|I had a couple of e-mails about this story I was writing, so I decided to add the first chapter, to see how it gets along. I've written eleven chapters, so if this one goes down well, I'll add a couple more...
As Stephan lay in bed, he could see from his window that flakes of snow were crashing against the glass; he wanted to caress their softness - he wanted to feel the snowflakes melt on his cheeks. It had been weeks, perhaps even months since he had left the house to experience the outside, and he yearned to enjoy it once more. He hadn’t even left the solidarity of his bed in hours, having only left to go to the bathroom – and even then, he had had the guiding of his mother’s arm. Now that he was all alone, he didn’t trust his own legs: yet still, he ventured to put them on the floor. When he was certain they would support his weight, he stood up, and, by leaning on the walls around him, he managed to shuffle to the front door.
Stephan first found out about the cancer in his legs when he was 14 years old: doctors had been baffled for months before, putting his illness down to viruses and fevers. But when these illnesses had never cleared up, his mother became worried. When all was revealed, she burst into tears, crying about all the precious memories that would be lost because of it. Memories – there had been many in his life, most of which he would rather forget. He felt that he was being offered an escape route; a chance to be free from the strain that life put on him.
Of course, he never told his mum this.
Stephan had always wondered what happened after life. As the cancer had slowly spread through his body, he weakened, and was forced to spend the majority of his days in bed, alone. In there, he had been able to contemplate all of his life up until now. When he was in his room, away from everyone else, he felt a security that nothing else had ever offered him – when it all became too much, he could just drift off to sleep in the comfort of his bed, not knowing if he’d ever wake up; not wanting to wake up.
The door opened with a soft click, allowing a blast of cold air to rush past him. He took his first step into the vortex of ice and wind – he finally felt alive. The snow, as soft and delicate as it looked, burnt his skin with its harshness. As he stepped further out into the unknown, allowing the ice to devour his strength without a fight, he looked up into the oblivion of this snowstorm; he knew then he had found his home.
He enjoyed the aspects that others took for granted, such as the cool ground beneath his feet, and the wind that blew his hair into a frenzy: he reckoned he’d never feel these things again. With no support, he suddenly felt empowered, being able to stand on his own two feet with no help. He staggered further into the snow, falling to his knees in awe of the power the storm possessed.
It wasn’t until this moment that the snow’s true power engulfed Stephan. It frightened him, forced him to bow down to its might, and shrouded him in a veil of ice. He thought – though he knew it could not be true – that the storm had a life of its own. The nature of the snow now felt different, as if its only aim was to extinguish his spark of life. He wanted to move – he had to move – but the strength in his legs had gone completely: so he lay face down in the snow on the ground. At first, it stung his face, but after a while, he no longer cared.
“You’re mine, Stephan.”
A voice, clearer than any sound he had heard before, rang inside his head. Was this voice inside his head? Or could others hear it? Were there any other people around? He needed answers.
“Who are you?” he called into the blizzard, “What do you mean?” A vicious, cruel laugh echoed around him when he had finished speaking, striking fear into his heart.
“Such frivolous questions,” the voice muttered, addressing, Stephan thought, someone else – but he looked up, and there was no-one else around. “I expected no less from a mere child. You need not know the answers to these questions. All you must know is that I am now you’re master.” The voice trailed off, but Stephan could tell he had not finished – a lingering sense of expectancy hung in the air, until the voice thundered through once again. “And I own your soul.”
“You, boy, shall be my servant – I will give you powers that you have never dreamed of. I will give you immortality. And you will serve me with every fibre of your being. Am I understood?” Stephan dared not argue – he could not see what was talking to him, but he knew that the power it held was true. What choice did he have, other than to agree?
“This power will not come without a price. You must leave everything you have, and all those you love, behind. Do you accept?” Again, he nodded. “Good. Then let your new life,” the voice broke off, and Stephan closed his eyes and spread out his arms in acceptance of his fate, “begin.”
The snow started to dissolve his skin. Shock, an overwhelming sense of deception, and great pain consumed him. Every cell in his body cried out in pain, and he wanted to scream as loud as he could: but his mouth was clamped tightly shut. As he began to disperse into the storm, he experienced a pain he had never felt in his entire life. He was not going to serve – he had convinced himself that this was the end: he was going to die.
As the long minutes crept by, as atom by atom dispersed from his body, he could no longer think straight: in fact, he thought the snow had started to dissolve his brain, eating away at his very being until every molecule was gone. He had gone through a life where his father had been killed in a tragic twist of fate; no-one had accepted him; and cancer had destroyed his life. Now he was to die in this cruel, painful way. Was that fair?
As his very bones started to disperse into the snow, he knew it was almost the end. He wanted it to finish, the fear now turning to disappointment and a slight sense of anticipation. There were so many experiences he hadn’t had a chance to enjoy – perhaps he wasn’t as ready to embrace death as he thought. All that time he endured the cancer, and it had been pointless – it had still led him to death’s door. He was tired of just enduring; he wanted to see the great beyond.
So he gave up the ghost.
***End of chapter***
To be continued... if you like it enough, that is...