Author's Note: This is a collab I made with Maya Emerson, she wrote Faye's P.O.V., you should go check it out along with the rest of her stories, they're great! The link to her page and Faye's P.O.V. are in the comments :D
Cold winds harshly blew against the window crevices, eventually pushing them open after an hour of relentless gusts. Flakes of snow accompanied their icy breaths, they landed on a puddle where flurries that had seeped through the apertures earlier had now melted.
The hairs beneath the sleeves of my sweater rose and a chilling feeling went down my spine, leaving me shivering like a dog shaking its fur. I hugged my arms closer to me, my breaths became ragged, a sigh made its way out of my mouth, blowing misty puffs of vapor.
The lit candle before me whipped its fire around like a raised flag, its wax trickled down to the candlestick like drips of honey from a grizzly bear’s jar. Its woven cord, along with its light, bent in an ungodly shape, almost putting its heat out, but not entirely. Finally, the force of the wind became too much, a murky stream of smoke came running down from the wick, resembling that of a maiden’s fair hair.
Standing up from where I was seated, I shut the windows tightly, hoping the ice would do its job to keep it closed for the meantime. If there was one thing I had learned from staying in this cabin, it’s to keep your fire going, I doubt a candle would do me a good job of providing me with heat comes dusk. Having a window open would let all the heat out. Despite the cabin’s bricked walls, it wasn’t hot enough outside to keep me warm inside.
Wrapping myself in every piece of clothing I can find, I bar the doors open, placing all my weight on my shoulders to push the hailstones shoved against my door that had restricted me from leaving.
I tried to squeeze myself out from the very little opening I managed to make, stomping on the snow that now obstructed my doorway. The corners of my lips sagged, the snow impeded my door from closing, letting the cold in.
Treading over the thick snowfall, I left knee-deep footprints on the way to Faye’s cabin. Without giving it too much thought, I picked a block of hail, throwing it over her bedroom window.
Her curtains retracted back, revealing the initial look of a Faye in its natural habitat. She grappled to open the window, breaking a few icicles by her window sills, leaving them to fall into the crisp snowdrifts.
“Do you have electricity?” I shout to her, my voice slightly wavering over the strong wind’s wooshes.
A look of confusion passes over her face. It was all the confirmation I needed to know that she hadn’t heard me.
“You scratched my window! You know, there’s a front door for a reason,” She yelled back.
Her tousled bed hair flew in all directions, mirroring the same look as a lion.
I rolled my eyes over her witty claims and replied, “Whatever, the electricity went out overnight and my cabin is basically a tundra.”
Seeing her perplex, I rephrased my words, going straight to the point. “I’m going to get wood for a fire, want to help?”
“I’d really rather stay inside,” She turns to close her windows with a carefree smile gracing her features.
“In a few minutes, when there are snow drifts in your bed, it won’t seem so comfortable.” I retorted back.
Her gears started to turn, and finally caved in with a sigh. “Fine, fine, I’m coming. Just give me a minute, and please don’t throw anything else at my window.”
She shuts her windows and the front door opens not more than a minute later. She wore a beanie that matched her gloves, layers of padded jackets turned her slim figure into a spherical one.
She stomped over the flaky, blankets of frozen rainfall, tripping over every now and then from how her hair hindered her sight as they continuously waved in front of her.
As she finally reached me, she rested her hands upon her knees, breathing heavily. “How far off do we need to be?”
A small laugh resonated from me, seeing her struggle to walk only after a few meters. “Ten more of those, maybe more.”
“I told you we need to cut more,” I told her as I ran the saw through the trunk of the tree back and forth.
“And yet you’ve barely cut any,” She said, gesturing over the two logs of wood I managed to chop.
“I gathered more wood than you have,” She placed her tree branches beside me, showcasing their towering heights beside my measly logs.
She sighed, seeing my relentlessness to stop sawing.
“Give it a rest Elliot, what are you going to chop with those arms?” She bumped her body with mine playfully, sending my round, bulging stature to trip over the logs and fall face first into the snow.
She hid her laughter with coughing noises, and it only worsened as I turned around to glare at her with a faceful of frost.
“You look like a snowman, literally, ” She motioned to my thick clothing and gave me a little laugh as she delicately brushed her fingers over my face, sending the flakes of snow falling to my lap.
“Don’t you have anything else better to do?” I complained, returning to saw the trunk.
“Not at the moment, no,” She trailed off, diverting the topic elsewhere, but I have already tuned out her voice, focusing myself on the jagged sounds the saw made. Chips of wood layered the snow, its porcelain crisps were barely noticed from the brown, splintered planks covering it.
