An Inevitable Cold
Author’s note: As a writer of speculative fiction, I often stray into the nighttime worlds of creatures some would refer to as subjects of horror. Sometimes this is true, but not often. The one classic example of this is the vampire to whom I feel a sleepless affinity. I write often of them in one form or another, and they are the inhabitants of my main body of work The Eternals, the newly released Hunter Hunted, and the final book of The Eternal Series to be released early/mid 2017 Into Eternity. I feel for what they have lost and all that they will never have. I sympathise and commiserate. I hope the following short piece of writing might give my readers a little taste of just why this is.
Thank you for reading
Richard M. Ankers, author of The Eternals Series.
There is a difference between feeling cold and being cold. Feeling cold refers to chapped lips on a winter’s day, sopping wet feet caused by too cheap shoes, or even falling through ice in your best woollen jumper and jeans. Having sampled all three, I can vouch for the unpleasant results of each to one degree or another. None of the aforementioned miscalculations, however, can prepare one for what real cold means, what being cold entails.
Being cold is a state of life, so to speak, for myself. I exist in permanent Antarctic conditions. My skin is cold to the touch, freezing even. To touch me is to recoil in shock like sticking one’s fingers in an electrical socket. But I am cold within as well as without. My blood does not circulate in soothing currents of crimson warmth, but instead churns in sluggish motion like sea ice reclaiming summer losses crystalline inch by crystalline inch rather than in liquid miles. I am cold, it is as simple as that.
When I wake from slumber, I stretch, creak, fracture along wrinkles and crevasse along scars until snapped to attention I pull myself back together. The whole thing takes effort, much effort, and I tire of it if truth be told. As I step from my bed in hushed rigidity, I strive to remember what it is to move in natural motion and bit by tiny bit recover myself. I say recover, for I lose myself for eternities at a time. They are but the blinking of an eye to you, but to me far more. Even one as cold as I does not wish to sample the absolute zero of infinity. Not yet. Not until I’m ready to go, anyway.
There are benefits to a half-life of cold seconds and freezing hours: the joy that comes from fractional warming. I say fractional because it never lasts. In fact, it lasts for shorter periods after each individual warming. A blast of metallic heat will perforate my entire being, infuse me, then rush away like a river in flood to be replaced by an inevitable cold. I say inevitable because it is, and that saddens me.
I often sadden. Just thinking about how often I sadden saddens me further and proliferates a never ending circle of morbidity. I do not wish to be morbid; icicle tears hurt when they fall.
I haven’t always been sad, not in my past, not at all. I was a happy man with a happy life living in smiles and married to a happy wife. I like saying this because it has a singsong melody that I now lack. I have forgotten what music feels like though I still love to listen.
When I hunt as bat or wolf or fog or just boring old me, I try to imagine the sun beating down upon my back as it did in that wonderful summer of twenty-nine. Eighteen hundred and twenty-nine if you were there too, though I doubt it. Saffron was the colour of the season, gold its twin, and all burnt in an involuntary happiness that lasted until the inevitable redress that nature brings. I await my redress. I await it with a practised smile that always feels like a sneer.
One pretty young thing once said I sneered even when she acquiesced to my wishes. It did not feel like it but neither does it now. I stare into a small porthole window hoping to see my reflection smile back; there is no reflection to behold. I am reflection-less. I am nothing. Yet still, I flip open the window; it revolves like a lifted latch and I glide into the room it protects. I feel warmth from the person in the bed. It won’t last for long.
Forgive me this ramble — I am cold and just wish to be warm.