This is it.
This was all that I could think as the thin ice cracked instantaneously beneath my feet and I swiftly began to fall deeper and deeper into the icy cold abyss. I watched with helpless eyes as my last breath escaped me in nothing but a wobbly bubble floating towards the surface. Time felt like nothingness. When I felt no air left in me, I closed my eyes and left my life to the water. It was then that I felt a force like God's hands wrap its fingers around me and send a surge of unwavering energy throughout my body, causing me to gasp. I breathed. I was breathing water. The force pulled me up out of the freezing lake and into the night sky, where the full moon shone bright. It laid me down upon the ice that had once broken, now solidifying at the touch of my feet without a single crack. I realized that I had held on to the stick I had found, and used to save my sister's life, the whole time and was still holding onto it with a solid grip. Gray and blue frost had taken its bark and strengthened its sturdiness.
I felt a pang in my heart at the thought of that word. As I stared at the moon, fascinated by its new beauty in my eyes, I felt compelled to speak to its force, the force that had saved me from my watery grave. My name was Jack. Somehow, I felt as if that had changed. I felt as if my identity was more than a name and that held more meaning. So, I asked.
Who do you say I am?
The icy wind blew like a tempest, consuming the air and filling my lungs. It took control of my body and lifted me high into the air. Instead of being shocked, it felt natural and thrilling as I began to control my own limbs and landed my feet firmly upon an oak tree branch. Then the wind became just as quiet as before, blowing through my ears like a whisper from an old friend.
"Jack Frost." I tried it on for size. Not bad. I looked at myself, just beginning to realize the frost that had overtaken the edges of my ragged clothes and the pale color of my skin, now with a light blue tint to it. The temperature did not feel cold to me, and nothing felt wrong. As I looked at the earth below, wondering just how I would get down, my newfound staff bumped against the tree and I heard a small sound like jingling bells upon the wood. I looked upon the point of contact to find that a crystalline design of frost had covered the bark within a six inch radius. This sparked a sense of hope inside of me. When I stood up and lifted my staff into the air, the wind obeyed my thoughts.
And just like that, the wind picked me up like it had before and began to hurdle me toward the ground.
It slowed before I hit the ground and stumbled before standing up. Hmm. Not bad for a first landing. I tapped my staff against another tree and thought of the moon. Instantly, a circular design was formed, surrounded by little twinkling ice patches that resembled stars. I started to feel all jittery. My mind was a blur and my heart was racing. I jumped up and down excitedly, and then raced across the lake with staff in hand and began to have a little fun with my powers.
We're gonna have some fun.
I froze in place, holding my head and moaning. The pain in my head was unbearable. For some reason, it melted away after just a moment. Then it hit me.
Earlier that day. We went skating, the ice began to crack, and I did the only thing I could think of. But I fell. I had to see her! I had to tell her that I was alive and show her all of the magic within me. She was the only thing on my mind as I ran towards the glowing light of the village, heart pounding, breathing fast and shallow. As the townspeople came into view, I called out to them in a loud voice without even pausing to stop or take a breath, "Hey!"
No one turned their head. No one stopped. No one did anything different at all.
I ran to the center of town where Robert was standing, a child that I used to play with all the time. I looked right at him. His head was turned to the ground. "Hey bud, why so low? I'm alive! I'm right here, see?!" Nothing. I knelt down to look at his face. He looked solemn and grave. I had never seen Robert like this before, and the idea that he would ignore me scared me. I whispered into his ear, "Why are you ignoring me?" He shivered and scratched his ear. Then he looked up at me, right into my eyes. I gave a small smile. Prematurely.
He walked towards me. As I opened my arms for a hug, I felt a force like a freezing wind blow through my chest. I looked at him in time to see him walking straight through my body, which temporarily dissolved into blue dust in the places we touched. After it was over, I spun around in shock, eyes wide. He simply continued on to his father, who gave him the hug that I offered and walked with him inside their cabin, closing the door behind them. My heart stopped. My body shook. I fought the urge to spill a tear as the snow began to fall. I refused to believe it.
