Cold and Calculating ACFW Finalist (2015)
Robin Densmore Fuson
Cold and Calculating
Most think I’m dead but they’d be wrong. I’m alive, moving, growing, yet sometimes shrinking and losing part of myself. My aim is complete dominance. Power. I possess complete power over him. I stretch and spread my crackling beauty, penetrating every crevice of his life.
The light is what I fear most. It and only it can bring me devastation. Light brings warmth and my being cringes and moans in its presence. I feast and rejuvenate in darkness especially while the wind blows across my body. That’s when I’m most alive!
Today, I’m spreading my icy fingers over his eyelashes. I move slowly so he is unaware of my progress. Stealth is my ambition. I grow gradually without his knowledge. In his way, I conquer him.
My movements are sluggish and unobserved as I cover his sightless eyes. He is still. No breath comes and his heart has stopped. I won. A calm pervades me as I realize his struggle is over. To make sure, I thicken my hold. Every second I increase in strength.
My life is lonely. Only two do I call friends—wind and dark. I cling to them to stay alive.
Then a finger of light flicks over the horizon. No! The light stunts my growth and my grasp on him. The sun is raising its ugly bright head. If only I can hold out until the dark. I must lie as still as possible.
Clouds! Clouds are the answer. I wish for thick beautiful ones to block the sun.
The clouds breeze in and cover the orb. A whipping of air shivers delightfully over my body. The wind blasts cold and soon snow follows.
Snow. I love the snow. She blankets me in chilling delight. I increase in strength. I am elated. I won another round with the sun today. How many more? I need to go on!
The night came and brought with it its freezing tranquility. Not even a moon. The blackness seeps in my being. I’m almost giddy with pleasure. I have accomplished my goal of encapsulating my prey and have also conquered another day. But—what is this? The darkness is waning. Too soon! The nights grow shorter—I can sense it. Too soon!
The sun reaches high in the sky. Its gruesome display spreads its warmth and touches my body. I shrivel. The time is slipping away. A short time now. Oh, if only…
The night was long in coming and it didn’t heal me like it normally does. Already another heart breaking day full of the sun’s rays. Another and another. Day after dreadful day. They bake me and I slide farther away.
Oh no! He twitched. His tremor was unmistakable. Breath. The dreaded breathing began. That was a heartbeat. It can’t be! Alas, it has begun.
He will survive and I will not. I am weak. The sun is doing its hideous job of breathing life into the world and sucking it out of me. I’m melting quickly.
He moved! Not long now. He blinks and a dry tongue licks my precious body. A part of me slides down his throat. I’m dispersing. I drip away into nothingness until next year, for I am the ice that covers the Alaskan wood frog while he hibernates.