Icicle Lights

Image Credit: Marietta S., Pleven, Bulgaria The author's comments: I wrote this on Wattpad as a Christmas one-shot. Enjoy! The smell of gingerbread wafts through the windows of a drafty old apartment building on Oakland Creek Road, its invisible scent weaving through the potted evergreen trees that sit outside the cheerily decorated complex. As you rifle through the contents of your bag, your fingers graze upon its many unorganized innards; a leather-bound journal, a shard of glass, a paintbrush, a faded twenty dollar bill, a cheap lipstick; until you finally find what you've been looking for in the rip-off Dior- a rusted key and a stick of gum. You make your way up the rugged stairs, hugging yourself to sheild your body from the bitter cold. Finally, you come to your apartment, your drab door staring back at you, the only decoration its bronze-plated knocker. You look to your left, and then to your right, checking to make sure that no one is comingin your direction. You don't know why, but you've always been concious of the people you let see your apartment. There isn't anything specifically wrong with the place- it has a sink, a kitchen, a bedroom, a bathroom- but you get the goosebumps when someone attempts to nonchalantly glance in. You quickly plunge the key into the lock, and slip through the gap of space you've made between the frame and the door. You slip off your scuffled boots, and lean against the door as your mind tricks itself into thinking that the pounding beats of your heart are someone's footsteps. In the eerie silence, you hear distant cheers and a repetitive chorus of Feliz Navidad. It's a contented sound, but under it you can hear the remote droning of a siren, distilling the happiness brought with the rolling notes. You stare out of your window, quietly watching the parallel ones across the way . You've looked out at them before, on a million different Christmas Eves, seeing the trees flicker through night and day, as the sky changed slowly from the color of a pitch-black velvet ribbon to that of faded blue jeans. Just as they did tonight; following the pattern of the stars. Your gaze drifts to the kitchen table, and onto the rustic photographs that you used to take with your Nikon. In the pictures, you're standing with your arm around him. You're smiling with rosy cheeks, and so is he. The photographs are in black and white, but your memory fills them in- the cornflower blue sky, the tulips of an exotic fuchsia, but your sixth sense of color rests mostly in him. Dusty brown hair, and eyes of emerald inside which were pupils that had no hue but reflected the world around them. Ever since that blistering yet snowless Christmas Eve of last year, when he'd left, everything in your life felt so wrong. A new year rolled around, slowly, and silently, only the silence of an empty home and the faint sound of Jingle Bell Rock echoing in the walls of your mind, and when the clock struck midnight, you were alone, drinking wine from the bottle and trying to make sense of the mess you and he had made. Without him, you were nothing- a limp body, and cold eyes, masking something that had never been there since he left. When he was there with you on the endless summer nights you'd come to know so well, you were a pen to paper. With him gone, you were left there- an empty sentence that would forever stay incomplete, stained with trails of glossy ink. You stand up from your spot at the window, wind sweeping the street that lies stories below. Bedraggled, you walk over to a long mirror, staring at the reflection in the tinted glass that stands in front of you. "Like Harry's eyes," you say aloud to the air around you, shocked at your own words being spoken into the aura of silence. You straighten abruptly at the sudden thought that has hit you, innocent and unsuspecting. Stop, orders a thought in front of your mind. You're making it worse. But the more distant, caressing thought was stuck in the back of your mind, locked snugly into the depths of your thought in the same way they could be in a firmly closed door. Sighing, you pick them up with your thumb and forefinger. Suddenly, you realize what little a reason there is to keep them. All they've done is bring back memories; ones that you want to forget so desperately. Yes. That is exactly what you want. All of the recollections of Harry Edward Styles, collapsed. Gone. That is exactly what is going to become of them, right here, right now. Or, that's what you tell yourself. Yes, you tell yourself, as walk to your stove, Of course it is. Pouring a rush of water from the arch of the tap, you throw your head back, weaving your fingers through your hair and inhaling the dense oxygen that surrounds you and sitting down in a wooden chair covered in chipping black paint. You take a few more breaths, slowly; breathing in the relief, and out the pain. And just like that, there's a knock on your door. A solid fist rapping against the splintering wood. You don't get up. There simply isn't a reason to. "Hello?" says a voice behind the door. It's muffled, and you can't make out its source. "Anyone home?" it says again, slightly louder. You hear footsteps, getting softer and softer. Walking away. You slowly force yourself up from your chair. You open push it open. The stranger is wearing a hat and scarf, and is walking away from you at a quick pace. But you recognize him. It's something in his walk, the way he keeps his hands in his pockets. "Ha-Harry?" You hear yourself ask. He turns around suddenly, and you slap a hand over your mouth. He nods, but doesn't speak. You stand there for seconds; each gaping in awe at the others simple existence. His voice breaks the silence. It's gotten gravely, perhaps because of the cold. "I'm... god, I don't even know. " "You probably are." You glare at him, silently wishing you could disappear. "Why do you always have to say things like that?" He gulps. "All it does is hurt." "Hurt? Really? Says the person who-" Like a child, he covers his ears in his hands. "Just... stop. I don't want to go there." "Then why the hell did you come?" You voice breaks his securities, it seems. He covers it up quickly, however. "You're right. Why the hell did I?" He turns around. "Harry... Harry, just wait. I shouldn't have... I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that." You watch his face change, as his gaze turns to a grin. "That's what I've been waiting to hear. For ages, actually." "Harry Styles!" You yell, infuriated at his casual tone. "Get the hell out of my life!" Harry doesn't listen. He comes closer. And as he does, the snow starts to fall like there's no tommorow.



STORY OF THE WEEK: July 14

The story of the week for July 8 to 12 is… After the Water by Evan McMurry

LAUREN EVERHART-DECKARD: Fear Foods

Sugar is the enemy. Fat is poison. Mantras like these run on a loop inside my foggy mind. Staring down the overflowing plate, my heart thunders against my ribcage at the thought of eating blacklisted snacks. Grimacing, I take a bite of the Hershey bar. Recovery is a slow process. Lauren is an undergraduate student … Continue reading LAUREN EVERHART-DECKARD: Fear Foods →

CP LOPES: The Lot

“The demons are coming,” the old woman said from the corner of her cell. “When,” the sheriff asked. “As soon as you kill me,” she replied. “What if we don’t kill you?” Cries from the townsfolk rose above the window. “That’s not how this goes,” she said, her smile anticipatory. C. P. Lopes is a … Continue reading CP LOPES: The Lot →

JEN MIERISCH: Chicago Shall Rise Again

Tomlinson raged to his feet, scattering the table and playing cards. “Cheater!” he hollered at O’Leary. “Go home, Tomlinson, you’re drunk!” As Tomlinson stumbled toward the barn door, his boot knocked over the lantern. For three days, Chicago burned. Tomlinson blamed it on O’Leary’s cow. Nobody alive could contradict him. Jen Mierisch draws inspiration from … Continue reading JEN MIERISCH: Chicago Shall Rise Again →

MARGIE NAIRN: A New Day

I wake up to greet my old friend, Anxiety. How will I battle his belittlement and negativity today? “Distressing but not dangerous,” I tell myself, “strive to be average. Do the things you fear to do and wear the mask of security. Endorse for every effort, then keep moving forward.” Margie Nairn wrote this story … Continue reading MARGIE NAIRN: A New Day →