As I stood up, I cried out again, "HEY! Listen to me!"
Nothing but the wind replied.
"It can't be true. It just can't be true…"
Jack, I'm scared.
Pain seized my head again, and I couldn't help but fall to my knees and scream. As soon as it faded out, I lifted my tired and lanky body and weakly dragged my feet across the snow, making my way to my own home. I walked through the wall, numbed by a cold storm of misery. Rosie was wrapped up tight in her bed, covered in every blanket we owned, with mother and father kneeling on either side of her bed, comforting her. She began to speak through sobs. "It's all my fault! It's my fault he's dead!" Mother held her head and locked eyes with her. "STOP IT! We've been through this already! It was no one's fault. The ice was thin, and he did what he knew in his heart was right." Father chimed in, tremor in his voice. "We're just as heartbroken and astonished as you. We'll probably never know why it happened, but the important thing is that we still have you." Rosie looked at him with those big, brown eyes that are impossible to deny. He couldn't turn away. "Rosaline, we're not going to forget Jack," he stuttered, "b-but we're not going to d-dwell on his death any longer. Just hold onto the happy memories."
As they spoke, I slowly walked up to my little sister, her tear-stained cheeks awakening my passion once more. I cautiously reached forward and, ever so gently, placed my hand against one of her red cheeks. She shivered and shook at my touch. Seeing her discomfort, I instantly pulled away, ashamed and unneeded.
The word rang in my head like a great chapel bell, over and over and over again. What was I? A ghost. A sprite. A player of tricks, and a former of frost.
I was nothing but an apparition magician.
I couldn't stand it; watching misery grow in their eyes, and watching them tremble from the snow storm that I was creating, which was just as uncontrollable and unstable as my heart. I could no longer contain my tears. When I expected them to roll down my face, they froze against my cheeks like tiny icicles. Afraid that touching my face would only make it worse, I covered my eyes with my arm and ran through another log wall, right into the family room to check the mirror. I approached it, lowering my arm slowly as I made a new discovery. My hair was now as white as freshly fallen snow, but after leaning in for closer inspection, few strands of my original auburn hair were visible amongst the ashen locks. Along with that, my eyes now shined a sapphire blue, like the lake on the first day of spring.
Out of habit, I grabbed the front door handle, twisted it and pulled. Shockingly, it opened. I had no idea that I could affect objects from the world of the living. Then I remembered that I chilled Rosie's cheek. Not giving it another thought, I rushed out the door with a flying leap in my step, slamming it behind me. I ran to the lake as fast as I could. Even though I tripped over sticks and stones, a small spark of hope gave me the strength to fly around them and keep going. When I finally got there, I stood directly above the place where I had fallen through the frozen mirror of nature and passed on to the other side. With a resounding crack, I gripped my staff with both hands and struck the base of it through the ice with all of my might, which was so weak that it crumbled beneath my feet, pulling me inside the vast pool of tears. I swam directly downward, plunging myself headfirst through the dense atmosphere. As I did so, my staff began glowing a pure white light as if it were the moon, lighting my destined path. The brown, sandy floor was covered in various rocks and weeds. I keep looking until I saw something brown that wasn't sand.
I approached it slowly, my breathing slowing drastically. As I got closer, the figure came into full view of the light. A sleeping boy with a purple face, holding a bend stick of rotting wood, and covered in a thin layer of scum.
Reaching forward, my breath completely stopped, I touched my hand against his face.
Nothing happened. I closed my eyes and wished as hard as I could, hand still upon my frostbitten face.
Jack, please… Open your eyes…
When I opened them, everything was the same.
Nothing but the churning water replied.
I threw my head backward, staring at the moon through the hole I had made. Powerless against my fate, I screamed up at the sky. It was long and it was loud. Chest pointed upward, I quickly floated back to the surface, using my staff to fly up and out of the hole, landing firmly upon the frozen grass once more. I just didn't understand. If I was magic, why couldn't I awaken myself? Why couldn't people see me?
