The Ice Lady: A short winter story
“Haven’t you heard?”
“You don’t know? About the missing people lately?”
“Oh my God!? Missing people?”
“Yeah, apparently there has been a large number of kidnappings lately this winter. The police have been on nonstop investigations all night. Have you seriously not noticed?”
“I guess I have seen a lot of police cars around… I’ve kinda been cooped up on college work so it must have just flown over my head. Tests are next week after all.”
“No way really!?”
“My God. So while I’ve been busting my butt off trying to study, you’ve been sucking up gossip? Is this even for real?”
“Hahaha… Yeah, my bad. But what I’m telling you is one hundred percent the truth! I even got a notice on my door telling people to stay inside during the night!”
“Wow… Hope they catch whoever is doing this…”
“Yeah, you’re telling me… Anyway! So about that test… “
“No I’m not gonna help you-”
The two college students continued to ramble on about their college studies in the seat ahead of mine. I really don’t understand how people can just talk so loudly in public spaces like that, but then again I was being pretty nosey. Like that other student, I actually had no idea about this either, and I even work the night shift. I mean I never trusted walking around at night anyway, and always stay prepared. But I need to pay the bills, and hearing about some psychopath out there stealing people at night was making me begin to wonder if I can hold off this month’s rent. Maybe I could just hold off on the electrical usage… but that would also mean less internet… Less tv… and possibly freezing to death in my sleep… “I really need to get a better paying job…” I mumbled to myself pitifully.
“Here’s your coffee Mr. Maple!” The woman at the cashier exclaimed.
“Oh! Y-yes!” I said awkwardly, raising my hand and getting out of my seat.
“Take care now, make sure to stay inside, I’m sure you heard the rumors,” She smiled, lightly indicating at the loud students, who were still arguing about studying. She was an attractive lady, with beautiful back hair.
“I’m sure everyone in here has,” I grabbed my coffee, which was a little hot, ”Thank you. Have a safe night.”
She chuckled as I walked out of the cafe.
Feeling pretty good that I made a pretty lady laugh as part of my morning, and that she drew a small heart and smiley face on my cup beside my name, which could mean anything but I let my imagination wander, I walked to work with a bounce in my step. Even work was going pretty smoothly. Didn’t have to deal with a single idiot of the grocery store! Unfortunately, my streak of good feelings had eventually run dry. On my way home I noticed a large number of police cars investigating a broken window at a nearby hotel. And I couldn’t help but wonder if we were even safe inside our own homes. But I’d like to see some crazy person try and attack me in my own home. I’ve watched all the home alone movies at my grandma’s this Christmas and I’m now fully prepared… and I have a gun… But that’s beside the point.
“Hello, Mr. Maple syrup!” A small child’s voice called out to me as I was walking to my apartment.
“Oh hello there, little goblin,” I turned and said with a smirk.
“I’m not a little goblin!” The child puffed up, “I’m a huge ogre!”
“Haha, sure thing buddy,” I shuffled his hair.
This was my neighbor’s son, little Johnny, though he hates it when we call him little. He was a rowdy little boy, hence why I called him a goblin. But he was also a sweet kid. He would always come over to my apartment asking me to join him in his shenanigans, or join me on mine for that matter. His parents were really cool people, often inviting me to dinner sometimes. They were also cops or at least worked in that field, so they were often not home. I definitely felt safe having people like them as neighbors.
“What are you up to anyway?” I looked over to his yard. It was covered in snow, and was scattered with snowmen of all sizes, some with hats, some with childish attempts at faces, his mother was also outside watching him on a chair, she waved, “Making an army?”
“Yeah! Dad said there were bad guys around, so I wanted to show them what I’m made of!” He flexed with pride.
“Wow, you definitely did a good job, if I was a bad guy I’d definitely be worried about that army!”
“Heheh!” He snickered, rubbing his nose, and took off to his yard, “Cya maple syrup! I gotta get back to work!”
Walking back to my apartment, I noticed there were drawings on my window, they were a random array of faces similar to those on the snowmen from earlier. I guess this was his way of protecting me from the bad guys. Luckily they were drawn using the precipitation on the glass. They were cute either way, and it felt rude to wipe away something someone made for me, so I just left them there. Work was probably the most exciting part of my day, once I was home I didn’t do much. I mostly just surfed the internet and I didn’t have many hobbies, I’ll probably need to work on that… Eventually, after a day of doing nothing and having pizza for dinner, it was time for my night shift, though I doubted anyone would go shopping at night with the recent news. And sure enough, I was right. Barely anyone came to the store. I mostly just sat at the cashier playing phone games.
