A Girl Named Winter

*Runner up of the Be Inspired By The Christmas Picture Contest*

When Max meets a mysterious girl in the woods, he finds that not only does she change his world, but the world around them as well. The permanent ice age they stand in soon melts away, revealing how Winter met Spring.


2. When The Day Met The Night

"Maxwell, come down here!" his mother shouted from the bottom of the staircase. Max cringed at her angry tone and shuffled his way to the stairs. As soon as she came into view, he knew this would be the end of his life as he knew it. Her face had turned a bright red and she tapped her foot in a rhythmic pattern that meant war. Max had seen this too many times before. It was time to play coy.

"Yes?" he cautiously asked, trying to keep his reaction as innocent and unknowing as his mother once believed him to be.

"Who. Broke. The lamp?" she slowly asked, as if just shouting at him wouldn't suffice. Max immediately threw his hands up in surrender. Step one of playing coy: Never think about your answer. Step Two: Deny, deny, deny.

"It wasn't me! I didn't even know about it until now," he replied untruthfully. Max could still remember the gut wrenching sound of his mother's beloved crystal lamp crashing to the floor and the glass shattering into a million pieces. He still had a seeping wound in his hand from trying to pick up the pieces before his mom came home. It wasn't his fault the urges of karate chopping a fly broke the lamp. It was the flies fault for thinking that he wouldn't break a lamp just to look like a badass killing a fly. But it was time for Step Three: Blame the sibling. "It was Celia".

His mother scoffed and rolled her eyes at his clearly untrue statement. She paused for a moment, thinking of a punishment that would be sufficient to his crime and held her hand out. Max looked at her hand then back up at her, realizing what she had wanted. His phone.

"No!" he cried out, holding his uninjured hand to his back pocket like she had already taken it. She smiled maniacally. He never knew she could sink that low. He trudged down the stairs and hesitantly plopped the iPhone in her hand and looked away as if looking at it, jerked tears in his eyes. "You evil woman," he said, purposefully making it look over dramatic and earned a chuckle.

After several minutes of boredom, Max peered out of his window and watched the never ending snow flurry past his house. Suddenly, he caught a glimpse of red waving behind a tall oak tree he had never seen before. He squinted his eyes in an effort to identify the red blur and sighed in frustration as it was moving too fast for him to see it.

His mother had gone to work; taking his salvation with her and his sister was blasting music in her room. The perfect situation for the cat to stretch its legs.

Curiosity got the better of him and Max slipped out of the door and threw on a winter jacket, rubbing his hands together in an effort to provide some warmth. The cold breeze ran through his light brown hair and Max shivered.

He trekked into the snowy forest, slipping on ice, tripping on snow camouflaged logs and getting attacked by the flurrying snow but still determined to find the red blur. He hated everything about the permanent ice age there town had been submerged in and longed for a day that would let the warm blanket of the sun reach his pale face but he wasn't the only one complaining. The whole world was in the same icy boat he was in.

Despite his lack of optimism in the weather portion of his life, he surprisingly still felt a strange pull towards something as small as a red blob in a silent forest.

Max spotted a red scarf, wrapped around the top of the oak tree that stretched up into the sky. He started to climb up the towering tree and winced as he grabbed splintered bark with his wounded hand. He cursed and abandoned the idea of climbing altogether so he wouldn't risk infection. Suddenly, the sound of crunching footsteps caught his attention.

Max turned around hesitantly, only to find a girl standing before him. She gave him a slight nod of the head, making the white dress she wore, bounce and flare out from her tiny waist. Strangely, she had no sign of the cold affecting her ivory skin. It was almost as though she was impervious to the cold. Even her breath seemed to disappear into the air, unlike the gigantic cloud in front of Max's splotchy red face.

"Is this yours?" he asked pointing to the red scarf knotted on the tree above them.

"Yes," she replied shyly. "But you will not be able to reach it,"

With those mere words, an icy chill blew past him and the wind whispered softly before retreating deep into the forest.

Max looked down at his hand and frowned. The girl slowly walked towards Max, reaching her hand out towards him. He looked up and noticed her strange gesture. Why would she want him to hold her hand? She smiled faintly before grasping Max's hand, immediately making him flinch.

She nodded her head in reassurance and Max delicately placed his hand in hers and watched as she closed her eyes and placed her other hand on top of his. The wind around them suddenly picked up and wildly spun her silver hair around her face. Max's hand felt like it was lit on fire as he cried out in pain and fell to the ground on his knees. The snow whipped around them like a tornado and Max felt as though he was going to pass out any second.

Then, it all suddenly stopped. The wind stopped blowing, the snow stopped falling and Max's hand no longer burned but in fact, felt cold. Max looked up to see the girl smiling down at him as he sat panting. He looked at his frozen hand to shockingly find that it was healed. A fresh patch of pink skin lay in the spot where the glass had ripped it apart. He had been magically healed by a random girl he met in the woods. If now was the time to freak out, Max simply wasn't doing it.

"Hi," she said, holding her hand out to shake and a mesmerizing grin on her face, "I'm Winter".


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