Ice Queen

She touched her finger to the window pane. The summer heat shimmied just on the other side, as the frost formed around her.

A tiny snow flake drifted down from the sky, melting on the hot concrete. In this heat, a single snow flake was all she could do. She had wanted power and now she had it, but it wasn’t the kind she was expecting. The deal she made felt sour.

Ice formed on her walls in her brooding. Inside she had more control, fewer variables. The air conditioner turned off. A crystal formed on her palm. She set it down on the night stand next to her bed, with the others.

She went to the kitchen, made herself lunch before trying again. Every day it got colder, so so it should be just a matter of time before she had any control. She sighed, the cold crackled around her.

She grabbed her bag, the water bottle in it freezing with a snap. She shouldered her bag and got into her car, she drove to work, the second shift at the grocery store. She stocked, and stayed mostly in the back.

In the huge dusty storage area she played with her powers, frosting boxes of fruit, and making tiny flurries dance down the rows of storage shelves. When she had to enter the public domain she tied to avoid the customers. Her boss spotted her.

“We need you on register three.” He ordered marking things down on a clip board, “Dia didn’t show again.”

She dutifully marched herself up to the front of the store and signed into the register before flicking on the light. The line formed instantly. She did her job, surreptitiously doling out justice, refreezing melting fudge pops for the worthy, and freezing the milk and eggs of those who displeased her.

“This is not what I had in mind.” She muttered under her breath as she scanned items.

“Did you say something?”

She looked up from the belt, he was cute, he was young but had white hair, curious. Her brain felt like it was underwater, “No nothing.”

She passed him his change. She stared at him, he didn’t flinch when her fingers brushed his hand. Blinking, she stumbled through the store mandated goodbye. She swore he looked back at her and smiled. The grouchy old lady next in line banged her cane on the counter.

“Some of us aren’t getting any younger here.” The lady shouted much to the lines amusement.

Blushing furiously she got back to work. The lady snatched the receipt away from her so fast it gave her a paper cut, she was glad she froze the old lady’s sour cream. The store closed at eleven, but her shift didn’t end until midnight. She cleaned and restocked with the rest of the staff until their official third shift arrived to relieve them for inventory.

Finally done, she went to her car and rested her head on the steering wheel. The leather was still warm from the sun.Her windows started to fog, condensation from outside gathering and freezing. She sighed a cloudy breath and tried to refocus so she could get home. The raindrops splattered on the ice melting it.

She drove home in the rain.

In the morning she tired to freeze the puddles until it was time to go to work. Her sadness crept into the cold of the store room. The flurries of yesterday turned into ice, slick ice. Her coworkers blamed it on the air conditioning.

“How can you stay back here, its like zero degrees.” One of her coworkers opened the shipping doors.

She shrugged. “Its not that bad.”

“They’re going to start calling you the ice queen if you keep this up.”

“Better than ice fingers, frigid bitch.” She rested her head in her hands, “Or singing ice ice baby.”

“You should report them to the manager if they do that.”

“Could be worse.”

“That doesn’t make it okay. Lets step outside and warm up a little?”

She surrendered and followed her coworker outside. The heat was suffocating.

“We should go back inside, I wouldn’t want to get in trouble.” She went back through the shipping door and started restocking the bread.

She hoped every tap on her shoulder would be that guy, but it never was. Weeks passed, she started to make it snow a couple of flakes before they melted. Months passed and she was in her glory, the leaves dropped off the trees and the temperatures plummeted. The first snow fluffy she turned into a full scale blizzard.

Feeling unstoppable she marched out of her house, she cleared snow with flick of her wrist. Icicles dangled  from every house, the trees were coated in ice, the three feet of snow completed the picture.

“A world of ice.” She smiled.

“Is it everything you wanted?”

She spun the voice, it had to be him. His snow white hair nearly blended in with the landscape.

“What?”

“Your power.” He gestured around. “The snow.”

“How do you know it was me?”

“Because I didn’t make three feet of snow the first of November.”

She looked at the snowy ground.

“I’m Jack, and you need to control yourself.”

Admonished, her shoulders fell. “I just wanted to be comfortable, happy.”

“Just be careful.” He turned and walked away.

She ran to catch up to him. “Jack wait, you were at the supermarket.”

