Thundersnow

Not this past Sunday, but the Sunday before, it snowed where I live. Out of nowhere, two long peels of thunder shook the entire county area. Never in my memory do I recall it ever thundering while it snowed. I just assumed that was the Midwest for you. A couple days later, I learned the phenomenon was called “thundersnow.” All I could think of was how cool of a character name that sounded. Hence, my debut character profile for a woman named Thundersnow:

Two storms rolled into one. One of thunder, one of snow. One woman with a split personality. One of love, one of hate. A single being where opposites collide. A single being where darkness hides. But not everything is as it seems. Whether she’s being nice or mean.

Thunderstorms usually come in summer, when everything is yellow, hot, and noisy as people spend too much time in the sun. Snowstorms typically come in winter, when everything is white, cool, and quiet as snow blankets the ground. Lightning can be fierce, electric. Lightning can be death. Snow can be soft, tender. Snow can be pure.

However, her harshness does not come from violent summer nights, just as her gentleness doesn’t come from cuddly winter days. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. If that’s how the personalities decide themselves at that given time.

Not much is known on where she comes from. No one can say where she goes. She’s as free as any storm, moving where she pleases. Harassing or helping those she sees fit. She’s a hero and a villain, a savior and a destroyer. Her presence welcomed and shunned in the same places.

Such is the conundrum of Thundersnow.

 

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Aurora Borealis

I dared not look up, instead keeping my gaze down. Snow crunched under my boots as my headlamp revealed my short puffs of breath. If I accomplished one thing in my mundane life, it would be climbing this mountain. The wind whipped against me. Making me pause until it died down. I hated this stopping and starting. My muscles burned and were frozen at the same time. This was by far my most painful experience. But it would be worth it. Once I reached the summit.

A sigh of contentment escaped me as I ascended. It took me three days, but I made it. In time to see the Northern Lights. I dropped my pack. Turned off my headlamp. Ripping off my goggles, I exposed my eyes to the frigid night air. I breathed deep. This was why I sat in the same cubicle for ten years. It was this spectacle that had given me hope, given me life.

Greens, blues, even purples danced above me in silent song. Flickered in lazy waves. I held my breath as tears formed and froze. It was more magnificent than I imagined. More breathtaking than all the pictures combined. It sent me into meditative peace. My heartrate calmed. My aching muscles forgot about the trek I had made. Everything centered on the marvel I witnessed.

The colors suddenly shifted. Convulsed and swirled in an organic pattern. A tendril broke away from the rest. Floated towards me. I remained motionless until I couldn’t resist any longer. Hesitating, I reached out a gloved hand. My finger grazed the tendril. Pleasant warmth flooded me, driving away the cold. I jumped back. Not expecting to make contact.

As the tendril snaked away, the form of a woman took shape. She was made of the Northern Lights itself; her hair never left the Lights, and her feet never touched the ground. Her eyes snapped open. Revealing themselves to be twin stars. She turned her gaze upon me. Partially transparent form lambent.

I stumbled back into the snow, landing solidly on my butt. I blinked several times. Couldn’t fill my lungs with enough air. Which had been difficult to begin with in the thin atmosphere.

“Peace, warrior.” Her mellifluous voice kept time with the Lights. “I have waited 1,210 years for you.”

My gaze darted around. Me? I was no warrior. I wasn’t even a weekend warrior. Surely not me. I resided to pointing at myself.

She seemed to nod. “Yes, you. My name is Aurora Borealis.”

Knees shaking, I pushed myself to my feet. Found my voice in my dry mouth. “That’s what we call this. I mean, you, I suppose.”

“Yes. Because that is my name. I have known yours, for you are worthy. You see, I am from the past. I live in the future. Yet, I am aware of the present. I have experienced and waited for this moment for centuries.”

I rubbed my eyes. The Northern Lights had taken the form of a woman, spoke to me, and told me I was worthy? I must’ve passed out after I reached the summit. I checked over my shoulder. I wasn’t lying in the snow, so this wasn’t an out-of-body experience. My gaze returned to the ethereal woman before me. Yes, she was still there.

Her form wavered. “I am real. You will come to belief in time. You always have. However, you must understand. They have killed my brother, Aurora Australis. They seek to destroy me next. You must unravel the mystery that will rewrite history and save us, as well as humanity.”

“What,” I finally blurted. “You want me to be some sort of savior? I barely made it up this mountain. Who’s ‘they?’ How am I worthy of anything? I never even made Employee of the Month. Are you even going to answer any of my questions?”

“Everything will come to fruition. You shall see. Take one of my children as a guide.” She lowered an arm. A star descended, decreasing in size until she captured it in a lantern made of the Lights. She handed her precious child over. “I must go. My faith resides in you. You have always been brave. Do not forget my words.”