“Hey maple, could you take out the trash? You’ve been sitting on your butt all night.” A coworker asked.
“It’s not my fault no one’s coming to buy midnight twinkies dude,” I said begrudgingly getting out of my seat, ”Alright fine.”
“Thank you sir.” They said with a smile.
Outside at night was way chillier than it was during the day, so by the time I opened those cold glass windowed doors, I was already regretting it. The parking lot was completely empty, the only cars being there are those belonging to the workers. I was never one to really be scared of the night or the dark. But the flickering street lights and tall looming trees surrounding it weren’t exactly helping. Now of course being outside at night you’d naturally get chills. But while I was coming back from throwing out the trash, I had gotten a particularly spine crawling chill that ran up the center of my back and my hairs stood on end. I quickly turned around and looked about to see if anyone was there. There was nothing around me, in the parking lot, or the trash can. Scanning around eye level, I noticed a flash of something in my peripherals… Higher up… In the trees. When I turned to get a better look, the area where I thought I had seen something was vacant. Maybe I was just being watched by an owl, those guys can be creepy after
all. Have you heard what their children sound like? The stuff of nightmares. After successfully calming my nerves and reassuring myself. I went back inside to finish my shift. And not feeling like taking any chances, I asked my coworker to drive me home. They finally made it to the front of my apartment, we wished each other a good night and they left. Watching as their car drove away my eyes naturally drifted off to my neighbor’s yard. The neighborhood was well lit so it wasn’t too difficult to see out there. I’m surprised I didn’t notice it before, but all of little Johnny’s snowmen had been destroyed and snow was scattered everywhere. Looks like he had fun earlier today. I’ll have to ask him how the battle went tomorrow. I finally entered my apartment, got changed, and went straight to bed. I struggled to sleep, getting weird nightmares of flashing faces, smiling faces… Almost childlike drawings of smiling faces… and one large… cold and icy skinned… smiling face… whispering… “I… LOVE… YOU… “… It was a rough repeat of that for a while, but I finally got some rest.
The morning walk to the coffee shop was rough, but I eventually made it. Two people left the coffee shop with a ring. It was little Johnny’s parents. They were dressed in casual clothing, but apparently, they decided to come here and get some coffee for the morning while Johnny was at school. I guess everyone is trying to get work done during the day while they could. I don’t blame them. I entered the Coffee shop. To my surprise when I entered it was surprisingly quiet. The two college students that were usually chatting up a storm weren’t there. And I guess with them missing it basically changed the whole mood of the cafe. I really hope they are just taking that test they keep blabbering about. At least the pretty cashier was there… I should probably ask her name instead of calling her the pretty cashier, but I don’t really know her like that? What if she thinks I’m some sleazy dude trying to hit on her, I mean it would be cool to like get to know her more but-
“Huh!?” I said out loud like a moron. Realizing I zoned out while walking to the cashier, “Oh, I uhh… Can I have the usual please… “
She chuckled, “Alright, and my name is Morrisa by the way.”
“Oh… You heard?”
My ears felt like they were burning. A humiliating morning this is becoming…
“Cheer up buddy, “ She handed me the coffee.
“That was quick,” I said, moping.
“Lucky for you we have this stuff ready for repeat customers, on the house,” She winked,” Have a nice day sir.”
“O-Oh! Yeah, you too!” I walked with a bounce in my step once again.
Walking out the door, I checked my coffee cup to see those drawings again. The heart, and the smiley face. Suddenly a flash of that dream came to my head, and I basically instinctively threw the coffee to the floor, without taking a single sip… I considered going to get a second coffee… But I felt embarrassed enough as is…
“A humiliating morning… Indeed.” referring back to my moping form, I marched to work in silence.
It was a tiring work day.
Walking back to my apartment with only the thought of the sweet sanctuary of my bed. A goblin appeared before me.
“Wow Maple Syrup you look tired!” The boy said, holding a snowball.
“Oh really? Glad you noticed… “ I said sarcastically, but it seemed to have flown over his head, for he just gleamed even more proud than normal. The thought of the yard came back to mind, “Hey, did you have some sort of snow fight yesterday?”
“Nope, but some meany came by and ruined my army! I swear I’ll find them and throw snowballs in their nose!” The little boy puffed up.
