It’s not only fire that burns


The fingers of chilling frost wrap around me. I am pulled into the polar vortex of snow crystals. As I fight to pull away, the icy grip tightens. I cannot struggle anymore; I let myself be ripped into the shivery land.

The land is not a winter wonderland, but rather quite the contrary. It is a piercing wintery blitz. It hurts to inhale as the sharp air punctures my windpipe. Hail the size of shriveled peas clacks against my cheeks, ricocheting off into the freezing fleece.

I squint against the ripping wind that tears across my face. My pinched face—tightened for warmth—strains against the hands. My teeth clink together like the ice raining from the heavens.

My fingers are turning a blood-lost blue; they stop shivering as my feeling in them is lost. The phalanges at the tip of my bare feet blend into the dark shade.

Slipping down my philtrum, the fluid from my Rudolph-like nose is a flowing waterfall. My face is as numb as a rock, so I can only tell from the salty taste as it slips onto my lips. Its liquid minutes are numbered.

The slivers of my eyes showing burn and tears burst at the levy of my bottom lid. I must keep them from escaping or I will have icicles pasted upon my face. My throat clogs with the pressure, forming a snowball in my neck.

The endless expanse of bleached canvas stretches to the end of my vision. I cannot see where I have come, nor can I see where I can go.

The endless expanse of bleached canvas stretches to the end of my vision. I cannot see where I have come, nor can I see where I can go.”

Up above, there is not a single ray of light, but I am not submerged in total darkness either. Instead, I am lost in a sea of pale, dreary gray, matching the accumulating fogginess of my mind.

The chill seeps in from my extremities, racing towards my core. The hands take hold of my heart, letting the harsh ice surround it. My entire body trembles, the shuddering originating from the center of my soul.

I squeeze my eyes shut—there is nothing left to do. My consciousness begins to fade, and my thoughts are the muddled Everglades.


I feel the sting of a burn, yet it is not myself being melted away. I watch the frost from my hair sublimate in front of my eyes. The cold frost is lunging further and further inwards until it shrinks into oblivion. The chilled spirit from inside of me is lifted and then evaporated. 

The warm sun beats down onto my face, but I am more than pleased to be somewhere where my toes can feel the sand sifted through them.

My skin returns to a robust peach as the frostbitten red fades away. With surprising ease, I manage to return to my feet.

I look to the beyond, beyond the icy snowcaps, beyond the burning wind, beyond the stinging sand, beyond the scorching sun—there, I can feel the cool breeze curling through the tepid air.