winter

They say that if you find yourself outside as the sun rises on the morning of the first snow, you should stand still, for you can hear the wings of the frost fae as they fly over the ground, leaving in their wake the frozen blanket that covers the land. They say that, in the event that you see one of these creatures, it will grant you a single wish—you can wish for anything you might desire in the world: love, money, fame, anything.
Eugenie Harker found herself outside on such a morning, steam rising from her cup of tea, her shoulders wrapped tight in a thick sweater. She stood on her porch, the soft flakes of snow falling through the trees, their dance mesmerising as she took a sip of her drink.
photo: brigitte tohm
She had heard the folk tale of the frost fae, but had no idea what the creatures would look like, were they real in the first place. Eugenie considered this as she took a step forward, crunching through the snow that had already settled on the steps, and turned her head to up to see the snow swirling from the sky. She left her small yard, surrounded by a wood post fence that her father had built in her childhood, and entered the copse to the south of the house.
The path she followed would lead her to a small pond on the other side of the trees, where she had often been fishing with her older brother in the summer. She assumed the water would be frozen over, but as she neared the edge of the woods and saw the bare bank of the pond, Eugenie found the water closest to the embankment unfrozen.
She stepped up to the edge and bent her knees, resting on the balls of her feet as she watched the water move as the snowflakes landed on its surface. It was in that moment, as a single flake connected with the water right at the jagged edge of the ice, that Eugenie saw the frost fae. It was not a creature, it was not person—she watched as a thin film of ice formed on the surface, spreading out from where the flake had landed.
‘I wish for true love.’ She whispered into the silent early morning. She admitted to herself that it was silly to believe in the folk tale, but she held onto her wish as she watched the rest of the water submit to cold and come to a rest on the same thin film of ice. When she was satisfied that the frost fae had heard her wish, Eugenie straightened her legs and turned away from the pond. Her tea was cold, and her fingers were stiff from holding the cup; she wound her way back through the copse to her front door and, for just a moment, considered the possibility that the frost fae would grant her wish.  

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