The Lady in the Snow
“Well, well Mr. Nemo. A man without a place to hold him.”
Nemo shivered, not with cold or fear but with foresight. He looked at the woman that had spoken, dragging blonde hairs from his eyes. He studied her as he studied everyone he had ever seen. Nemo was the man in the corner, on the bench, quietly sitting in the subway watching, taking notes on humanity and its quirks. But today he hadn’t been watching, not enough anyway. He’d beeen thinking, walking around the park for the last two hours trying to understand something he had seen the day before. Then the snow waif had approached him and so he ended up observing something after all. The woman was tall, not Amazon tall but willowy and frail like a very tall twig wrapped in a red coat. She was so pale her face nearly faded into the snow but her blue eyes were bright, an almost neon blue so she appeared to be a branch with floating eyes and nothing else. The woman was scary; there was no way around that. She didn’t look like she had ever belonged in the world of man. Jeremy did not like the fact that she had picked him from the crowd to approach, it gave him a feeling of disappear and he didn’t understand why. Nemo was not used to not understanding something. He had been understanding things, even before they had occurred, since he was a boy and then yesterday he had come across a thing he had no idea how to understand and now this frail creature from the snow met him with a look so chilling Nemo thought he might never warm up again.
“I think you know who I am.” She did not ask but said the words as though she found it odd he had not recognized her yet.
Nemo looked at her and knew she was right, he remembered her. Not from the world of daylight and realness but from the nightmares he had had as a very young child. It had been years, but he still remembered them. Once or twice a week until he was five Nemo had dreamt of horrifying things and the woman, the frail and sickening woman in front of him had always been there. Sometimes watching him, sometimes helping him out of danger but always there in the corner of the wilderness or at the back of a dimly lit room. Her presence had been felt all his life. Jeremy’s first encounter with a woman was, in truth, because he thought she looked greatly like the beautiful creature from his dreams. The frail lady in the snow looked at Mr. Nemo and smiled. Most smiles are comforting, but hers was a smile of pity and rinched Nemo’s stomach, his eyes watered, he felt sick.
“You know the truth is I’ve been waiting for you. I had greatly hopped you would be ready sooner but now is fine too. Your hair’s darker than as a boy.” The lady said, reaching her hand out to touch him.
“I never believed you were real.” Nemo whispered.
“We both know that’s not true. You have been waiting for me too. Hopping I’d be as beautiful as in the dreams?” she smiled again, only this time her smile made Nemo feel warm, like he had been dipped into warm gelatin.
“As terrifying you mean.” Mr. Nemo said, instantly regretting his words as the snowy waif’s face fell in sorrow.
“No. I was always there. I protected you from the edge of worlds you could not understand, too young to see the places between.” The woman began to shimmer, warmth coming off her and melting the snow beneath her. That was when Nemo realized the creature was not touching the snow. Nemo began to back up, readying his feet to run.
“Don’t.” The woman actually looked frightened, whether for Jeremy or something else he didn’t know. “I have come for you. Leaving now will not change the fact of what you see. They see you, we all see you Jeremy.”
Nemo ran, he ran for his life and for the things he had witnessed, faces that couldn’t be and voices no else ever heard. Five frail fingers grabbed Nemo’s arm and pulled him into the waif’s warm, hard body. A feeling of rushing air and great brightness engulfed his senses until his mind fell into a blackness nothing could emerge from.
“I am sorry, it is a hard transition for everyone.” The voice belonged to the frail lady’s lips but Nemo could not feel or see her.
Slowly his world returned. The creature’s skin now glowed a familiar deep and dark blue. Her deep purple hair was whipping in an unfelt wind. Nemo looked around, for the second time in the last 24 hours not understanding what he saw. The walls were white. Not a dual painted white but a pulsing glow of pure white that made his eyes hurt.
“Keep your eyes closed for a little. You will adjust.” The blue woman said smiling, her warmth emanating from her mouth.
Nemo could not speak, he tried but nothing he said was intelligible, he sounded like an infant cooing. He lay on the blue lap and sank back into the gulf between life and this place. Nemo dreamt, dreams he had not had since his boyhood. Terrible things and beautiful places, people with faces he did recozie. Nightmares swelled into dreams of such loveliness he nearly wept. The loneliness Nemo had felt with every breath was gone. But just as comfort engulfed him the swells turned and he would fall into battlefields not yet made bloody. He screamed and felt a hand wrap around his waist, the lady pulled him and he awoke.
“Is he awake?” a voice asked.
“I had to take him too quickly, he’ll have to shift a bit more to understand us.” The blue creature said.
Nemo awoke shivering and tried to look around. The world seemed thin, like gauze layered between air and flesh. He could see pieces of things, worlds and people and he could hear voices from conversations. The lady came to him, her coat had changed, it was now a dark velvety shift clinging to her frame.
“Can you speak?” She asked.
“Am I dead?” Nemo asked her, his head beginning to feel like a smashed window.
“Yes and no. Did I kill you? No. Are you with the living? Not completely.” She said, the smile tempered with so much pity was back. Nemo felt sick and cold, the loneliness creeping back in as Jeremy realized the waif's eyes seemd bigger now than in the snow. Not like a bug’s but too big for a human’s.
She looked at Nemo, her eyes watery and bright, almost glowing now like the walls around him.
“No,I’m not. I was and I wil be but I am not currently human. Let me tell you a little story while you look around” the woman from him deepest dreams said, answering many more questins than Jeremy thought he had ever had with a simple tilt of her head.
The world had built man up before and he has fallen. The goal is not so much to raise on earth but to raise above. Many, many years before your, can I call them spiritual guides? Came onto the earth there was a nation built across the globe, greater than anything you have now, for now. It fell, as all things must. But from the remnants your great humanity was born. It was only as you reached closer and closer to what they had once been that more from our place came, more than is usual for man’s, and I say this with much more love than you can understand, place in evolution deserved. This has casued too many senstives to hurt, you can’t just be born into any world with your eyes this open. Blindness is kind to most who choose earth. You've deviated from your path, we agreed you would go and learn but something happened and you hardened. Here.
The frail lady touched Jeremy and that was when he remembered; Nemo, he who had been taken from the snow and brought to a world he both recognized too clearly and did not know remembered who he was. The Man in the trench-coat awoke in the snow, realizing only seconds had passed. It would take twenty years for him to understand what he saw as she touched him.