It’s that time of the week again. Next week – along with some others hopefully – I’ll be trying to do some positive seasonal SF and so this week I’ve pretty much indulged the dark side. Feedback is welcome.
Oh, and I’d like to politely (and respectfully) tip my hat at Neil Gaiman, for reasons that should be obvious if you continue reading. Here goes:
Blood and Snow
By Neil Beynon
“I miss the light,” said the man.
Jess didn’t move from the doorway, the snow on the roof slowly melting against the fabric of her slippers, her toes becoming cold from the damp. She wanted to go back downstairs, get back into bed with Carl and fall back into dreams but her body would not obey.
The man was shorter than she expected, barely taller than her brother, and bald – his smooth pink pate gleaming in the moonlight. Although his broad frame was turned away from her, she knew the words were meant for her. He ran the fingers of his free hand through his grey beard before shifting his gaze from the sky to the building opposite.
“I suppose the tundra isn’t much better,” he continued. “But at least you don’t feel like your falling into forever.”
Jess followed the man’s gaze to the building and a soft-lit window. Her cheeks burned at the steam-smudged movement within the room and she looked away quickly. The man sighed heavily, his eyes lingering on the window and his weight all on one side.
“I never thought I’d miss it,” he said.
Jess wanted very much to go back down to her apartment now. She rubbed her arms against the cold trying to ignore the staccato rhythm in her chest and unable to look away from the man with his strange fur-lined robes. The mottled texture of the fabric made the colour hard to make out in the moonlight, it looked familiar although she was hoping she was wrong.
“No matter what I do,” he said. “It’s never enough. I don’t think I’ll ever be allowed to stop.”
“Is…is that blood?” asked Jess, pointing at the man’s robes.
He looked down at his robes.
“Yes, it never comes out,” he replied, shifting the sack to his other hand. “No matter how hard I try.”