“Man’s gotta eat.” He stopped walking. “Now I don’t want to have to come back here.”

“Why not?”

“I have better things to do than babysit you.” He said then disappeared in a swirl of snow.

She sulked back to her house. The store was closed until the snow got cleared, she sat in her living room playing with the snow drifts. Her house was cold as an ice box.

It took them four days to finally make the roads passable. The store opened, and she went to work, the dry heat from the furnace making her sweat. Everyone was complaining about the snow. There were hardly any customers, and most of the day was moving around boxes in storage room to make room for new shipments.

The next flurry she couldn’t stop herself and again a full blizzard.

A note floated in her window on blue paper. “Please stop” was all that was written on it.

“Why?” She screeched out her window. The snow deadened the sound.

It rained the next day, she turned it into a sheet of glass. No one dared travel.

Another note arrived. “What are you doing?”

“I just want your attention.” She wrote, then erased, changing it to, “Being powerful.”

He showed up at her door the next day. “Do you think this is a game?”

She shook her head, “Do you?”

“I don’t want to fight, I just can’t stay for very long, there are other things I have to take care of. You are taking up a disproportional amount of my time, with nonsense.” He put both hands on her shoulders, she looked into his ice blue eyes. “No more nonsense.”

She nodded, she could hear her heartbeat in her ears.”No more nonsense.”

He turned to walk away and she nailed him in the back with a snow ball. He turned and ran up the walk, slipping and sliding on the ice. “I just told you no nonsense.”

“Maybe I wanted you to come back.”

“Are you five?” His face was getting a little flushed.

She put her hands on her hips and tried to look womanly, “Obviously not.”

“Really?”

“I’m like twenty, I’ve got a job and everything.”

“Well good job for you, I’m the king of winter and you’re throwing snow balls at me. I’ve got bigger problems to deal with, you need to let me deal with them. Then I can deal with you.”

She crossed her arms. “Why should I believe you?”

“Because I’m the king of winter!”

“I don’t believe you.”

“Fine then don’t, just behave yourself.”

She tried to make a pile of snow from a tree fall on him as he walked away, he deflected it. Furious she marked back into her house and slammed the door.

“I’ll just have to take over this ice monarchy.” She muttered as her windows frosted over.

She practiced every day to get better, she could make it snow for days now. Jack had showed up twice to reprimand her. It wasn’t December and they were having record breaking snowfall.

Jack didn’t show up until the new year had started. He looked disheveled, broken. He pushed his white hair out of his face. His ice blue eyes were sad, brimming with tears.

“What happened?” She stopped smiling.

“You win.” He muttered.

“Win what?”

“Are you really this dense?” He shouted. “Do you have any idea how any of this works?”

“No, no one would tell me what was happening, yourself included.”

He rubbed the bridge of his nose. “Well she was supposed to explain it to you when you got your powers how everything worked.”

“No one did, I did try to ask.”

He made a noise at her. “Well here’s what happened. My father died, I got his powers. On her death bead mu mother granted several women powers, and failed to explain anything to any of them You are the strongest, so we are getting married at the start of spring. I have arrangements to make. Goodbye.”

“What if I don’t want to marry you?”

“You don’t have a choice anymore.” He left.

He didn’t return till spring. She had believed it had all been some kind of nightmare.Then the ceremony started. She was practically marched down the aisle by a guard She was briefed on her duties as Ice Queen, nothing sounded unreasonable.

“Maybe this won’t be so bad.” She muttered looking around her new home. “I might actually like it here.”

 

 

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Crystals

The crystals changed us, the ones who found them. They made us different. They made us strong. They made us dangerous. In a world of sheep we are wolves.

The power they give us is intoxicating. We never take them off, if we did we would lose everything. I held mine tighter as I walked into the building, hiding its glow. We crept over sleeping bodies of citizens of our city.

Being their last hope and them having no idea of the danger they were in put us in a difficult situation.

We walked across the room to the center before we released our crystals. Chanting quiet words we cast the protection spell. They would be safe tonight. We left without a trace. We go from house to house each night casting the protection spells keeping Her out.

Her being the one who uses her powers to kill. Like I said we are powerful, wolves among sheep powerful. With a different spell we could kill all the people in the town, we could make them suffer. We could make each other suffer.

