SnowLevi Garcia / Fantasy / Horror
By Levi Garcia
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead (especially dead), is purely coincidental.
It started raining a little after noon. Not a heavy rain, but a light sprinkle. The temperature was expected to drop below freezing that night, so it seemed like chances for snow were high. If you’ve never been to Texas, you should be aware that the weather is crazy. It can drop into the thirties at night and the next day everyone will have their air conditioning on. Plenty of Christmases here have been spent in shorts.
However, snow rarely makes its way into the southernmost parts of the state, so it’s a big deal when it happens. It occurs every few years, but it’s typically a light dusting and generally disappointing to anyone used to heavy snowfalls. The last time it happened, my family spent much of the day looking for our cat who we worried would freeze to death. We called off the search when it got too dark and hoped that he had managed to find a warm safe place to sit out the night. In the morning, we found him stretched out on the living room floor taking a nap. Where he’d been hiding the previous day was a mystery, but we were glad he was home safe.
My grandfather had recently moved in with us. He’d been living on his own until about a year ago when he was found lying on the side of the road with a broken hip. He had been going to physical therapy, but was still unable to stand for very long on his own. Due to an aunt’s unexpected illness, my parents were leaving town for a few days to see her in the hospital. Rather than having to move my grandfather or pay someone, my parents elected me to stay home and take care of him for the weekend. Aside from the broken hip, my grandfather was in really good health. He was still spry and his mind was sharp, so it wasn’t expected that he would need much beyond fixing his food.
I had made it home from school a little later than usual to find my parents already pulling out of the driveway. My dad handed me $20 out the car window and they were on their way. When I got inside, my grandfather called out from the living room, “Chris, is that you?”
“It’s me grandpa,” I replied.
“For a moment I thought it was your dad coming back because he forgot something. He’s always been the forgetful type.”
That was true, my dad was rather forgetful. He’d actually forgotten to pick me up from school on numerous occasions when I was younger; before my parents would let me ride the bus on my own.
“Looks like snow tonight,” my grandfather said. He was sitting in a recliner in front of the living room window with the curtains wide open. Occasional specks of rain were hitting the glass. The warmth from inside would cause it to condense and, along with my grandfather’s breath, would fog up the window which he kept wiping clear with his sleeve.
“Grandpa, can you eat pizza?”
“Oh, I shouldn’t, but I do love the stuff. If you get one just don’t tell your mom. She frets over everything I eat. She’s made me some things to eat and left them in the fridge, but we’ll just give that to the cat and I’ll tell her it was delicious.”
I ordered the pizza and put my jacket back on. We actually lived somewhat outside of town. There were lots of other houses in the neighborhood, but they were spread out as everyone had larger lots than what came with the homes in town. You’d have to walk down our long driveway then about half a mile up the street to get to the next house.
Unfortunately, these distances also made it a hassle to get a pizza. There was only one pizza place that I could order from since we were a little out of their normal delivery area, but they knew that a lot of people still lived out here, so they offered a compromise. They would only deliver to the end of the main road where someone would have to meet them.
On my way out the door, I noticed my grandfather was still in front of the window, but now he was pressing his face against the glass, “Grandpa, what are you doing?”
“Oh, just looking outside.”
“That’s a weird way to do it, but ok. Well, I ordered a pizza, but I have to walk to the end of the street to get it. Will you be ok for a bit?”
“Ummm…yeah, I’ll be fine. Just be very careful. It looks like it’s picking up out there.” He turned back to the window and assumed his strange viewing position.
“Old people are weird,” I told myself as I opened the door. Outside, it had indeed picked up. I had only been home for about thirty minutes, but the sky had already grown darker and the temperature had dropped considerably. As soon as I took my first step onto the street, I saw the first snowflake fall in front of me. I stopped and watched it drift slowly downward, hit the ground, and dissolve away into the pavement.
Within a few moments, the air was full of falling flakes. Luckily, our house was the second one on the street, so I only had to walk about half a mile to get to the main road where I was to meet the delivery guy. I sat at the school bus stop to wait him out. It wasn’t really much of a bus stop. It was just a few boards over some cinder blocks that one of our neighbors had hastily nailed together to provide a bit of covering for their kids to wait for the school bus.
I was thankful for at least this much. No sooner had I sat down that it seemed like the sky opened up and dropped its remaining cache of snow. I huddled into the corner of the makeshift covering. I looked down the street and could see the headlights of a vehicle that had stopped on the side of the road. No doubt it was because whoever was driving was not used to driving in the snow and was completely taken by surprise by what was now pouring down. The snow was accompanied by a terrible shriek. I had seen snow before, but didn’t recall any wind or conditions that would cause that. The snow was now collecting on the ground at a rapid pace. I looked back down the street, but the amount of falling snow was now so great that I could no longer see the headlights of the oncoming vehicle.
It felt like a lifetime, but in all honesty, this whole ordeal only lasted about five minutes. I stepped up on the cinder blocks and pressed my body into the narrow corner of the shelter to cover myself from the freezing wind. The jacket I was wearing wasn’t that heavy as this type of weather isn’t typical in Texas. Wearing or even just owning something heavier would be considered ridiculous. Unfortunately for me now, the cold felt like it was creeping right through the thin jacket and set my body to shivering.
The terrible shrieking sound gradually lessened and then the snow abruptly stopped as if someone had turned the knob on a faucet in the sky. I looked down the street to see the sign for the pizza place on top of the car which was stopped only about fifty feet away.
Stepping off the cinder blocks, I found that the ground was now covered with at least a foot of snow. I made my way over to the car as I wasn’t about to not have pizza after standing through a snow storm. The pizza guy was kicking snow out from in front of his car when I walked up.
“Where the hell did all that come from?” he asked without really expecting an answer. “That just came out of nowhere. I thought I was gonna die for a moment there. Did you hear that screeching sound? It sounded like someone set a baboon on fire.” He pulled a magazine out of his car and used it to brush the snow off of his windshield. “Is this pizza for you?”
“Yeah, I wouldn’t have ordered if I knew this was gonna happen.” I replied as I pulled the twenty dollar bill from my pocket and handed it to him. He pulled the bag from the back of his car and handed me the pizza. “You can keep the change.”
“Do you need to use a phone or something?”
“No, I got one, but thanks. I’ll be fine. Don’t imagine this stuff is gonna stick around too long. I got another pizza in here if I get hungry. Maybe I’ll make a snowman while I’m waiting.” He smiled as I turned to walk home.
The walk back was a bit of a struggle. I wasn’t used to doing this and the shoes I was wearing weren’t really the best for it. They did little to stop the cold and I could feel the moisture seeping through. As I neared the driveway, I could see that someone had set up four snowmen of various sizes along the road. It hadn’t been that long since the snow stopped, so I was surprised that someone had time to make four of them so quickly. It looked like they were formed from a mix of snow and mud, but mostly mud. Bits of leaves and twigs were also mixed into the body. Limestone rocks were set unevenly on their faces for eyes. The smallest snowman’s eyes had fallen out as two stones were lying on the ground in front of it. The largest was the only one that had a hat. Of all things, it was wearing a Frosty the Snowman type top hat. This made me laugh to myself. However, the strangest thing about all of them was that their arms were made of barbed wire.
I walked on past and up the driveway toward the house. The snow had fallen just as hard here as down by the bus stop. I kicked the snow away from the door and reached for the handle to find