I reached my hand up to the door in front of me. Knocking on it twice, I waited for a reply. I heard the handle unhinge and the door swung open, greeting me with a familiar face. “Ah, James. Merry Christmas.” My uncle said with a smile.
“Yeah, Merry Christmas to you too,” I replied with a sigh. I still had the same thing on my mind as I did two days ago.
“Come here,” Uncle Rob gestured, swinging his arms around me. “You’re thinking about her, aren’t you? I know it’s been a year since it happened, but you're letting yourself dabble on it for too long. Come inside, have some food and see family. It’ll make you feel better.”
“I guess,” I replied. It was last Christmas that Elyssa died. Died from hypothermia, they said. It was a freak accident, they said. And I knew that. I just couldn’t help thinking it was my fault. We had only been dating for a month, but we loved each other truly.
I walked into the house. The red carpet that lined the hallway was inviting as it was depressing. My sister, Kim walked around the corner to greet me. I threw myself into her arms, releasing all the emotion I had kept inside until now. “There, there. Its ok,” she said soothing me. She was the only one that understood my pain. Her husband had committed suicide last year on New Year’s Day, at the stroke of midnight.
“I can’t help but think it’s all my fault, like I could have been there to save her,” I sobbed. “I just want her back. It was too short.”
“I know. I want him back too, but I know he won’t come back,” she reassured me. “But now is not the time. Not while it’s still light.”
I took a deep breath. “Ok.”
“Now let’s wipe those tears off, straighten our back, and 3, 2, 1, let’s go,” Kim said. We walked into the room where our family was seated. My niece sat on my mother’s lap, laughing as she played with her toys.
“Uncle Jason!” a young voice shouted. A little boy ran to me and wrapped his arms around my legs.
“Aye, hello Kyle,” I responded picking me nephew up and putting him on my shoulder. If anyone could cheer me up on sight, it was Kyle. Gets it from his mother, I thought.
“Jason, so good to see you. How have you been?” my mother asked.
“Oh you know. Same old, same old. Although I have published and sold my first book. I am now officially an author,” I announced.
“Uncle Jason, what does pubbleished mean?” Kyle asked. The little boy was so inquisitive. Gets it from me, I thought.
“It means that I’ve sent it into the world for people to read,” I answered, laughing when I heard the little “oh” from the child.
“The chicken’s ready guys. Let’s eat!” Uncle Rob shouted from the kitchen. Always had to follow family tradition.
“So then I told him, ‘Either you buy it now, or don’t buy it at all.’ Do you know what he said to that?” Uncle Rob asked, “He said, ‘In an ideal world, one would buy something they pre-ordered when they wanted.’ I wouldn’t let that pass, so I…” A knocking at the door halted his recount.
“I’ll get it,” I stated. Walking over to the door, I caught a glimpse of a police car on the driveway. I turned the handle and opened the door.
“James Sander?” the police man asked. Snow had collected on his shoulders and hat.
“Yes, that is me. Merry Christmas to you sir,” I kindly gestured.
“Merry Christmas to you to. I got a call from someone on the outskirts of town, saying that a hardly dressed girl was wondering into town. They said that she looked like Elyssa Savage,” he said.
“But that’s impossible,” I replied. “Elyssa’s dead. She died last year.” I was confused by this news.
“That’s what I said. But they insisted. And they got Elyssa on the line and she asked me to get you,” he told me, in what was a confused, surprised and serious tone.
“Ok, take me to her,” I demanded. We walked over to police car and got inside. Revving up the car, the radio turned on, playing Christmas carols. We drove to the edge of town, through the streets of white.
We pulled up to a two-story house. Christmas décor and lights brightened up the front yard. A familiar girl stood at the entrance of this grand house. Her snow white hair flowed over her shoulders and down her back. She wore a light blue gown and slippers. “Elyssa?” I asked, stepping out the car.
“Hello James.” Elyssa replied. I ran towards her, eyes starting to water. I threw myself into her arms.
“I thought you were dead! I sobbed.
“I was. But I got a second chance,” she responded. “They let me come back since you were so upset. So I found a snowman outside the town, and formed from it.”
“Come with me, we have a celebration to join. I’ll get you some proper clothes, and you can tell me what happened,” I suggested, grabbing her hand and pulling her towards the car.
“But wait, James. Before we go, there’s one thing I must tell you,” she said, looking concerned. “I can’t stay for long. While this body is human, it’s still made of snow and does melt. I can’t go near any flames or fire, but I can come into contact with body heat or heat from hot foods. But they are the only sources.” Her eyes started to weep. She was thinking about something.
“That’s ok. Those things are easy to avoid,” I reassured.
Several weeks passed since Elyssa had returned. Christmas presents had been exchanged, and joyous moments shared. But I still had the underlying thought that something was on Elyssa’s mind that kept her from enjoying each moment.
