Frankenstein of Snow

Frankenstein of Snow

by James Phillimore

“Compliments of the season!” the snowman cried out.

“WAH!” little Arthur screamed.

The snowman’s branch arm took the long-stemmed pipe from his mouth and looked at it curiously.

“I seem to have some very self-destructive habits,” the snowman observed.

Arthur said nothing. He should never have put that ear-flapped cap on his creation. Giving it a hat somehow gave it a brain. Arthur wondered if he could snatch the cap off its head before one of the stick-arms grabbed him.

“Too late for that, my dear Arthur,” the snowman said, and reached up to tip his cap to the boy.

“You read my thoughts,” the young Scotsman murmured.

“Not at all,” the snowman replied. “Your eyes went to my hat, your right hand twitched in the beginnings of a grab. No magic mind-reading involved.”

“It would seem some sort of fairy magic that you have a mind at all,” Arthur said. “Are you a snow pixie of some sort?”

“I don’t believe so. I think you have a special skill,” the snowman told him. “It’s a thesis worth testing. Do you think you could do it a second time?”

The idea was both horrifying and intriguing.

“I suppose I have to try,” Arthur said, and started rolling another snowball. When it was the appropriate size, he started a second. And then the third. He had to go into the house to get another hat, a bowler this time. Arthur was certain that when he came outside again, the newly animated creature would be back to being a normal snowman. No such luck.

“I like that hat,” the snowman observed. “It’s a doctor’s hat, and shows signs of a slight infirmity. A wound I should think, from some past conflict.”

Arthur felt the hat tingle in his hand. He carefully placed it atop the topmost snowball of his second snowman.

“You’re a wizard!” the second snowman cried out.

Arthur considered his second creation, less shocked this time.

“Am I?” he questioned. “Maybe I am.”

His first thought was to create a third, but then realized he had to fully deal with the implications of what he had done so far. Now that he had two living snowmen, he had to have some way of telling them apart.”

“Your name is Ormond Sacker,” he told the bowler-hat snowman. “And you are . . . um . . . Sherrinford Holmes.”

“Seems serviceable enough,” Sherrinford Holmes admitted, nodding his approval.

“You didn’t get ‘Ormond Sacker,’ my friend,” Ormond Sacker stated, his coal moustache wriggling in thought. “Why did you give your Eve a moustache?”

It took Arthur a moment to understand what Sacker just said.

“You’re not Adam and Eve,” Arthur said. “I do not think you can reproduce.”

“What do we do then?” Sacker asked, plainly the randiest of the two snowmen.

“You help Holmes.”

“Help Holmes do what?”

Arthur looked about for an answer. His eyes landed upon the empty villa across the road.

“You solve the murder of the man killed in that house!” Arthur burst out.

“A man was murdered in that house?” Sherrinford Holmes asked.

Arthur was never sure what happened to the old fellow that lived there, but sending his snowmen to investigate seemed like a good way to find out. The old man could have been murdered. Arthur didn’t know.

“The game is afoot!” Sherrinford Holmes exclaimed, and started to waddle toward the neighboring house. “Come, Sacker, come! You’re needed!”

“Right behind you, Holmes!” Sacker said and followed along.

Arthur trailed behind, curious as to what his creations might find.

The door to the old house was open, and it felt good to be inside and out of the weather once more.

“Where do you think the body is?” the deerstalkered snowman asked.

“Upstairs in the bedroom, I would think,” Arthur guessed.

“Then upstairs we go.”

As he followed the two snowmen up the stairs, Arthur noticed a clue of his own: The steps were very wet.

“I think this room belongs to a Miss Rachel,” Ormond Sacker said, looking in what seemed to be a girl’s bedroom, where a child had apparently scrawled the letters “R-A-C-H-E” on the wall in crayon.

“Rache is the German word for revenge,” Sherrinford Holmes observed. “There is already ill intent in this house. I think our trail is getting warmer!”

Arthur looked at the floor. Puddles. Large puddles.

Sherrinford Holmes had found a bookshelf and was puzzling over the books that remained there.

“Boccaccio’s Decameron and The Book of Mormon. A very curious mix of philosophies going on here.”

Sacker picked up the copy of Decameron and started to read, quickly becoming fascinated by the contents. “I think I should try my hand at writing,” he said.

“I suspect we will need a cab,” Holmes said, his voice sounding weaker. He was much smaller than when they had entered the house.

“Yes, we probably need to leave,” Arthur said.

Holmes had found a small container of pills on a bedside table.

“Do you have a dog we could test these on?”

Arthur thought of his own elderly dog, Macassar, who mostly stayed by the hearth back at home these days.

“Perhaps we should investigate things here a little further,” the boy said.

The snowman Sherrinford turned abruptly to start at Arthur with his coal black eyes.

“You’ve decided to end us, haven’t you?” Holmes accused his creator. “Someone has kept the furnace in this house stoked, probably the real estate agent planning a visit later today. I doubt Sacker or I can make it back out the front door at the rate we’re melting.”

“You are a criminal mastermind,” Sacker accused. “A spider who has lured us into his web!”

“No!” Arthur protested. “This isn’t my fault! I wanted you to be historical figures so I could play out the Hundred Years War in the yard!”

“Let’s see if we can make it to the terrace, Sacker. It might be cold enough there to save us.”

But it was plainly too late. Their ability to waddle was limited to mere inches by this point, and they were dissolving quickly. The real estate agent was not going to appreciate such large pools of water in a house he was marketing.

“We’ll be back again some day, Sacker,” Sherrinford Holmes called to his companion as he disappeared into a veritable caudron’s worth of water now pooled on the floor. “We’ll be back again some day!”

“I have faith in you, Holmes . . .” Sacker burbled, and then all was silent.

Young Arthur went home and found his dog at the fireside, petting the old fellow with as much love as he could muster. “You’re not any snowman’s test subject,” he assured the dog.

And Arthur never made a snowman again.