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Hell Has Frozen | 2016 |


Lovely snowflakes, they fall nowhere else!  


Through the Snowstorm

Wandering by others through a snowstorm, there is a feeling that, no matter what brought us to this moment, we are here together. In all likelihood, they were drawn into the cold and wet with a similar stripe of insanity.

Given the weather and my proclivities for my free time on this winter day, I saw that my typical workout gear would not suffice. I searched my closet for my sturdiest pair of boots - my mother has, in recent years, given me three pairs with increasing utility because anything worth doing is worth doing three times. As I put the best and still newest on, I noticed that there was a lot already in the right one. I jerked my foot out, looking to see if tissue paper had clumped within, but no. By acrobatic means, it seemed the mouse that chewed into our hamster's food chose then to climb up seven feet, lift himself into only the right boot without otherwise harming it, and deposited a pound of uneaten peanuts for safe keeping. Had I remained sanely indoors, his plan would have gone off without a hitch. Instead, Amber asked me to deposit these in a plastic bag to gradually be reintroduced to their rightful owner.

My excuses for going out are twofold. One, my fitness tracker is a cruel mistress and demands as offering ten thousand of my steps she would not get as I sat inside, my wife cozy on my chest, watching the inches accumulate. Two, my mother had gifted me a DSLR camera, an item I have ached to possess for years. It seemed somehow sensible to endeavor to destroy it to memorialize the color gray.

A few cars slow in confusion that someone would tread though this without the obvious excuse of a wreck. After briefly doing a visual check I am not in danger, one truck sped off, fishtailing hundreds of feet while narrowly avoiding a dozen parked cars, followed by a litany of my frightened yelps that he would spin to his death before me. I'm not even a good enough photographer to do his dying breath justice.

My snow walking may be eccentric lunacy. Driving in this weather when not behind the wheel of a snowplow, police car, fire truck, or ambulance is either homicidal or suicidal. Once a driver directs himself toward a puddle to splash me in tan muck, I decide it is the former.

My little town takes on a fresh air when so secluded by the snow. Most people wise spend this day locked inside their homes, cozy and warm. The snow mutes the world around those of us who venture out, swallowing the sound and hiding the horizon. No matter where one is, one feels left alone to their experience, private in public. Help will not easily come, but neither will distraction. Every rare pedestrian fording snowy banks has a story beneath their knit caps and a wan smile in which to convey it. They are too uncomfortable to be chatty, at least to anyone not offering them a hot beverage or dry place to sit. I am content with a wave and a smile - and, if it is not too much of a hassle, not spraying me with a street puddle.

Soon in Xenology: Faces.

last watched: Sherlock
reading: Sleight of Hand
listening: Die Antwoord

Hell Has Frozen | 2016 |

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.

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