Friday 18 December 2015

Day 18: Buster Blizzard by Steve Wade

White. Everything was white.
The children collected what they needed from their mothers’ kitchens. Up they trooped to the top of the road that overlooked the valley. Here, beneath the shelter of the Hanging Tree, they got to work.
It was here, the previous Christmas, the father of one of the children had been found dead.
They compacted the soft snow into three parts. With these they formed his legs, his torso and his head. Two black olives they inserted as his eyes, for his mouth a half-moon of coffee beans, and for his nose, a carrot. His arms they fashioned from long twigs, on whose ends they put a pair of mittens. And lastly, upon his head they placed a ring of holly with red berries. This was Joshua’s idea. The youngest of the pals. It was Joshua’s father’s lifeless body that had been found hanging from the tree the previous Christmas. Buster Blizzard, the name they always gave him, was complete.
  Around their creation they danced and laughed until creeping darkness scared them and they ran home. All except Josh, who stayed with Buster Blizzard so the snowman wouldn’t be alone in the scary darkness. Besides, Josh’s mom was still in work, and he didn’t like being by himself since his daddy left them. He moved in close to the tree for shelter.
  Daylight, pure and bright, slunk off at the approach of her shadowy stalker the Night. The realization that the kingdom of Snowtopia would soon awake came to Buster Blizzard as a fuzzy feeling. The previous year, Snowtopia, like Buster Blizzard, had lain dormant.   
The snowman, the king of Snowtopia, trembled at the consequences of his absence. Without their yearly period of respite in Snowtopia, the world of mortals would have forgotten its humanity. And the birds and animals, too, would have been corrupted. Perhaps he was already too late. 
Silence, no sound save for the far-off whispering of a million tiny voices told the snowman king his loyal army was on its way.
From the skies they fell, a myriad of snowflakes. Into his ears they whispered confirmation of his fears. Mortal mothers and fathers, they told him, had neglected their parental duties. Instead of bonding with their children last Christmas, they’d abandoned them, left them with nannies and child-minders so that they were free to make merry in public houses.
The king lowered his head, his dark-eyed gaze locked to his own blue shadow. But he looked up quickly when a robin landed on his outstretched arm.
 “Ah, my little friend. Good to see you’re still thriving.”

About the author:

Steve Wade is a prize nominee for the PEN/O’Henry Award, 2011, and the Pushcart Prize, 2013. His fiction has won awards and been placed in prestigious writing competitions. His novel, ‘On Hikers’ Hill’ was awarded First Prize in the UK abook2read Literary Competition, December 2010 – the British lyricist sir Tim Rice was the top judge.



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