Sunday, February 2, 2014

Flash Fiction: Do You Want To Build a Snowman?

This guy stared at us through the back window for a week
last March, melting and looking a little scarier every day.
PROMPT/CHALLENGE SUMMARY: The kids and I have been listening to the soundtrack from Frozen a lot lately. "Let It Go" is our favorite, but "Do You Want To Build a Snowman?" is also very popular. My one-year-old particularly likes clicking like the clock in the middle there. It's a whole new skill for her. Yay new and different ways to make noise! (My yay! is somewhat less enthusiastic than hers.) Anyway, before I get too far off topic, I've had the song running through my head a lot recently. And I most definitely do NOT want to build a snowman. I grew up in the South, but we lived in Philadelphia for a few years right after Long-Suffering Husband and I got married, so I thought I knew all about snow. Yeah, well, those years must have been mild winter years. Either that, or Philly has nothing on Chicagoland when it comes to snowfall. The point is, I don't have years of snowman building experience to fall back on here. I'm just sort of going with what I've gleaned from television shows and Christmas movies. Last winter I learned a very important lesson about snowmen: never build a snowman in front of your window facing into the house. Because it will freak you out. Especially once it starts to melt from snowman to snow-monster. *shudder* It's enough to drive a stay-at-home mommy already losing her grip on sanity right over the edge.

The snowman was watching her. Staring through the back window like a demented Peeping Tom.

"I never realized they were so creepy," she said, her voice loud in the quiet house. She set down her coffee and pinched the front of her bathrobe closed.

"Oh, don't be ridiculous," she muttered, making herself release the robe and pick the mug back up. As if a snowman would have any interest in her saggy breasts.

"It doesn't have any interest in anything. It's a snowman." She drained her coffee and went to the kitchen for a refill. She clearly needed it.

This was one of her favorite times of day, the hour or so before sunrise, before the kids woke up. No one needing her to make breakfast or pack lunch. No one needing her to find clothes or strip an accident-soaked bed. No one needing.

The snowman caught her eye as she brought her coffee back to the table and she glared at it for disturbing her peace.

"Mama, can we build a snowman?" Evan had begged, his nose smearing the window as he stared at the glittering wonderland the overnight snowstorm had made of their backyard. So she'd bundled him up in his new snow suit and they'd trundled out into the yard.

Of course, once they piled enough snow and sort of pushed into a snowman-ish shape, they'd run into logistical problems.

Who kept lumps of coal and top hats lying around the house these days anyway?

The Oreos had made decent eyes, but the baby carrot nose looked... odd. At least they'd made up for it with big muscular arms. The only branches could tug off the tree were long and too thick to break.

But night had stolen one of his Oreo eyes and melted away half the misshapen lumpy body. Its too-thick arms didn't look ready for a hug anymore; they looked to be reaching forward. Reaching toward the window. Toward her.

She tried to drink her coffee and concentrate on her calendar. She tried to ignore the reaching. The staring.

"Stop it," she told herself. "It doesn't have eyes. It has Oreos. Oreo. It can't stare."

Wind rattled the back window and she looked up again before she could stop herself.

"Creepy," she whispered.

Another gust of wind, another rattle.

She flipped to her grocery list in the front of the planner.

Caulk

"Can't leave a window unsealed like that. It'll cost us a fortune," she muttered, sounding suitably practical.

Until she glanced at the window again.

"That's it." She stalked over to the window and glared at the snowman. "It's rude to stare!" she admonished.

It didn't answer. Of course not. Snowmen didn't talk.

Insolent bastards.

She whirled away from the window and marched to the coat closet. She pulled her coat over her bathrobe, stuffed her bare feet into boots, and got the snow shovel from the garage. Then she hoisted it over her shoulder like a bat and headed into the backyard.

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