The frigid air sears my lungs, making it harder to run. My gasps for air and pounding heartbeat do nothing to drown out the scratching sound of my pursuer. Skeletal branches, so hauntingly poetic in the day, petrify me in the dark. The pregnant moon spotlights my every move. The barren branches offer no shadows to hide me. Ice coated brambles grab my sodden jacket. Panic explodes through me. I rip free, and finally reach the clearing that holds my home.
My sanctuary. I see the warm glow of the fire in the windows; smell the smoke from the chimney. It’s so close, a mere twelve feet away.
There’s no way to run silently in snow. The glittering crust cracks with every footstep, the sound magnified by my terror. I hit a deep drift and it swallows my leg up to my knee. Exhausted, I struggle to keep moving.
Chattering little creatures pour from the tree line, an otherworldly dance troupe flitting across the top of the snow. Their icy skin glows in the moonlight. A part of my soul yearns to dance with them. It makes me hesitate, just a moment too long. The creeping ice touches the back of my leg, jolting me back to reality with a burning intensity.
Survival instinct spurs me forward, struggling to reach porch. I hear the radio murmuring “…composed in 1946…” Behind me, the corps de ballet relentlessly spin and leap, erasing the ugly scars my trail left on their stage. With soaked clothes now made of ice, I pull myself up the steps and stretch desperately for the door. Thick frost creeps down my arm.
“…roasting on an open…”
My fingers stiffen like my frozen clothes; I fumble at the door knob. It is impossible to grip. I cannot even cry as the crystalline beast dances up my shoulder and peers into my eyes.
“…Jack Frost nipping at your nose…”