy hand on my cheek as mine found its way to her's. Soon her smooth lips were pressed against my warm ones and her tender embrace enveloped me. Little did I know that even then she was spinning her web.
The days flew by like a leaf soaring through the wind. Our times were filled with dances, talking, and star-gazing nights. And after each time I filled moved into a more distant state from others who I used to converse with. I didn't understand yet, that each time we were together I was left with an empty hole, and nothing could fill it. How could I?
None understood what had happened to their sweet Michael Johnson. I was a different man. What happiness I used to have was long gone. No more friends and no more activities. Every passing day brought my infatuation with her more lustful. She began to invade my sleep and every conscious thought was of her. The more I thought the less I knew. The only truth I would accept was that she needed to be with me.
Then one day, without explanation, she was gone. I searched for hours until the night was upon me. They said my mind had gone insane. The only one who stayed by my side, was my beautiful Annie. She was the light in this awful world of darkness. No matter the tribulation I put her through, she stayed by my side.
Over time I forgot my lovely ice princess and grew towards Annie. My precious gem. Her locks were of pure ashes. Her face, pale as the moon. Oh, how I grew to love her. We spent each day in hopes of another. Eventually I asked her to become my bride. When she agreed I was overjoyed, but a strange, nagging worry I didn't understand was felt too. it wasn't long until I learned what it was.
It was a Sunday and I was busy combing through Annie's curls. She laid her head on my lap and hummed a song I had composed for her.
"Blessed warmth, Oh, how brave.
Your tender embrace is over all.
My heart is true, flying as a dove.
Forever you will be my love."
Then the news arrived. A stranger had arrived. One with hair as snow and lovely as an angel. I knew what this meant. I understood how I would react. My love with Annie would diminish as soon as I saw my former lover. All thought of marriage would vanish. With that I stayed in that spot with Annie until the sunset. The moon rose and Annie finally decided it was time to leave for home. I couldn't though. I knew what would happen. I had to make Annie understand. I had too.
I grabbed Annie's face in my palms and told her what she must do. For this is what I told her.
"If something happens to me and you don't know what. If I disappear without a trace, or somehow leave with the fleeting snow, you must go on. You can't wait for me. You can't go after me. You can't have any hope of my return. You must go on with your life and find someone. Marry a good man and have wonderful children. A girl with your curls and his eyes. A boy who has your eyes and his hair. Do you understand, Annie? You have to understand."
She nodded with silent tears running down her cheeks. I was crying too. Even then I believe she knew that we would not meet again. I still remember the way she looked that night. Her eyes glistening with sadness, her hair flowing in the wind, and her words, painful as a sword.
She said those words with such solitude and such hurt, that I took her into my arms and embraced her. I leaned down and she pressed her lips to mine. Our tears mingled and our lips lingered slightly. Then as quickly as it had happened, it was over. We let go of each other and went our separate ways.
As I turned back one last time, to watch her go, I saw her face. It was different now, as if my words had given her wisdom and understanding beyond her years. The sad thing was that she understood what I had said. She knew she must move on, and after wiping her tears away, she did not shed anymore. I was another closed chapter in her life. Forever.
This was betrayal. I betrayed the ice mistress, that is true, and I betrayed Annie also, but I betrayed someone else too. I betrayed me.
I ran. Constant running and running. Running from what I knew, into what I didn't. Running from my love, and to my destruction. Running from life and to death. Running to her.
Days, weeks, months, years? I lost count many moons ago. Time had lost meeting as did my existence. Sometimes I wasn't sure if I was dead or alive, old or young, awake or unconscious. All I knew was I had to find her. I had to find the end to this tragic story.
Many times I would find myself gazing at the heavens and wishing I could be nothing more than a single star. Exploding across the night with light for weary travelers such as myself. I would give hope to the hopeless. Alas, it was not to be. I was mere mortal in an immortal world. Living in complete misery and longing for death. Yet, I knew I couldn't starve, or kill myself. It must be done by her. Only her. She was the one who had brought this upon me. She would take it away.
So I went on in the wilderness, hoping for hopelessness.
Eventually I arrived at this place. This cave that is alive, yet dead. This cave that is like me.
I wait and wait and wait. She will come, she can't resist. Another moon and another sun pass. Time after time this cycle goes on and on. I don't sleep though, not wanting to miss the chance I've spent possibly a millennium trying to find.
Even though I vow to keep my eyes open, I am still taken by sleep. The sleep that is of the awaken. I see myself running again, but to another destination. To Annie, to my home, to where I used to belong. This dream last for as long as I can remember and I recall twelve moons pass before it passes, but this could still be part of the slumber.
I sigh and think. I've always ran when things were bad. I was orphaned at nine years of age and ran from the village before the orphanage could find me. Another time I was fifteen and ran from a town terrorized by soldiers, thinking only for my own safety. I ran from the war when I was eighteen. And finally ran now to this.
Some would say this is different. that maybe I'm running to death bravely. The truth is that I'm still the coward I always was. I'm running for escape again. This escape just happens to be death.
Have you ever wondered if two word could change one's life? I believe it can. Examples can be given. "Marry me," "I do," or simply "You will." In my case, I had two of the most unfortunate words for those who wanted to live. For the ones who dreamed of dying they were joyous. Those two words are "She's here."
I stood up and waited. The blizzard that had come in last night was because of her. I knew it. She was more powerful then anyone could ever imagine.
She entered with as much dignity as the King himself could manage, perhaps more so. I did not bow though, this monster deserved nothing from me or anyone of that matter. She gave a quick glance around the room then her eyes landed on me.
"You have been waiting for me," she asks in a voice smooth as ice.
"Yes. I have, Your Majesty," I practically spit.
She smiled and walks toward me with such grace, it puts any royal to shame. I am not impressed or intrigued.
"You want me back, don't you," she asks.
I smirk,"No. I don't ever, ever want you back in my life."
Her smile fades and anger clouds her face. She thrusts her hand forward and in raging wind pushes my body onto the wall of the cave. I smirk again and edge her on.
"I never loved you either. You were too cold for me."
She lets another wind rush up to meet me. She didn't love me, I know, but she can't stand resistance. So I give it to her. I resist and resist.
"I hate you Snow Queen! I hate your being. I hate your pretty little face, your snowy hair, I hate your very existence!"
With that shout all fury breaks loose. The winds rush at me and I'm lifted into the air. Snow blinds my eyes. The cold surrounds me and reaches into my bones with its sharp fingers, yet through all this I get a flashback of all the memories I cherished.Annie's hair in the wind, my mother's loving arms, working for the inn, my sister's gentle eyes, Father's warm smile. Then I see the memories I could have had. Annie in her wedding dress, my sister and her dear husband, my little children playing in the snow, and my grandchildren reading by the fire. The last thing I see is the sunlight shining as me and Annie walk, hand-in-hand. Then everything fades while I feel the warmth of long-forgotten happiness.