With a final pause of affirmation, she retreated back into the sky. The Northern Lights receded. Faded into nothingness. All that remained was darkness. Only for a few moments. The morning sun crept up from the east. Setting the mountains on fire with the reflecting snow.

I stood in dumbstruck silence. Too many questions for my brain to comprehend. I had only wanted to see the Northern Lights. That was the one exciting thing I wanted to do in my life. I didn’t want to be recognized for doing something great. I just wanted to see the phenomenon that had filled my dreams ever since I was a child.

Was that it, then? Had I really been chosen? I finally looked at the flickering lantern. The star twinkled with unknown secrets. My gaze returned to the scenery in front of me. What was I supposed to do?

Before I could think another thought, I was, indeed, transported to the past.

*Author’s Note: Short Story Saturday brings a somewhat short story. I tried sending this to a few online short story publications, and it got denied. I like it the way it is, so instead of changing it, I decided to publish it on my own blog. I just won’t get paid for it. Which is perfectly fine. I don’t write for payment; I write for my own enjoyment. Hopefully, others will enjoy it as well. 

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman

In celebration of seeing Wonder Woman, I decided to share this piece I drew back in 2012, during my first semester of college. It was the first project my drawing class had been assigned. The task was to draw something we felt represented ourselves, our style, and our inspiration. I chose to recreate a picture done by Jim Lee, one of my favorite DC Comics artists.

Wonder Woman has always been more than just a comic book character to me. Outside of my mom, she was the only real female figure I had. And she taught me many things. True strength comes from within, not from your muscles. No matter what size I am, I can still do anything I set my mind toward. All I need is love, compassion, and the courage to be myself. And lastly, I don’t have to be Wonder Woman to be a wonderful woman.

I won’t lie. I cried quite a bit when I saw the Wonder Woman movie. One of my childhood icons was now more than animated character or a drawing on a page. She was on a big screen in live action. She became real. That movie was everything I could have asked for and more. I was so happy to see my hero, that I couldn’t help but cry.

This is one of the things I love about books/comics/TV shows/video games/movies, etc. Usually, everyone finds their hero. That one character that stands out the most to them. The one that connects with them the most. People learn from these characters, are inspired to be their best by these characters. The list could go on.

I know there’s a difference between the real world and fantasy. I am not blind to my everyday responsibilities. But whether it’s reading a book or comic to forget myself for a little while, whether it’s playing a video game to release my frustration, whether it’s writing stories or poems to vent my feelings, fiction does help me get through this thing we call life. Just as music does. Just as chatting with family and friends does. And Wonder Woman? Well. She’s an aspect of fiction that’s helped me the most.

Woman Out of Time

Everything was black. Consciousness came slowly. As if her brain thawed out. Verrah’s ice blue eyes fluttered open. Eyelids stiff. She could hardly breathe as the pod opened its hatch. A loud hiss escaped. Her vision took time focusing through the steam. It finally cleared, and she stumbled forward. Every joint rebelling against her brain’s wishes. She could barely stand, much less hold herself above the floor.

Her arms trembled. Everything trembled. The frost covering her body slowly melted. She still couldn’t breathe. There was plenty of air, but her lungs wouldn’t fully expand. They had been used to almost no movement. She continuously coughed. Strained for the air. The thick air, damp with the released cold and underground atmosphere. Her head slightly lifted. Was she still underground? She didn’t know.

Once Verrah gained enough strength, she dragged herself to her feet. Her knees wobbled, but she managed to stay upright. Turned to face the pod she came from. What on Earth? She inspected the lines and hoses feeding from the back to the large, yellow generator at the end of a row of the pods. Frost covered the surfaces. Freezing? She returned to the control panel of her pod.

[CRYOGENIC SYSTEM MALFUNCTION. EMERGENCY RELEASE PROTOCOL ENGAGED.] was all it read. Flashed, really. Her heart raced. Cryogenic freezing? She had been frozen alive? She whirled to the pod right of hers. The control panel flashed [CRYOGENIC SYSTEM MALFUNCTION. EMERGENCY RELEASE PROTOCOL MALFUNCTION. LIFE READINGS TERMINATED.] She wiped the condensation from the pod glass. A dead body nested inside. Rushing to the next one, she checked inside. Dead. Next one. Dead. Every single one was dead.

She stood in the middle of the chamber. Arms limp by her side. Everyone was dead. She knew all these people by name. The whole town didn’t sign up for the protection from the bombs, but she still knew everyone. What happened? Why were they all gone except her? Her gaze shifted to the nearest control panel. And why did her pod open now?