So, this chapter is a little different than the others, but not really. Let me know what you think!
Childish Snow, Chapter Twenty-Four: The Day of the Dead
A boy bent over a book in a library, his eyes wide and dark against the haze of the dark sun setting below the horizon. Though it was dark, sounds of laughter, of children's laughter, rang through his ears. He had not ventured outside all day, though he knew that the children were wearing costumes, his problem was why.
"Are ya reading?" Bunny asked Jack, his eyes wide.
Jack nodded. "I am," he confirmed, frowning as he tried to remember just when and indeed, what this was.
Tooth smiled. "I think it's cute!" She decided, causing Jack to blush for a second.
Sandy smiled and nodded in agreement, forming the symbols of a thumbs up and a boy reading.
Jack shook his head. "It's not cute!" He protested. "Just what else was I supposed to do?"
North butted in. "Listen to boy, Toothy, Sandy."
Jack smiled gratefully at North, while Tooth and Sandy simply raised their eyebrows, though they nodded all the same.
He studied the book, before flipping to page 54 and reading the paragraph enclosed:
On this day, October 31st, the dead walk close to the living, closer than ever before. Demons rise from the deepest circles of the Inferno, creatures of legend walk the earth. To protect and disguise ourselves, we wear costumes, big or small. October 31st is the day where the dead can walk once more among the living, and where the living can walk among the dead. Fortunes given on this day are more likely to come true, and darkness always is a protective shroud.
He closed the book with a bang, his eyes wide in shock. He heard a set of footsteps and immediately an old librarian appeared. "Oi, boy, can I help you?"
Tooth's eyes widened, and she let out a choked gasp. "J-Jack! J-Jack, she saw you!"
Jack nodded. "I know. It's because of Halloween, right. People believe creatures of legend walk the earth on Halloween, so they see them, whether they believe or not." He explained.
Bunny actually nodded. "Ah know the feelin', mate. Ah don't actually go out a whole lot, not on 'Alloween, anyways. S'bit spooky, if ya know what Ah mean."
Jack agreed. "I know, but, well, I had discovered people could see me, I wasn't just about to give that up." He laughed.
North let loose a deep, belly laugh. "See, Bunny? Is braver than you!"
Jack laughed again, his eyes sparkling with mischief. "I am, aren't I, Kangaroo?"
He must have looked like a fish as he replied. "U-Uh, n-no thank y-you m-ma'am." His heart soared. Someone saw him! Someone saw him! Someone actually saw him! It filled his whole body with tingly, glowing warmth and he grinned at the librarian.
"Nice stutter there mate," Bunny said, getting Jack back for the Kangaroo comment.
Jack protested. "Hey!"
Standing up, he rapidly left, vowing to return tomorrow. For once in his life, the villagers made way for him, and one girl even sent him a small smile. He grinned widely. They saw him! They finally saw him! He smiled, yawning as he noted the full moon high overhead. Deciding to get some sleep, he nodded to himself, his heart bright and his eyes shining. Tomorrow would start a new day… a better day, because now people saw him.
The next morning when he woke? Let's just say that no one could see the white haired, blue eyed boy of poor fortune that was Jack Frost.
And the boy called Jack Frost cried, for what else was there to do?
Twenty Years Later
Finally, Jack thought he had figured it out. The passage in that first book he had read, oh so many years ago, finally made sense, he thought. He must be a 'creature of legend', he supposed. And in a way, he was right, much to his surprise.
For he was Jack Frost, Old Man Winter, The Cold One, Bringer of Winter, Shepard of Snow. He had many names in many different languages and he knew them all. It brought him a strange but fierce pride, he had to admit.
Because even if he hadn't been believed in, at least he had a name, even in the minds of humans.
"Woah!" Jack exclaimed. "World… spinning…"
North groaned in agreement. "Like tunnel. Bunny's tunnels," he suggested, though Jack shook his head. "No, those are actually sort of fun. It's something else…" He trailed off.
Bunny smirked triumphantly. "Aha! So someone does like my tunnels!"
Tooth said thoughtfully. "I think we just changed over to another memory, don't you?" As Guardian of Memories, she could sense that this memory had a slightly different… flavor, she guessed was the best way to put it.
Sandy nodded, gesturing to how the Jack in the memory was now in a totally different location then he had been in the last memory, much to his surprise and shock.
Jack looked around before agreeing with them. "Yeah, guys, I think you're right. This is like twenty years after the last one, I think?" He guessed, shrugging. He hoped so, anyways, as he wasn't quite sure if he was right or not.
He had discovered that every Samhain, every All Hallow's Eve, the mortals, they could see him, though they didn't believe. It was because that on Samhain, humans believed everything was possible.
They saw what they expected to see, for the most part, except some of them saw Jack Frost, too. Maybe they would have stopped believing, had they knew. But they didn't. After all, they were only following centuries of legend. But legend wasn't always correct.
He smiled warmly. He had pinned down even more facts about this interesting holiday, though some he wasn't certain of. But at the moment, it was his favourite day of the year; the only one where anyone at all believed in him. And he was glad.
He watched the devils and demons and witches and wizards roam the streets from the roof of an old worn down house, feeling strangely comforted. It was more than reassuring to know that at any point he could simply jump down from the roof and talk to someone.
It was a feeling he had had only twenty times before. And he was certain it was one he would never grow tired of.
