Crystal Desolation

 /   /  By Emma Birches
Stone Soup Magazine
November/December 2002

By Andrew Fine, Illustrated by Jackson Harris

My hand felt like ice against the cold, hard metal doorknob on this hostile, windy crisp day. As I opened the door, I was greeted by a cold gust of wind that stung my face like a thousand bee stings. This cold does not bother me, but instead provides me with a queer comfort. I cannot explain this, just like you can’t explain how the universe came to be. As I took another long step outside, wind pounded upon my jacket, sending cold ripples through it like ocean waves. Shivering, I smiled. I knew that I was basically alone in the town, that all the other people were hiding in the houses. This gave me comfort, knowing that I had the streets to myself, and the only one I had to share them with was the wind. Wind continued to stampede towards me, tackling me backwards like an angry dog protecting his bone. It was as if he wanted the streets all to himself as well.

My shoes made a crunching sound against the damp grass like a sponge. Dead leaves swirled around me, pushed by cruel gusts of wind in a tornado-like dance that broke the sudden silence. The icy wind howled and roared at me as I pushed onward into this dead world slowly and carefully. The wind was the only thing making noise besides the dark, large crows squawking, as if pleading for help, in the air beside the gray clouds.

Crystal Desolation houses

Not a soul could be seen outside on a cold, rainy day like this one

As I scanned my desolate surroundings, which this morning had been my warm, sunny street, bare trees loomed over me like dark, misty mountains; cold, menacing. The edges of the trees appeared blurry, but smooth and wide. These trees made large shadows on the bare street, making the gloomy scene look even gloomier.

Suddenly, I felt terribly alone and tiny in the world; not a soul could be seen outside on a cold, rainy day like this one. Puddles began to form as rain pounded upon my hood, which was knocked over by the unexpected gusts of wind. I risked a glance upwards at the dark clouds, but expanding tree branches blocked my view far above me. The dead branches looked like mysterious hands stretching on forever as if pleading for help upon the angry sky.

Pearls of rain trickled down my cheek and danced down my shirt, tickling me while making me shiver. The rain came down harder, harder until it splattered upon the empty streets that loomed around me. The dim sun played hide-and-seek behind the clouds, darkening and lightening the scene unexpectedly. The leaves no longer danced; they flew around frantically while chased by the angry, howling wind. My face stung and seemed to be splitting open by the cold. I stuffed my hands in my warm pockets, but rain continued to splatter upon them. Lightning flashed, lighting up the scene for an instant, but then the world became dark again. The rain continued to shoot downward, making me have to blink constantly to prevent my eyes from becoming soaked.

Deciding that I had fought the cold enough, I gave up and retreated inside my warm, safe, cozy home, leaving the wind to own the streets as I had. Wind chased me there, but I did not let it inside by closing the door firmly. I smiled, but I didn’t know why. It’s just one of those things that you can’t explain. Just like desolation.

Crystal Desolation Andrew Fine

Andrew Fine, 11
Ridgewood, New Jersey

Crystal Desolation Jackson Harris

Jackson Harris, 11
Tampa, Florida

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