Painting by Ostrov
Story By Kira Moore
It was a cold and blustery night, the kind which caries the fore runners of Winter upon its back. Looking out the window Bella could see the harvest moon, full and orange in a cloudless sky. She had lived through many such October nights, why then did this one bring a feeling of foreboding?
She thought for a moment to step outside then decided against it. In here it was warm while outside she knew the temperatures were slowly falling. There was a frost warning for the home gardeners. Yet there was another, more important reason to stay indoors, or specifically inside her own doors. In here she was at the center of her power, surrounded by wards and guards. It wasn’t a perfect defense, but she stood a better chance right here than anywhere else in this world.
Returning to the kitchen, Bella glanced at the refrigerator. It was shut tight and she knew the portal was sealed, yet it remained a weak point in her defenses, this connection with the Winter realm. She began to move toward the sink when something made her turn and place her hand on the freezer door.
It vibrated against her touch.
A frown creased her brow and she whispered a few words, satisfied when a new layer of blue warding began to settle against the cold, white metal.
The house was silent except for the gusty growls of the wind and the hiss if dry leaves brushing against one another. Bella sat in at the kitchen table, tea cup turning cold in her hands, as she tried to block out the the growing sense of discordance which filled the air with an electrical buzz. She had checked and rechecked all of the castings, like a spider checking her web. Everything remained tight and secure yet her nerves refused to be soothed. It was enough to keep sleep a distant dream.
The only warning she received was a sudden tug as one of her wards was ripped away, gasping at the unexpected sting she whipped around in her chair to stare at the freezer door which now stood wide open, ice cold air seeping into the room as a seething wave of vapor. She reflexively cast out a holding spell, hoping to gain enough time for her defenses to kick in.
Vapor seemed to explode from the dark entire of the gaping freezer, filling the room with a heavy, frost laden haze. It took several moments and a breath held too long for her sight to clear enough to see what had come through the portal.
It took a moment for her mind to decipher what here eyes were seeing. Standing there mumbling some very unbecoming human curses, stood an elf with a pumpkin resting on his shoulders where his head should be. She watched as his two, small arms reached up and slowly lifted the squash clear of his anger filled eyes, one of which was covered, along with his hair and most of his face with pumpkin guts.
He looked down at her where she lay on the floor laughing so hard she had tears streaming from her eyes and she had to gasp for breath.
“I fail to see the humor in this situation.” He said with as much dignity as he could muster… until a large glob slid down his nose and hit the tile floor with a ’PLOP.’