One Hundred Years Later
A hundred years later, Jack was pretty sure he had this whole Samhain thing under control. Though they now called it All Hallow's Eve, and sometimes, in the richer towns and neighbourhoods, children went door to door for small buns of bread, or half an apple, or a small bag of popcorn. It was uplifting, cheery, and bright; the way a holiday ripe with fear had begun to turn into one of fun.
"Did the memory switch again?" Bunny asked, his ears ringing.
Both Tooth and Jack nodded silently, and so it went on.
It made him feel warm and fuzzy and nice on the inside. He wasn't sure why, but it just felt as if his very center, his core was pleased and delighted and content with this. It didn't hurt that people could see him, talk to him, hear him for this one day, this one day out of three hundred and sixty five. It amazed him, but that was alright. It excited him, surprised him, gave him something to look forward too.
And perhaps that was one of the most valuable gifts of all. Because clearly Jack didn't have very many things to look forward to. Everything he had cared about had passed and gone, and now he was nothing more than a lost soul in a cruel world.
In time, he was sure, he would be believed in, he would be like them. But for now? He was alone on all but one night of the year. And it stung, but he was okay with that.
After all, the fact that he could still feel… didn't that mean he was still alive?
He wasn't one of the walking dead, a restless ghost trapped walking the earth for eternity. No, he was just Jack. Invisible Jack, sure, but just Jack all the same. He felt like the humans did, he smiled like them, he laughed like them, he cried like them.
He brought winter, too, but how harmful was that really in the long run? He knew people died, and it gave him a deep sense of dread and guilt that had started pooling in his belly before sinking down through his legs to his toes, his arms to his hands, and his stomach to his heart.
But without winter, the earth would overheat, and KA-BOOM, no more Earth. So really, wasn't he just doing what was needed? He helped where he could, and shouldn't that be enough?
Standing up, he shook off his melancholy and smiled: he had a full night to be seen, and it wouldn't do to spend any more of it like he was, moping. Oh no: tonight was a night for fun.
Two Hundred Years Later
A boy stood next to a streetlight in a busy city, his eyes warm as he surveyed the children walking from house to house, holding bags of candy and laughing.
A little five year old bumped into him and told him cutely. "Sorry, Mister! I like your costume!" She smiled before moving on. "Mommy, wait up!"
Jack gasped slightly, adrenaline roaring in his ears, like it always did. But all the same, a smile graced his face. And he was glad.
Producing a bag from the inside of his hoodie, he joined the throng of kids on the streets and sidewalks. After all, there was no sense in letting a whole bunch of good candy go to waste, right? His eyes widened as he noticed a little seven year old girl about to cross a busy street in the middle of traffic, and he hurriedly ran towards her, throwing his arm to stop her just in time.
"Oh, Jack!" Tooth gasped. "That was so brave!"
Jack shook his head. "Not really, Tooth. I just stopped that girl from getting run over. Why they even invented cars, I don't know." He laughed.
Then he said, wanting to lighten the mood and stop them from giving him praise he didn't want or deserve. "I've got a joke, who wants to hear it?"
North smiled at him. "I wvill."
Jack grinned, his eyes twinkling with mischief. "Knock Knock."
"Who's there?" North asked.
"Banana," said Jack.
"Banana who?" North grinned.
Jack smirked. "Knock Knock."
North looked confused. "Uh, who's there?"
"Banana," Jack repeated.
"Banana who?" North asked, sure Jack had just made a mistake.
"Knock Knock," Jack said.
North frowned, realizing that Jack was doing it on purpose. "Not funny!"
Jack frowned. "One more time?"
North sighed but nodded. "Oh, alright. Who's there?"
Jack smiled, his eyes full of mischief. "Orange."
North's eyes widened and he breathed in relief. "Orange who?"
"Orange you glad I didn't say banana?"
Everyone burst out laughing, and Jack was glad. He had successfully lightened the mood. And made them forget, too.
The girl eyed him, confused. "Can I help you?"
Jack didn't say anything, relieved beyond words that the little girl was okay. "Just don't do that again, Miranda," he read her name off the pocket of her coat. "Wait for your parents before crossing the street." He had seen enough violence. Too many children wandering into the paths of cars.
The girl's mother ran up, frantic. "Oh, Miranda! I'm so glad you're okay!"
She grabbed her daughter in a crushing hug, and turned to Jack. "Thank you thank you thank you so much." She said in a rush, her tone relieved. "I just let her wander away for an instant, nothing more and then she almost rushes across the street."
Jack nodded. "I understand, ma'am, I'm just glad she's okay." He smiled winningly, before flitting back into the crowd. He hadn't done it for praise, or for fame or fortune. He had just wanted the little girl to be okay. And that was why he was like he was today: not angry or bitter or upset with humans or the Guardians.
No, the one and only person Jack despised too much to name was the Man in the Moon. Trapping him for years in a bubble of loneliness and depression, and then when he simply asked why…. He never answered. But then again, he never did.
And while Jack certainly couldn't say he was okay with that (for he knew he would never be), he understood it was the way things were, and he accepted it.
The world swirled and then they were back in the white room. Jack leaned back in his armchair and closed his eyes. They must be way over halfway done, and he was more than glad.
Guess who's back? I'm so sorry, guys, it's been over a month, I know, but life's been hectic, I've had writer's block, my plan for this story was accidentally deleted, and I've just been super lazy. XD. I'm so sorry. A way to speed up my updates? Send in what memories you guys want to see and I'll do them! Seriously!
Also... It's November, which means it's National Novel Writing Month! So... I won't be able to update until the first week of December or so, I'm really very sorry guys!
See you in December, everyone!