Am I really just a ghost that talks to the moon? What is there to life when all I can do is open doors and play with sticks? I saved Rosaline, but I failed myself. I can never go back to the way I was.
I knew that I had to accept it, but I just couldn't. I looked back at the village as the people blew out their candles, getting ready for bed. I looked at the lake, which once filled my heart with joy and now filled it full of grief. I looked at the moon, whose presence in my life still remained a mystery to me. I shouted at the moon with all of my might, anger written upon my face. "WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!"
For the third time that night, nothing.
I just couldn't take it anymore. Thinking that it might all be a terrible nightmare, I closed my eyes and tried to wake myself up. All I got were memories, burning at the back of my mind and searing my heart.
"Back careful, Jack! I don't think the lake is frozen yet!"
"We'll be fine, mom!"
"Rosie, watch your brother for me and make sure he doesn't do anything foolish!"
I ran mindlessly and helplessly through the woods, trying to get the pain out of my head, the voices that taunted me as if they were saying, "Listen to yourself that you'll never be again, and the people that will never see you again, and the life that you'll never live again…" I tripped over a rock, screaming as it cut my foot, and fell to my knees. No wind came to help me. No force picked me up. There was no hope left inside of me. I had never felt emptier in my entire life. Nothing gave me any type of good feeling, and my mind was trying to block out all of the bad ones. I was completely numb.
And that was the worst feeling of all.
Is this what it feels like… to have a broken heart?
The snow storm finally ceased. My head fell down against the ground, heavy and apathetic. As the cold wind blew, I quietly wept into the patch of snow, forming more snow on top. My weeping became sobbing, and after that came moaning through tears. I wanted something, anything to fill this uncaring void that was the new Jack. Jack Frost. How I loathed that name.
When I stopped, I was able to lift up my head and turn it just enough to see something shining on the ground a few feet away from me. It could've just been snow, but it looked like something mostly covered by snow. Curiosity now motivated me to walk over to it. Sure enough, I squatted down in front of it and brushed away the snow to find metal and a wooden handle. I set down my staff and gripped at the handle, pulling it out completely.
It was a kitchen knife.
My head still hurt from the weight of my thoughts, but the pain was now nothing but a blur in the sea of pain that was my body. I stared at the clear blade, unfazed and mesmerized. I stared at my reflection in it with red, puffy, wide eyes. I held the handle just as firmly as I held the handle of my front door. They could both be used for the same thing.
This thought didn't hurt. Instead, it drew me closer to the beautifully crafted knife, freshly sharpened and firm in my trembling left hand. I pulled it close to my right wrist, wanting to spur some new sensation or emotion from within me. As I did, events from that day flashed again before my eyes.
Rosie and I laughed over breakfast.
I helped her tie on her skates.
Mother kissed my cheeks before we waved goodbye.
By this point, the knife was already covered in fresh blood, a bright red that dripped from my wrist upon the once perfect snow, now stained with disgusting anguish. The scars looked to me like beautiful kisses from one that I loved. My whole body was filled with a heat that I'd never felt in my entire life, new and old. Blood and tears flowed freely without freezing or clotting. I felt like my very soul was melting away. The pain in my head was gone, and my body begged for more. I couldn't resist.
Hesitantly, I gripped the wooden handle with both shaking hands and lifted it up into the air, blade aimed backwards.
Directly at my heart.
It's already broken.
I'll finally put it all to rest.
The last memory that my mind gave was the face of my dearest sister, annoyed and confused by my touch, hiding under the covers. It was the face of rejection. The face that no one had ever showed me before. The face that made my heart scream.
And with that, I plunged the shining blade directly through my chest, attempting to silence that scream. Instead, it exploded from my lungs as blood burst forth like waterfall. All that I could manage to do was scream as it felt like my organs were all emptying and flowing out of me, causing my ribs to implode on my spine. All I could think was blood and all I could see was the snow-white moon, until it finally turned blood-red and faded into the pitch-black sky…