Winter

— Rebecca Johnson

The temperature had long since dropped below freezing, but hardly any snow stuck to the ground. The air outside was brittle cold, the landscape in a state of suspension, caught between the seasons as winter slowly took hold. Everything stripped bare and exposed.

As the already dark sky grew darker, a solitary figure draped in a red wool blanket retreated from the only house for miles around. Hateful words and bourbon burned hotter than the crackling flames in the fireplace. Unmarked land stretched in every direction, leaving no path to follow. The red-clad figure moved like a bloodstain on the barren landscape.

The ground was becoming hard, a signal of winter’s approach, and boots crunched across its surface. The blackened, naked trees stood vulnerable, petrified as if frozen in terror. Their gnarled limbs forbade the figure passage. But the figure moved on.

A wind, sharp like knives, slashed at pale skin, leaving it raw. The trees were unmoving, stark and skeletal against the pearl grey sky. The house grew smaller in the distance.

The red clad figure looked up at the branches crossing overhead. The figure turned in place, spinning and spinning, faster and faster, watching as the branches blurred and became graceful once more. The world kept spinning even after the red blanket was strewn across the cold ground, a human shape lying on top of it like the victim of a bloody crime.

The figure didn’t move even as the first flakes settled on its skin and in its eyelashes. Snow slowly covered the pale, numb statue, diminishing the brightness of the red blanket as it was hidden beneath white. And the trees, their extended limbs catching little snow, stood guard.

 


 

Rebecca Johnson has a B.A. in Creative Writing from California State University, Northridge and is currently continuing her writing education at Chapman University. She is a Los Angeles native and self-acknowledged starving artist. Her love of literature began early in life and stirred her over active imagination, inspiring her to become a writer herself. When she’s not writing she’s telling herself she should be. She doesn’t have a backup plan.