Our band chooses to protect, while She causes chaos.

She didn’t win tonight, and She won’t win tomorrow. We will make sure of it.

The Great Return

She heard the voices of dismay as she clawed her way from the water. They hoped she had drowned, like the innocent women before her. She kept the curses from spewing from her lips, destiny would find them soon enough. Her magic bubbled though her bloodstream wanting release, revenge. She choked the words down as mud caked her fingers and soaked clothes. She relished the sweet taste of the air, and stood up her legs weak, but functioning.

“She’s a witch!” She heard the holy man shout over the noise of the crowd. A pinch with her hand silenced him. If a witch was what they wanted a witch they would get.

She looked the woman at the front of the crowd in the eye, “Mistress Mary, I helped you deliver three healthy babies and this is the thanks you give me?”

The woman cowered from her withering gaze.

“All the good I did for this pitiful town and you decide to kill me?” She addressed the now silent crowd as a whole. “I eased your pains, cured your ills, and kept you safe, more often with knowledge than magic.”

A glance at the holy man told her he was still trying to argue with her, in spite of not being able to talk. The whole town had turned up to watch her dunking, and now they all cowered before her. It was as if they knew that one word from her lips could kill them all. They didn’t deserve that easy of a death, she thought, she had seen the things that would come to the town in her absence.

“Remember all the death you have caused.” She whispered and trudged away with her soaking wet clothes. An unnoticed motion released the holy mans voice. She went into the woods, it would be a new town a new name, and hopefully a different fate. Her house had already been burned, with her magic makings still inside. It would be difficult to recover all of the supplies, but not impossible.

The road to a new life would be long, her clothes drying on her back as she walked along with a little bit of magical help. A little more magic produced enough coins for her to rent a room for the night, she would have to keep moving for now.

On the road she found a poor man who was lying injured on the road. She healed him with a few words, he paid her with a coin for her help. She wished him safe travels.

After months of traveling she settled down in the city. A few modest healing spells on children and mothers quickly got the word out about her amazing skills. She would keep a lower profile here than in her old town. Most people didn’t know her name or where she lived. She would just appear when people needed the most help. Sometimes she even helped without people’s knowledge. Keeping a board from falling on someone with a flick of her wrist, stopping a child from running into the street, alerting someone to danger before it got too close. Small things she promised herself, only small things.

Character: Lim

Lim was born low in elven society, to a castle cook and a Fletcher. He was small for his race, when he was fully grown he was just over five feet tall. Always being the smallest had its disadvantages, bullies being the worst of them. He often found himself spending more time with the woodland creatures.

He rescued many a critter from snares set by human hunters in their sacred woods. He knew his destiny would be to be a Fletcher like his father. He spent most of his childhood in the woods. Childhood was important to the elves, they felt the short time they were allowed to be children was a time that could not get back.

He started to learn his craft in adolescence from his father. He spent time in the kitchens with his mother, gathering knowledge from her as well. The castle was an interesting place to be, full of hustle and bustle. On several occasions he caught glimpses of the royal family. They were the most beautiful elves in the whole kingdom. They never stopped to look at the kitchen staff when they brought food out, so Lim went wholly unnoticed.

As he grew older he felt he could accomplish more than his birth rank would allow. He started to talk to other elves who lived around him, trying to learn more skills. He soon mastered metal working, and paper making. He learned them quickly, and took up more, script, potion making, healing, spell casting.

Word of his accomplishments traveled to the royal family. He received a letter with the royal seal on it. He could either stop what he was doing, or be killed. He didn’t see anything wrong with what he was trying to do. He left the city taking his skills with him. He went into the forest to learn without the threat from the crown looming over his head.

His friends in the kingdom would bring him books so he could continue to expand his knowledge. After many years of exile he started to get visitors he wasn’t expecting. Young children were turning up in his yard. He didn’t chase them off, allowing them to play their games in his wildflower beds.

He watched them grow in his yard, knowing this freedom would be a very small part of their lives. He got a knock on the door. On his doorstep was a boy, old enough to start learning his trade. The boy wanted help mastering a particularly difficult technique of stripping feathers for arrows. Lim obliged, having many techniques to teach the boy.

