|The Transformation Story Archive||Strange Things and other Changes|
Daniel watched the kids playing in the snow with a wistful smile. He could remember his own snowball fights and fort-building from years past. Not that he was physically unable to take part in the fun, but a grown man just didn't join in games with children that weren't his. It was times like these that he felt a touch of loneliness, missing the warmth and companionship of family.
He had friends, of course. Good ones, like Sam and Karen, who'd invited him over for Christmas dinner tonight. It wasn't quite the same, though. Not like when his parents had been alive. This was one of the times he really missed that special relationship.
Oh, he wasn't about to run out and get married for companionship. He wouldn't even commit himself enough to get a dog, much less make the sacrifices required of marriage. Still, as he walked along the sidewalk, he found himself wishing he could share the holidays with someone special. Or at least find a way to recapture some of that youthful joy he remembered, but couldn't seem to rekindle.
Lost in thought, he ended up walking completely out of the small neighborhood. The stores were deserted today, closed for Christmas. He was surprised that no one had taken advantage of the parking lot piled high with brilliant white snow. A smile flickered across his face. Feeling a little silly, he nonetheless started rolling up a ball of snow.
He originally planned to build a simple snowman, but kept adding more powder to the pile. It took on the shape of a horse of some kind, and he started patting the mound of frozen whiteness into a more specific shape. Given a lack of sculpting experience, the result was remarkably good. Too thin, perhaps. Parts of it looked more like deer than equine, but there was a strange rightness to the shape that kept him from changing it.
There was something missing, though. He stared at the graceful form, trying to decide what it needed. A saddle? No, this wasn't a riding horse. Glancing around the parking lot, his eye was caught by the sparkle of ice. Of course! He searched the light poles and signs until he found a large, straight icicle and broke it off carefully. Then he pushed the base into his creation's forehead and stepped back.
A beam of sunlight caught in the ice. It was beautiful! A light dusting of fresh snow created the illusion of soft hair, and for a brief moment, his snow-unicorn seemed alive and real. Then the ice-horn reflected the sun in his eyes painfully, and he raised a hand to block the glare.
A red mitten? Danny blinked and stared at the bright yarn, damp and spotted with chunks of snow. The snow unicorn was suddenly eye level, its crystal horn now glinting above his head. Confused, he dropped his eyes to see a blue and green jacket, jeans, and sneakers. Kid's clothes. On a kid's body. Mouth open, he dropped his hand and gave the snow unicorn a bewildered look. The faintest echo of laughter touched his mind. And then the unicorn's head exploded, followed by the shouts of children.
Spinning, Danny saw a group of kids charging towards him, throwing snowballs at each other and him as they ran. A nine year-old boy tackled him, knocking him backwards into the remains of the snow-unicorn. It occurred to Danny that he and the boy were the same size, the same age. Then confusion vanished and he grabbed a mitten full of snow and pushed it in his brother's face. "Gotcha!"
The twins tumbled in the white powder, joined quickly by the rest of the kids in a fit of shrieks and giggling. Hours later, the parking lot was full of forts and snowmen, and the children had all run home for family dinners. Red-gold rays of sunset flashed through a broken icicle, and the parking lot echoed with the faintest sound of laughter.
Snow Unicorn copyright 2000 by Bob Stein.
|<< Short Takes||Soft Dragons >>|