• I thought I was alone; I usually am at that time of night, like most nights, walking back to my car after the end of the evening class. As is usual, I deftly waddled across the packed ice-snow of the lot, and, as it usual, I threw my pack into the awaiting ride. It then distracted me. Something bright from the prodding nighttime void around me. A starless night as I remember, though all the nights are starless nowadays, and all the days are nights, and the stars refuse to dance for fearing an angry reclusive Hades may crawl from the earth at any moment and cremate their ecstasy.

    Yet out she danced among the blackness, her pure crystalline gown following every twirl, every pirouette, and every majestic twist as it defied embrace from the deadly cold arctic void. She became all that was pure and clean and good in this world, the embodiment of those memories of mine, of warmth and comfort, of a place in time when the sun did shine.

    I felt insecure then as she danced towards me; didn’t she realize her danger? Surely she held an awareness of the frozen breath in the terrible arctic maw that surrounded her? Could she not see that her crystal gown, so thin and fragile, would provide ill protection, should the frozen jaw of death trailing her with its mad and famished grin so choose to strike?

    Oh, how I longer to reach out, to warn her of the impending doom, offer her the protection of my gloves or the warmth of my coat, anything to protect her, to give her a chance to keep dancing, dancing for me. But, I was mesmerized; I could do naught but watch as the crystal lady danced the line between this world and the next.

    And then she stopped. My heart stopped with her.

    She stared at me, and I caught myself staring back at the open void beyond. I summoned my strength, stepped forward, and reached out a hand; she smiled. Or was it a cry? Unnerved I took another step and leaned in, hastily this time, to be met with a silent scream.

    I stopped short and, repulsed, backed away; a deformed crystal beast gazed back at me, dull and lifeless. I gazed back down at the already freezing drop of water, now like so many other uniform droplets I’ve seen around the world. With a shrug and a piteous sigh, I started my car and drove away.