Winter Wonderland | Teen Ink

Winter Wonderland

February 17, 2012
By mdoering PLATINUM, Phoenix, Arizona
mdoering PLATINUM, Phoenix, Arizona
39 articles 0 photos 10 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Sure, I can talk like you, but I choose not to, It's like an art, you know? Picasso had to prove to the world he could paint the right way, before he goes putting both eyes on the side of a face... See if you paint wrong because that's the best you can do, you just a chump. But you do it because you want to? Then you're an artist...You can take that to the grave and dig it up when you need it.”
― Neal Shusterman, Unwind

The harsh winter air hit me like a slap in the face, causing me to wince and gasp in surprise. I shrunk my body up tightly into my old black hoodie and shivered. The night was silent. Even the customary city noises were muffled and distant. I released my warm held in breath, took in a new icy one, and stepped out into the night, closing the creaky arcadia door behind me. I didn’t lock it. I wasn’t planning on returning.
I moved briskly and of no volition of my own. The eerie winter night had ahold of me and guided me through the solemn streets and past generic housing toward my destination. The dirt lining the frozen concrete crunched beneath my feet as they followed a well-worn and familiar path leading away from my tiny suburban neighborhood and into the next. My hands had subconsciously retreated up into my sleeves, leaving only my milky white fingertips protruding from my all black ensemble. The effect was that of floating stubs of pale human flesh with a frozen bluish tint to them.
I masterfully controlled my breathing and my heart rate as an Impala passed by and gradually disappeared into the night. The image of its tail lights remained burned on my retinas long after it was gone. I came across my old high school, pausing to finger the burningly cold metal rungs of the chain-link fence. I hated every moment I spent here. Not one single spec of happiness all four years. I kept walking. A church I’d never gone to loomed in front of me. Over the years it had amassed two cheap modular buildings, a parking lot, and a gaudy crucifix attached to a telephone pole. Some religion.
The cold had woken me considerably and my mind was starting to wander. I busied it with the recitation of song lyrics. Each syllable cut through the silent night like a shard of glass. I repeated the same song over and over again with forced cheeriness until my voice died out due to frigid air, but I continued mouthing the words as I crossed the deserted street and entered into the slums. Here every other house was illuminated, casting an ominous glow into the wisps of frosty air as I released them from my mouth.
I stopped dead. This house was dark, but I knew it well—ancient red brick, Spanish roofing tiles, gravel-filled landscape; it was my destination. I silently hopped from stepping stone to stepping stone, never disturbing one petty rock in the yard. The chocolate-brown door was adorned with a sad little wreath. It was dead and crumbling, and spray-painted purple. I tried the knob, locked. I reached into my jacket and retrieved the credit card I’d tucked under my bra strap. I slid it into the crevice next to the knob and jimmied it. The door popped open with a sound that was akin to the popping of a Pillsbury biscuits canister.
I stood silently long enough to ensure that nobody had been disturbed, and then proceeded inside. I felt my feet sink into the hideous green carpet. I looked around, composing photograph quality stills in my mind. There was a half-eaten slice of cherry pie sitting on the kitchen table. Next to it was a broken plastic fork. My eyes seemed to hone in on every shard of plastic involved. I couldn’t help but wonder if this was his fork and his pie. I shivered.
I took to the stairs and ascended slowly, hands haphazardly splayed along the railing. At their end was a doorway. It seemed somehow whiter than the rest of the surrounding white-washed walls, almost as if it were a beacon calling out to me. I opened it.
I was in a shoddy bedroom, bare except for a small nightstand with a tabletop lamp and a queen-sized bed that was occupied by a fair-haired teenaged boy. He lay there asleep and drooling. I stared down at him for a long time before moving out of the doorway. I came up on his right and crouched down beside him. I could hear him breathe and see the rising and falling of his chest. I drew in a breath and held it as I extracted the cold metal object from my pocket. My hands shook, either from cold or from fear, as I held it out in front of me and felt its weight settle into my palms. I closed my eyes and squeezed.
The bang resounded, leaving me deaf. I opened my eyes. He looked exactly the same, minus the depression in the side of his skull that was slowly leaking red fluid. He never even opened his eyes. I sighed and tenderly stroked his beautiful, fine blonde hair.
“Merry Christmas,” I whispered and brought the gun to my lips.

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