The boy came by often asking questions about everything imaginable. Lim shared his knowledge willingly. Teaching the boy everything he wanted to know. He did not know the boy visiting him was the prince until a royal battalion showed up at his doorstep demanding his appearance at the castle. He complied because he had no choice.

The hearing was quick. The princess sat on the throne with her parents and her husband beside her. The boy stood at his mothers side, pleading loudly for Lim’s life. They spared his life, and allowed him to be part of the community, seeing how much better her son’s life was with his satisfied curiosity. He would be part of the court if he wished, as a honored scholar. Lim chose to stay in his cottage in the wood, but he would take on any students that wished to know more. The prince was the most excited about the decision and hugged Lim, much to everyone’s surprise.

He spent the rest of his days teaching anyone who chose to visit him about a variety of topics, and learning more all the time. He often traded knowledge, skills that he had for skills that he lacked. He understood he was not a master of all things even with his extensive knowledge.

Office

A cupboard full of books, stuffed and stacked until no more could fit. A few were piled on top along with assorted bottles in various glowing colors. The cupboard itself was unremarkable wood stained and burned from accidents and spills. Its varnish wearing away in places where many hands have touched to open its doors or run fingers along its shelves. The books were a multitude of colors and subjects. Dust collecting on book that haven’t moved in months, others freshly thumbed through with new wrinkles on their spines. A tiny worn step stool sat in font of the cupboard on the worn out rug. The rugs flower design long turned brown from muddy shoes and dirty feet. Sunlight has bleached whatever was left to pastels. The rug is edged by dark hardwood floors, worn smooth from years of use. Recently painted walls were no match for the messes created, their perfection already marred by potion splatters. The window’s tiny squares of glass are immaculately clean, the frame not as much. Ridges were worn into the wood from the brass latch and fingers pushing the window open. The desk under the window as in worse shape than the cupboard. Two of the four drawers were stuck shut their treasures forever locked inside. A hole was burned all the way through the top of the desk fixed with a small square of glass and some metal. The top of the desk was littered with ink, paper, books thrown open on an assortment of subjects. Bottles cluttered the corners of the desk threatening to topple from their precarious perches, all stuffed with herbs and ingredients. Feather pens were scattered around the room with an array of notes tucked under them. The largest cluster was around a well worn arm chair a similar floral pattern had vanished along with the rugs.

Witching Hour

Her laugh reverberated through the cold dark room. Her high heals clacked as she paced. He long floor length dress picked up the dust that clung to the ground like a blanket. She knew she would have to go back upstairs to the party soon. She looked over at her captive, who was struggling to free himself. She walked over and kissed his forehead his muffled screams coming through the fabric. He would die tonight.

She swept up the stairs and out the door. The music covered his struggles in the basement of the opulent castle. She took her husbands arm and he swept her around the dance floor. His innocent smile made her eyes sparkle with secrets. With every twirl her smile grew. The applause was deafening when the song was done, she didn’t remember any of the steps they had done. She remembered her plan to murder the man in the basement, perfectly orchestrated.

She gave her husband a kiss on the cheek and politely excused herself. After some refreshments and small talk she retreated to her liar once again.

Her captive had knocked himself over, but accomplished nothing else. She removed his gag, he screamed but the walls of the castle were thick and the music was loud. She sneered at him. He fell silent, tears of fear glistening ready to escape.

“What are you going to do to me?” He asked his voice cracking like a child.

She crouched close to him, so her face was close to his.  She took in the smell of fear, the look of terror growing as she stayed silent. She touched his cheek with a long fingernail and the tears broke free. She chuckled softly, unable to contain her joy.

“Please let me go…” He pleaded through the tears.

She went to the small table where her book was kept along with the only lit candle and her blade. She picked up the slender knife twirling it skillfully in her fingers as she approached her captive.

“I don’t want to die..”

She lifted his chair from the ground, with surprising strength for someone of her stature. With swift flicks of her blade she sliced his arm from his wrist to his elbow, avoiding his bonds. He screamed in agony. The blood sluiced down his arms to the floor. Dripping and filling the design on the floor drop by drop. She waved her hand over him and retied his gag. She placed the bloodied knife back on the table and blew out the candle. She could feel his life draining and revitalizing her. She blew out the candle and made her way to the stairs and back to the party by the pink glow of the spell.