“Huh…” For some reason, that made me uneasy.
“Do you draw on your windows Maple Sirup?”
“What? No- why’d you ask?”
“Cuz I’ve been seeing drawings on your windows a lot. You really can’t draw haha!”
“What! You’re not the one doing them? C’mon, you can’t fool me, little goblin.”
“No! I’m serious!… Okay, maybe I drew some of them but not all of them! That’s only cuz they were there and I wanted to show you I can draw better-”
“What- wait- What do you mean ‘not all of them’?”
“The upside-down smiley face, I didn’t do it,” He pointed to my window, “See, you have one now.”
I turned to look, and low and behold there it was. An eerie and uncanny resemblance to those in my dreams
“Ugh… Look, I’m tired, Johnny… I can’t play around today, I’m gonna go to sleep.”
“Hmph, okay.” He poked his tongue at me and ran to his yard.
I walked to my apartment and wiped off the window. I walked inside, took my shoes off, took my jacket off, walked to my couch, and crashed.
“Leeeeet… meeeee… iiiiiiiiiiiin… “
“Oooopeeeen… the doooooooor… “
“Draaawwwwwwww onnnnnn the windowwwwwww… “
“Draaawwwwwwww onnnnnnn the windowwwwwww… “
“I LOVE YOU!”
I woke up with a jerk. My head was sweaty and I felt light-headed. The lights were off and the TV was playing. Some TV dramatic romance was playing, the male actor kept trying to confess his love to some lady, only to be rejected. I turned off the TV and pulled out my phone to check the time. There was no service and it was 8:30 PM. I was thirty minutes late for work. Just when I was getting ready to freak out, I noticed it was way colder than usual and heard a strange whistling sound. I looked outside and it was a blizzard. Everything was buried in snow. Well, I guess I was definitely not going to work. My mind was still fuzzy and honestly after everything that happened I probably wasn’t going to. I turned some lights on and decided to warm things up.
DOK DOK DOK DOK!
I heard loud banging at my door.
DOK DOK DOK!
“I’m coming, I’m coming!” I said irritated. Who could even be at my door in such weather? I grabbed my gun before I got closer. I had a horrible feeling about this
When I got closer to the door I could hear whimpering. And quickened my pace. Looking through the little hole on my door, I saw a child crying. It was little Johnny. I opened the door.
“M- Mm- Maple S- S- S- Syrup!” The poor, freezing boy could barely get his words out.
“Johnny! What in the world are you doing out here this late! And in this weather no less!” I said closing the door and bringing him to my couch.
“M- Mommy a- a- and Daddy n- n- n- never came home! A- a- a- and I was scared!”
“What? But you should have just stayed home and waited!”
“But I was scared!” He jumped into my chest and started sobbing.
I held him gently and rubbed his back, “It’ll be okay buddy… It’ll be okay… I’m sure your mom and dad are just fine. It was very brave of you to come here, but that was very dangerous, next time call me okay?”
He sniffed all the snot that began to run from his nose,” O- o- Okay.”
Suddenly the realization of the lost service made me feel a little dumb for saying that.
“Want some juice?”
“Y- yes please…”
I got up to fix him some juice to drink and sat back down with him. “Your parents are cops, right? Do you know where they went?”
“They said they had to go do some investigating, and it would take them a while… They said they would be back soon but… “
“That’s alright buddy,” I said cheerfully, trying to lighten up his mood, “Hey, how about we play some video games?” I got up to get my games and consoles from the closet.
I haven’t touched my games in a while, been too lazy to really take them out ever since I put them in there. Johnny sat on the couch watching TV as I dug through the closet. I found my controllers and the console in one box thankfully, now I don’t need to go running back and forth. As I got to lift a box a whisper sounded in my head, “Leeeeeet meeeeee iiiinnnnnnn”, the chill ran up my spine and I turned. Johnny was at my window. My heart sank. Johnny was drawing a smiling face, and above him, on the window, was a much larger drawing of a smiling face, upside down, and dripping. I ran to the window, I ran as fast as I can, faster than I’ve ever run in my entire life, to pull him away. The window violently broke open. I hoisted johnny and threw him away. And when I turned back, there waited a face upside down, a face cold and icy, a face not drawn…
Before I could reach my gun. I hand emerged from the wind. Large, cold, Icy fingers grabbed a hold of my head. Along with Johnny’s whales, a hollow cackling can be heard. The hand dragged me from the living room and out the window. Sharp pains were felt in my back and arms as I hit the snow. The blizzard blew loudly, and the wind howled. Amidst the struggling lights of this blizzard night, stood a figure so tall, with hair of equal length, eyes that gleamed white in the night, and a smile vacant of life. I struggled to get myself back up, large lacerations were on my body from that broken window. She walked to me in strides, slowly, twitching like a corps. The door to my apartment flew open, and Johnny screamed.
