SNOWPARENT • by Dominik J. Parisien

Vicky’s parents were screaming, again, their heavy and hot words keeping even the cold January chill at bay from their ill-heated little house where winter crept in through tiny cracks in windows and walls.

Vicky wanted none of it, so she ran out the house barefoot into the surrounding fields of whiter than white snow.

She ran and ran and ran and, when her feet were cold and numb, her light hair dark, damp and heavy, and her tears long, frozen streaks on her red, red cheeks, Vicky sat down in the snow and started to make a snowparent. Not quite a father or a mother, but more than either and somehow less than the thought of both.

When Vicky’s hands too were numb and cold and pale blue like her feet, she sat down and examined the snowparent. It was small, barely any taller than she was, but that was a good height for it, Vicky decided. The snowparent looked imposing, but not threatening.

Then, Vicky got up, pressed her arms around the snowparent, and laid her right cheek bare on its perfectly round chest. The snowparent was cold, so cold. Its touch soothed the burning red flush in Vicky’s cheek where the imprint of a large hand could still be seen. It soothed the hurt that ran deeper in Vicky than the black and purple bruises around her eyes or her too often broken nose.

And, yet, something in the snowparent was lacking.

A smile.

So Vicky put a thin, cold, blue finger to the snowparent’s round, round face and drew a smile there.

But the smile didn’t bring Vicky comfort. It was her father’s smile when he shambled throughout the house, a beer in his hand and countless others in his blood; it was her mother’s smile when she returned home from her bingo nights, having spent a week`s worth of grocery money; it was her brother’s smile when he quietly closed her bedroom door, and pulled out his boy scout knife from his back pocket.

It was these and more, so Vicky did the only thing she had ever been taught: she struck the smile off the snowparent’s face with her tiny little fists.

The snowparent’s round, round head fell to the whiter than white ground in a broken heap. Two balls remained and Vicky struck those down too, leaving only a broken little mound where a snowparent had stood.

Then, weary, Vicky laid her head down in that broken heap, that pile of snow no longer a snowparent, closed her grass-green eyes tightly, and waited for the bird songs of spring to wake her.

Dominik J. Parisien is a generally cynical being who is somehow averse to sleeping and has an unhealthy obsession with short fiction. He has written book reviews for the Society Pages — the Quarterly journal of the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec — and has published fiction in Moon Drenched Fables. He also had fiction set to appear in a small press magazine that met its untimely demise prior to publishing his story.

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