Welcome to the Storytime Blog Hop. Read my new Ernie story here, but don't forget to scroll to the bottom to follow the rest of the authors in the blog hop.
I Deam of a Snowman
The long stretch of water running from the front door towards the kitchen was the first sign something was wrong.
There wasn’t any need for a second one. But just in case the horror-movie-worthy trail wasn’t enough on its own, the front door to Guard Village - Senior Living banged against the wall, bringing a flurry of sleet inside.
Ernie heaved a sigh. Not another one.
He caught the door before it could bang a second time and checked outside. Green grass peeked through a white landscape of fast melting snow. There was no sign of anything out of the ordinary. He closed the door, making sure it caught properly, and turned to follow the trail to the kitchen.
“This one won’t be as bad,” he whispered. But he already knew he was lying to himself before he entered the Kitchen.
A five-foot-tall snowman stood in front of the freezer; a box of ice-cream balanced in his makeshift stick arms. Someone had rolled together two large balls of snow to create this one, with a much smaller ball set for its head. It had traditional pebble eyes and a carrot nose, which, after what had been used to make the last one, was a relief.
As soon as it saw Ernie it tried to freeze in place, but it was too little too late. If Ernie had been anything remotely human, there would have been no explaining this one away.
“Relax, I’m not a mortal,” Ernie said, stepping over the water trail to move closer.
“Thank goodness,” the snowman said as he sagged. The ice-cream slipped from his twig hands. There was a moment of scrambling, where he almost caught the box, then it clattered to the floor, the plastic smashing. “Sorry.”
“Why are you here?” Ernie asked, watching the snowman try to shovel part of what might have been his hip into the freezer.
The row of pebbles that made up the snowman’s mouth curved into a smile. “Well, when one snow-ball, and another snowball, really like each other, it makes-”
“No,” Ernie said, cutting in before it could finish the sentence. He’d already heard the joke once too many times this winter. “I mean, why are you here? In my kitchen. You should be outside.”
“Oh,” the snowman said, clearly disappointed he didn’t get to explain. “I mean, surely it’s not every day that you find a living snowman in your kitchen? I would have thought how I was made might have been more interesting?”
Ernie stared at the snowman as a large chunk of snow fell off one shoulder. His smile was gone now, and he slumped forward, not just because of the missing snow.
“Alright, tell me how you were made,” Ernie said, pressing two fingers to his head. Who knew gods could get headaches?
“I don’t want to anymore. I don’t need your pity,” the Snowman said, voice taking on a distinctive whine more appropriate for a five-year-old. An echo of the child who made it slipping in, a shadow of their imagination and life. And like a shadow, it was just as fleeting.
Ernie shook his head, not wanting to dwell on that thought. Stopping the snowman from melting in his kitchen was definitely a higher priority. Ernie didn’t want to clean up all that water. Unfortunately, the freezer wasn’t doing much to keep the snowman together. There was just too much heat, indoors and outside.
“No. Really, I want to know,” Ernie said, offering the snowman a smile. If he could get the thing outside, this would go easier. “None of the others told it as well.”
“Others?” the snowman said, growing more sullen. “There are others?”
“None as…” Ernie said, grasping for a word to describe three balls of snow. “Good looking as you.”
“You’re just saying that because you feel bad,” the snowman said, head tilting precariously forward as he wrung his bark-covered hands together.
“No, no,” Ernie said, panicking as the pebbles around the snowman’s eyes grew watery. “The last one was just one big ball. You are much more impressive.” Politer too. The last one had thrown a tantrum, soaking the kitchen.
“It takes skill to make us, you know, real skill. Not everyone can do it,” the snowman said, straightening. He had to grab for his nose as the carrot came loose. “My maker was excellent. I mean, look at my buttons! They are almost all the same size.”
Ernie watched one of the shiny glass beads the snowman pointed to slide free with a chunk of snow. If he didn’t get the snowman outside soon, there was going to be nothing left to save. Not that he would survive much longer outside with the warming weather.
“Oh, dear.” The snowman stared at the pebble. “That’s not a good sign.”
It was frustrating watching the realisation come to the snowman that something was wrong. It was the third one this week, and with the snow outside almost gone, it was likely going to be the last. Ernie had never seen so many snowmen drawn here in all the years he’d been pretending to be mortal.
“Why are you here?” Ernie asked gently, trying again to find out what was drawing them here.
“This place felt different. I thought maybe there would be something here to help. I felt safe, I think. Some kind of magic,” the Snowman said, staring at Ernie. “But it’s not enough, is it?”
“No,” Ernie said, wincing. His magic was drawing them? But why now? His magic was of summer, not winter.
“But I made him happy while I was here, didn’t I?” the snowman said. “My maker I mean?”
“Of course you did. Why else would he have made such an excellent snowman?” Ernie said, closing the distance to pat its shoulder, careful not to dislodge any more snow.
“Will he remember me, you think?”
“Yes,” Ernie said, swallowing hard as the magic holding the snowman together started to collapse. This wasn’t his magic, Ernie reminded himself. He shouldn’t interfere. “Every time the snow falls, he will remember.”
“Thank you,” the snowman breathed. Another lump of snow fell free, but this was one fragment too many and the lower half could no longer support the top. Snow crumpled on itself as it lost its shape.
Another life gone.
Taking a sharp breath, Ernie’s patience snapped, and he grabbed the loose threads of the magic and held them. He was tired of watching them fall apart. The mess aside, it wasn’t fair. They deserved to exist longer than the cycle of the weather. But that was how the magic of children worked, fleeting wisps of dreams.
With a slow breath, he put a piece of his will into the weave of the magic and whispered, “every time they dream of a snowman, they will see you.”
The magic whipped away from him, silent and swift as it caught the tail edge of winter’s air. It probably would not stop future snowmen visiting, but this one would get a chance to live on in the hearts and minds of children who made the next one.
That had to be enough.
In case you missed it, I have a new Ernie story coming out 1st of April.
Introducing Time for Change: the final story in the Ernie Smith and the Seven Deadly Sins series! But probably not the last Ernie Story ever.
Out the 1st April - 99p - https://books2read.com/u/m2Ydw1
TIME FOR CHANGE
How would you deal with the end of the world?
Being retired was supposed to be easy. No drama, no family, no problems. Considering what he was, Ernie should have known better.
All Ernie wants is one last drink before he faces his final battle, but his friends have other ideas, except their help is anything but helpful.
Ragnarok's hourglass is broken, Ernie's sword is getting a little close for comfort, and Heimdall won’t stop blowing the damned horn. But who cares as long as Ernie shows up for the final battle?
Except Ernie's done playing nice, and he's not taking another step until he gets the sand out of his shoes. But what happens when he's not the only one reluctant to face the end?
Can Ernie survive long enough to ride into battle one last time? Or could there be another choice?
Time for Change is the last story in the Ernie Smith and the Seven Deadly Sins series. It will make you laugh and Ernie cry.
Join Ernie on what might be his last adventure by picking this book up today.
Find out more about the rest of the series here - Ernie Smith and the Seven Deadly Sins
Follow the blog hop and read some more amazing Flash Fiction 1 - Rescue Mission by Gina Fabio
5 - I Deam of a Snowman by Jemma Weir <-- You are here
7 - JunetaKey.com