A/N: Slightly strange, as all my oneshots seem to be. It just wouldn't let go of me until I wrote it. Please let me know what you think.
The snow fell and she walked through the sheets of white, stepping softly, or maybe it was into softness that she stepped. Her feet could not reach the grass or mud beneath, could only dent the snow in white footprints which were filled in behind her. She floated above the level of the world, by inches.
The flakes landed on her outstretched hand. She looked up, and they spiralled and circled down towards her, grey against the white sky above. They were massive, whole pieces of shredded clouds falling to block her eyes. She blinked, and looked up again, and blinked again as they hit her eyelashes. They weren't particularly cold as they landed on her already cold-numbed upturned face.
Snow. Picture postcards and white Christmases. Snow angels, and snowballs, and sledging, and snowmen. Bright scarves and hats, and children laughing, and hot chocolate in front of a fire. Snow was a social weather.
But here, here in the middle of whiteness, it was so lonely. The flakes fell faster and faster, huge and whirling, spinning in front of her eyes, and she couldn't even distinguish which was the snow she was walking on, and which was the snow she was walking through, and which was the sky somewhere behind. She stretched her arm out and could see her hand, but couldn't tell how much further she could see.
There was nothing to hear. White was flung all around her in circles, but the air was silent, muffled. Just a soft, high hissing sigh, right on the limit of hearing, which may have been the snowflakes touching the ground. Or may have been her imagination.
Her coat was black, and she watched the white pile up on the sleeve, slow to melt due to its thickness. She could feel the snow caught in the tangle of her hair, could feel it slowly melt and trickle down her neck under the collar. It was cold. So cold.
Her numb, pale fingers undid the buttons on the front of the coat. She dropped it to the ground and watched it change colour, chameleon-like. The shirt she wore was white. She was camouflaged.
Snow still landed on her, but now it melted faster as it met the slight heat radiating out from her skin. It turned to water and soaked through the thin fabric, freezing her. She was glad of it. She welcomed each touch of the icy coldness, every snowflake which stole another piece of her warmth. She continued walking, and now the blizzard was so thick that she didn't seem to leave footprints at all, so quickly were they filled in and out of sight. She was already a ghost.
In the snow she knelt. She bent forwards and wrapped her arms around herself, making herself as small as possible. The white sphere of her world contracted with her. The cold poured in through her back and her shins, and her head, and she wondered how long it would be before all her warmth was gone and the snow could cover her completely. The snow would fall, and fall, and the snow on the ground would rise around her until the level was above her head, and then she would be cocooned and entombed in the whiteness. And then, maybe, she would sleep.
Melted ice crystals trickled over her skin, slid down her sides from her back. They dripped from her skin to the cloth of the chest and stomach of her white shirt, and from there they fell. Beneath where she bent, the snow was stained by droplets of pale red water as the blood washed away. Her body blocked them from being hidden by the falling whiteness.
She stayed there in the silence, and her shivering began to slow. She straightened up, still kneeling, and turned her face to the sky. The snow she stained was covered over immediately, and the snow in her eyes melted to form the tears she hadn't been able to summon on her own. But she couldn't feel the cold anymore, and she missed it.
Her arms were white, and that was good, because the lack of colour was what she wanted. But the palms of her hands were red, and the bright colour jarred somewhere inside her. She took handfuls of the snow and scrubbed at them, watching as she spoiled the snow, even as the whiteness of her skin beneath became visible. It was palm she rubbed against palm. Her fingers refused to obey her anymore.
The red stain was spreading across her shirt, released by the water. It faded as it went. A separation by chromatography, with snow for a solvent. A separation into a pale blush at the edges, deepening to a dark red centre of heart-blood. Not the blood from her heart, but the blood's heart had been hers.
There was no more feeling in her skin anymore. She let herself fall, and the snow cushioned her. She curled up instinctively, protecting the last of her heat, although it was almost gone. Protecting that red heart which had been alive, once.
Alive before the snow fell.
Alive before the unearthly lights of the ambulance cut through the brooding streets, but there had been no hope, even then. He had passed on his heart to her around the cold blade of a knife, and she had taken it, and she had had to leave to let others do her job. As she had begun to walk numbly through the park, the heavy clouds at last began to fall apart and circle down to brush her skin.
She had had to get away from the noise, the faces, the voices. They had no right to be loud and alive.
Well, it was quiet here. So quiet.
The snow didn't melt anymore as it settled on her, and she felt the weight of it, and faintly she felt the caressing touch of the coldness.
So quiet. So white. So cold.
Sleep, now. Sleep in the silence of the snow.