Summer was approaching. The snow was starting to retreat into hiding, and flowers were starting to bloom. I walked into the room in which Elyssa was staying. “Morning Elyssa. Breakfast is ready if you want it,” I said. “Elyssa?”
“Morning James,” she responded, weakly. She sounded and looked terrible. Her voice croaked and the bed was soaked with her sweat. I walked over and felt her forehead. Cold, freezing cold.
“Elyssa are you ok?” I asked. Her eyes shimmered with an excess of liquid in them. Her skin was pale, almost white.
“The snow is leaving, that means my time is almost up,” she croaked. “I told you my body was originally snow. So when the snow melts, I melt.” I wanted to think she was lying, but her face told me it was all the truth.
“Well is there something I could do?” I asked, a wave of sadness causing me to start crying. She was going to leave me again.
“Help me to the garden. I need to write something that only you can see and read,” she told me. I grabbed her hand and pulled her to her feet. Swinging her arm over my shoulder, we exited the room and started towards the garden. On our way past the study, I grabbed a pencil and a sheet of paper.
When we arrived at the garden, Elyssa flung herself toward a patch of exposed dirt. That’s where I planted the apple seeds Uncle Rob had given me. “Stick,” Elyssa ordered. I handed her a stick and she started to write in the dirt. E-L-Y, she started to write. It was in a weird dialogue that I somehow understood.
“What’s the language that this is in?” I asked. I started to scribble the characters Elyssa was writing.
“It’s in the dialect of the gods. A divine language that is used by your deities. I’ve decided to give you the ability to understand the symbols,” Elyssa explained. “There, done. You got it all?”
“Yep, it’s all written here.” I showed her the paper. She looked through each character, checking that I had written it correctly. When she had checked them a few times, she gave me a nod saying it was all correct.
“Ok, it’s time for me to leave. I have one last Christmas present for you. It’ll be arriving in a few minutes. But until we see again.” Her skin, eyes and clothes turned the same white as her hair. Water ran off her body and into the ground. She lay on the ground, looking into my eyes. Tears began to form in my eyes.
“Wait Elyssa,” I cried. “Before you melt away, I have one request.” I grabbed her slippery body, pulled her close and kissed her. My face and body became drenched as Elyssa faded away, but I didn’t care. I was savouring the tender moment placed in front of me. A mixture of water and tears created a slightly salty taste on the end of my tongue. Finally her body dissipated, leaving a wet patch of soil.
I knelt on the ground, staring at the patch that Elyssa once lay. Tears streamed down my face and dripped to the ground. Wiping the tears from my face, I stood up, said my goodbye, and walked into my house. As soon as I stepped into the building, someone knocked on the front door. When I opened the door, I was met by a weathered face.
“Is Elyssa Savage here?” the man asked. He held a clipboard in one hand and a pen in the other.
“No, she just left,” I lied.
“Ok. Can I get you to sign here then?” The delivery man pointed his pen to a box, above it said ‘Sign here’. I took the pen and signed the box. The man walked to his truck and towed a wooden box out of it. “Where would you like me to put it?” he asked.
“Uh, take it out the back,” I answered. I directed him toward the back gate. He placed the box in the garden, took out a crowbar and started to remove the wooden planks. I helped him remove the planks, slowly dismantling the box. Once we had finished, I saw the beauty that stood in front of me. It was a marble carving of Elyssa, in the clothes she had been wearing at the Christmas party. A serpent was wrapped around her legs, and a fawn was resting in her arms.
“She’s a beauty this one,” the delivery man commented. “Anyway, glad doing business with ya.” He extended his hand. I took it and shook it. I led him through the house and back to his truck. He stepped in and waved at me. Waving back, I shouted a thanks to him. I walked back into the house as he drove off.
I walked to the garden. Looking at the paper I had written the characters on, I placed it to the statue’s chest, and into one of her hands. The paper shone with a bright blue light, as it fused with the marble. The light wrapped around the statue, causing it to glow in a brilliant blue. The stone shimmered, slowly changing to flesh. The clothes carved changed to cloth, and her hair stated to flow down her back.
When light dimmed, Elyssa stood with her eyes closed. She started to fall toward the ground. I ran to her side, catching her as she fell. She opened her purple eyes and looked straight into mine. She looked exactly the same as when she died. Her long hair was a deep black instead of white. Her skin was not pale but instead slightly tanned.
“Good to see you back to normal Elyssa,” I complimented.
“It’s good to be back to normal,” she replied. She grabbed the back of my head, pulled me close and kissed me. I welcomed her body warmth instead of cold skin. I had my Elyssa back, and all was good. We walked inside, arm in arm, talking about what adventures to have next.