|Blood on Snow - artwork by VampureDarlla (from DeviantArt) |
You look outside: Ah, it is snowing! But look closer. Those are not snowflakes falling from the sky! What is it snowing at your house?
Changed into jeans and a long-sleeved shirt, he set to making himself dinner. Nothing fancy - just a small ham steak, diced potatoes, and eggs. The TV played in the background while he cooked more for noise than anything else. Living alone sometimes grated on him, and he just needed to feel like someone else was there. By the time he set his plate and beer down at the table, Jeopardy had started. Paying more attention to his food, he occasionally blurted out his question-answers to the question-answers that Alex Trebek read aloud.
As he cut into the ham, Trebek said, "The name of this creature is a nickname for a citizen of New Zealand."
"What is a kiwi?" Barry said before popping the ham and some potato into his mouth. The contestant answered after him, and Trebek told him he was correct.
"A clumsy dancer," said Trebek with the next chosen answer, "is said to have this anatomical impossibility."
"What is two left feet?" Barry said and then took a pull from his bottle. He and the contestant were both correct.
And so went his night.
A chill was in the air by the time he had reached home, but once inside his house, he didn't really think on the weather too much. After Jeopardy was over and Wheel Of Fortune started, the weather seemed to take a turn for the worse as snow started to fall from the sky. The sky had been dark when he pulled onto his street so he'd guessed it would rain, but it was colder than he'd originally thought. Cleaning up in the kitchen, he heard a knock at his door. He set the dish in the drainer, dried his hands, and went to the door. When there wasn't a second knock, he peered through the eyepiece and didn't see anyone. Shrugging it off as the wind kicking something up to his house, he went back to the kitchen to finish cleaning up.
Barry grabbed another beer and retired to the living room - watching but not really watching the last dregs of Wheel.
The final round was about to start when his home phone rang once and only once. Barry stared at it from across the room as if expecting it to ring again. It didn't, and he sank back into the couch and watched as the nervous contestant next to Pat Sajack guess the final puzzle. With only three R's and an I on the board - the clue being "Thing" - before the timer started to tick, he said "Railroad Crossing" and swallowed some beer. The nervous contestant mouthed silent words, once saying something that sounded like "ree" before the timer stopped and Vanna White revealed what Barry already knew. He toasted the sorry guy with a raise of his beer before finishing it off.
Bored with TV, he shut the set off and went to drop his bottle with the other recycling in the kitchen when he heard another knock at his door. He passed it off as the wind again, but as if sensing the dismissal, a second knock followed quickly after. Three solid thuds spaced evenly apart, not rushed, as if to say "it is not the wind." Barry stared at the door. A minute passed, maybe two. Then the three raps on his door sounded again. The phone rang once more - this time twice before silencing itself - and then three more knocks.
He went to the door, eyeing it as if waiting for it to do a trick, then peeked out the eyepiece. Just as before, he saw no one. He went to the window and peered past the curtains. Still - no one. On impulse he returned to the door and opened it.
The cold air was on him at once as he stood in the doorway. The world outside was cast in shadow, the streetlights not doing their best work. His mind elsewhere, he slipped on some boots by the door and walked outside, Barry slowly crossed the lawn to the sidewalk and stopped. The drizzle started to thicken as he clothes began to dampen from the weather's assault. Blinking away snowflakes from his lashes, he stood in the middle of the road looking up and down, back and forth.
He was alone.
"Barry," he heard as if a whisper on the wind. A second time... and a third. His head whipped around, searching for the voice - the person calling to him - and finding no one.
"Hello?" he said after his name again.
"So cold," said the voice on the wind. "It is so very cold." He thought the voice sounded female.
"Where are you?"
"Help me, Barry," she said. "I'm so cold."
"Where are you?" he asked again. "I don't see you." The wind - and the voice - were gone. He stood in the snow waiting. After several minutes, he said, "Hello?" Several minutes more and there was still no answer. As if waking from a dream, he shivered from the cold and jogged back to his house. The door was still open, and he passed the threshold, he brought his hands to his hair to shake the snow from it, but when he saw his hands, they were smeared with red. Startled, he started to notice his sleeves were dotted with red as well as his shirt and pants.
He was covered in blood.
Unable to believe his eyes, he turned to the door, and saw a woman standing on the other side of the doorway. Beyond her, red fell from the sky in a quiet drizzle. He paid no mind to the weather now, all his attention on the woman who had appeared from nowhere. She stood several inches shorter than him, dressed in a dark black dress that covered her legs and feet. Her black hair straight and long, falling down the length of her back and parted to frame her face. She stared at him, her eyes almost as black as her hair and clothes. Her lips a bright, deep red which along with the rest of her was in strong contrast to her skin.
So pale. So ivory.
Her beauty, her presence, had an almost hypnotic effect on him, so it took him a moment to notice the red ribbon tied about her right wrist. It was a bright red, lighter her than her lips, and he thought he saw a dark spot soaking through from her inner wrist below her palm. "Barry," she said, the voice on the wind made flesh. "I'm so cold," she told him, but he just stood there. She walked toward him, her feet occasionally peeking out with each step, and he failed to notice the damp redness there as well as from the tattered end of the ribbon that dragged along the floor leaving faint streaks across the wood. Inches before him now, she stopped. Without taking her eyes from his, she reached down and took his left hand into both of hers and placed his bloodied palm on her cheek. "See?" she told him. "So very cold." She nuzzled into his hand, her eyes closing as if she enjoyed the sensation. When she opened her eyes again, they stared right back into his. "Help me," she said. "Warm me."
"How?" he asked simply.
A grin slowly spread across her lips as she turned toward his wrist, open her mouth, and pierced the skin there with her teeth.
Later my lovelies.
*Note: Originally I read the question as rain and not snow. Then almost done with the story, I had to revise it when I realized it was snow. I already had red/rain pics picked for the originally story, but only came up with a few with snow that I liked. And the one above won out. The end was going to be different... if it was rain... but snow changed the story just a bit. -Rae