I immersed myself in tranquility, finally enjoying myself as I send the circular piece of wood landing beside where the other ones resided, baring it from the fallen tree.
I smiled to myself, but it was short-lived and was replaced with a frown when a clawing feeling from my chest started to grow.
It was too calm.
I turned around with Faye nowhere in sight, her footprints ranging from where I stood, to all possible corners a compass can point to. The surface was littered with footprints, it was impossible to tell where she may have gone.
“Faye!” I called out, following one of the paths she made over the snow.
A faint voice called back of what I can only make out as Faye’s. I followed her voice, trudging over the trail she left faster, as her tone gradually became more frequent and urgent.
Pushing several sleet-covered branches out of the way, I reach a clearing, blanched of any color, more so than the woods. Frozen, crystalline drops laced the vines and leaves of an old willow tree, it calmly swayed with the wind, making the icy droplets lightly bump with each other and produce a pleasant, tranquil chime.
A lake stood frozen before me, laced with a thin coat of melted ice, reflecting the sun’s soft smile peering down from the clouds. Faye glided and twirled within the glass-like surface, her pale complexion and clothing blended well with the powdered scenery. Her dark hair contrasted the rest of her features, her locks waved freely behind her, it was hard not to see as though a spotlight were cast upon her.
The brightness of her mahogany-colored eyes alone illuminated the entirety of the forest better than the Sun had, a gentle smile spread across her lips as she called over to me, urging me to join her in the ice.
“Elliot, what took you so long? Skate with me,” She slid over to the edge of the lake, taking my gloved hands in hers and pulling me with her.
I stood my ground, not trusting the way the lake had formed giant bubbles below its frosted exterior. The lake looked like a half-frozen ice cube, the same way you’re still able to see the water flowing around the bottom when you shake the tray, the only thing stopping it from spilling is a frozen seal over it.
“Faye, let’s leave, you don’t know this lake,” I said, pulling her close to me, away from the doubtful structure she stood over.
She snorted, “Leave where? To chop wood?”
She skated away going farther, and farther, and gave me a knowing smile when she had reached the center of the lake, taking satisfaction in proving I was wrong. She cupped her mouth and shouted, “See, it’s fine!”
“Get away from there!” I crossed my arms, giving her a disapproving look.
She paid me no heed and continued to skate across the icy structure, unaware of the fractures that followed her. By the time she had, it was too late, the ice around her had cracked into a hundred fragments and made spirals of broken panes .The surface below her eluded her, sending her down into the dark depths of the lake. The umber liquid slipped through the rifts, followed by bubbles, and then nothing.
My heart dropped to my stomach and rushed to the trench, feeling more of the plane underneath me crack and shift. My body pulsed as if I had done a thousand somersaults, my lungs constricted and it became harder to breathe.
I reached through the dire liquid, and felt what I thought were cold fingers reaching for mine, but they slipped away from my grasp before I could decide whether or not they were Faye’s.
In a last attempt to pull her out before the fragile glass broke underneath me as well, I extended the rest of my arm, grabbing her by the scruff of her jacket and pulling her out of the murky water.
I quickly raced for the shore and enveloped her drenched body in mine, frantically searching for a pulse when suddenly, her eyes shot open, and her body sat upright, hitting my looming figure in the process. She coughed violently, all assortment of leaves, dirt, and liquid, came pouring out from her mouth.
“What on earth were you thinking, Faye? I warned you not to go out there. Don’t you understand, I thought you might be dead,” I went off on her, my voice quivered slightly towards the end, although I was unsure if it was due to the cold, or the scare she gave me that had my hands trembling faster than a dog wags its tail.
She refused to meet my gaze and guiltily fiddled with her fingers instead. “Sorry, I didn’t think-”
She cut herself off, as more coughs shook her shoulders violently. I took her hands in mine, hoping to provide her more warmth. I pulled her close to me, wrapping her in my embrace, and placing my cheeks over her damp head, I tell her, “I’m just glad I wasn’t too late,”
She looked up at me and whispered weakly. “So am I,”
We laid silent for a few seconds, before the hush setting must’ve become too much for Faye to handle. “I guess I owe you my help chopping firewood now,” She joked with a smile as if nothing had happened, “I mean since you did save my life.”
“I’m not sure if I would call it help,” I teased her back, pulling her up with me in a standing position and dusted the snow that stuck to her. She nudged me playfully, almost tripping me over.
She was fine. A relieved breath slipped through my mouth, her petite fingers caressed mine, easing the trembling.
On the way back to our cabins, I’ve never seen Faye talk more so than she had now. I’ve never been any more grateful to be hearing her ceaseless blabbering, her voice, her laugh. She always knew how to break the ice, not even a frozen lake could stop her from doing that.