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The Ice Maiden

posted Aug 8, 2014, 12:10 AM by Madhuri Sen   [ updated Aug 2, 2017, 11:01 AM ]

She stared deep into the heart of the fire that was burning down the forest in the distance. The snow fell all around her. Her heart had turned to ice. It was only the imagined warmth of the fire far away that kept her alive. Tears streaked her face, turning into icicles that glistened on her cheeks like little diamond drops. She put her frozen blue hands up to her cheeks to see if she could warm them, but to no avail.

She tried to imagine how it may have been to burn with the forest, with the crackling dry leaves, the tinder from the trees, possibly even the birds that had not been able to fly off and rabbits that got roasted in their holes. She shivered at the thought. It felt gruesome. She wondered if it was the cold that made her shiver or the idea of what was burning down with the forest.

She wanted to feel colder. She wondered if she shut her eyes and didn’t see the forest fire if she would finally be able to die. She had earlier huddled by the fireplace and come away from it because much as it tried, it could do nothing to take away the numbness. The comforting fire of the hearth could not thaw her frozen heart or get blood back into her blue hands. She had stared at the fireplace accusingly, wishing the frozen lump inside her that used to be her heart to melt. Streaks of pain shot through her as the night grew colder still.

A wide frozen lake stretched across between her and the forest fire. She started to walk towards it. With no shoes on, the cold quickly further numbed her feet and toes. With heavy steps she dragged on. It was only the forest fire that could save her. She could feel the ice thinning under her as she got closer to the forest, but she pulled on. The ice cracked one step after another and then it broke. She shut her eyes and sank smoothly into the icy water. There were a million lights behind her tightly shut eyelids and she could remember another life; a life in which there had been springtime, grass, flowers and a heart with blood pumping through. The sun had shone so bright then - even the moon and the stars would warm her at night.

The forest could see her sinking into the lake and wanted to burn faster to get to her before she froze altogether. But the wood was damp from the snow and was slow to burn. The water had now gone over her head and the night was getting colder still. The ice began to form a thick layer above and she felt the freeze creep all over her till she was one with the ice - peaceful.

It was only just before dawn that the forest could reach her. His burning bushes however could only melt the water. She seemed to have turned to un-melting ice. He hovered around her to see if she would open her eyes, but to vain. He looked at her longingly as she lay in her watery grave one last time – his ice maiden; then turned around to face his world that had once been lush and green and now lay around in ashes.

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