“MAPLE!” He whaled, clutching in his hand the gun.
She turned to Johnny, in a swift and stiff motion, still leaking laughter.
Johnny winced and whimpered, and pointed the gun to her, BANG! He fell to the floor.
It howled, a sound so blood-curdling and so cold, but still holding that smile. She then began to stride towards him, with long hands extended.
Johnny struggled to get his bearings, and merely curled into a ball and screamed.
“JOHNNY!” I shouted, ”THROW THE GUN TO ME!”
He looked at the gun, then me, and threw it.
She paid no mind to it and continued forward.
“GET INSIDE JOHNNY!” I demanded, running for the gun, my back, and arm in excruciating pain.
In the nick of time, he delved into the house before her hands could get to him.
She sat there frozen, and the air grew colder.
I grabbed the gun and aimed it at her. My body was beginning to numb the pain, adrenalin pumped through my body. Her head turned like an owl, her eyes piercing my own, it was almost like she could freeze me, turn me into stone. She then began to move faster than she did before. She ran for more. Loud icy laughter pierced the cold air. I took a breath and pulled the trigger. BANG BANG BANG BANG! She screamed and flailed, and for the first time. Holding her face, she turned to me with rage. BANG BANG BANG BANG! I continued to shoot as she charged in pursuit of me. She started to scream words, “IIIIiiiIIIIiiii LLlllOOOoooVVVeeeEEE YyyYYoooUUUUuuuUU!!!”, unlike her smile, and her laugh, those words carried emotion. But it was a terrifying emotion, it was not love, it was lust, hunger… BANG BANG BANG BANG! The last bullet echoed in the blizzard, and once it made contact with her face, her head exploded and so did the rest of her. There was no blood, no organs, no flesh, only snow. The only blood that laid there was my own. She vanished into thin air. Johnny came running to me, but he seemed to slowly disappear into the blizzard, and everything was going away… I was very tired… and all I could hear were sirens…
“Haven’t you heard?”
“You don’t know!? Oh c’mon now-”
“Oh wait! About the kidnapper?”
“YES! So you’re not as clueless as I thought.”
“Yeah, haha, they apparently finally apprehended them!”
“You don’t need to tell me, you’re the one I needed to check on. The world could have ended and you’d have no idea.”
“If that’s the way you think! How did you do on that test then? Hmm?”
“Er, we don’t speak of that. EITHER WAY! I can finally rest easy at night.”
“Yeah, they said some guy fought him off and called the cops!”
“Man, really? Did they take any pictures?”
“No, apparently the all info is ‘disclosed to the public’, I wish I could at least take a selfie with the guy.”
“Bruh, you don’t think it was aliens do you?”
“WHAT!? Don’t be ridiculous, and don’t say stuff like that in public! People are gonna think we’re crazy!”
“Well I mean… “
Those two are as lively as ever. But the guy they are talking about is me! They would probably never believe me though… This coffee shop seems to be back to its same old self… The only thing that’s different now…
“Excuse me. Mr. Maple, your coffee is ready.” The man at the cashier exclaimed.
“Oh! Y-yes!” I said awkwardly, raising my hand and getting out of my seat.
“Take care now sir. Have a good day.” The cashier gave me my coffee.
“Thank you. You too.” I grabbed my coffee, which was a little hot, and began to walk out of the cafe.
Two individuals were standing outside the door. When I walked outside it was much easier to tell who they were. It was little Johnny’s parents, except instead of standing in casual attire they were in black uniform.
“Good morning Mr. Maple.” Alice greeted me first, then her husband.
“Goodmorning!” I greeted them back, but still feeling a bit uneasy about the approach I couldn’t but ask, “Is… Is something the matter?”
“Hahaha! No no son you’re fine,” John bellowed in laughter.
“We just need to ask you a few questions alright?” Alice reassured.
“Now, first things first,” John reached into his pocket, “Have you by any chance…” He pulls out a photo, “Seen this person?”
It was a picture of a woman with fair skin, and black hair. It was a picture of the former cashier… I took a look at my cup, and there was just my name…
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