Invisible Paint Brushes rock Circulation: 179,788,606 Issue: 445 | 28th day of Hunting, Y12
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Ice Heart


by coolsteph281

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Then he saw her.

     The White Wocky peered over the edge of the cliffs. There she was below: a reflection that became tangible, as seamlessly as the movement of a ripple across a still lake. Somehow, she did not seem fully detached from the subdued, mirror-like surface of the ice crust she emerged from; somehow, even with the blueness of her Ogrin fur there was paleness, an almost ghostly and preternatural tinge about her. She rose from the edge of the thin ice coating the lake, and momentarily looked around slowly, her disembodied eyes showing little of her present emotions but her apparent indifference to the scenery. It seemed she did not spy the White Wocky that examined her from afar, from atop the cliff; she did not even look up. Then the Blue Ogrin maiden submerged into the mirror of the ice crust again, with not a trace of her appearance.

     Back at his village of Northern Shenkuu, the Wocky could not stop thinking about her. He could not reduce himself to a scientific curiosity, and he was desperate to return to the scene, in the hopes of finding her again. So much did he think about her, about the spectacular maiden, that the daily life within his house slid by and past his perception.

     Eventually he did return, hoping that an exchange of their intentions could be made, since he could not derive what her intentions were previously to have emerged from the lake in such a manner.

     There he was again, at the top of the cliff, waiting for her to appear. A chill wind of some unnatural fierceness whirled about him, and he pulled his cloak tighter to his body. Just as before, the Ogrin emerged from the ice crust of the lake's surface. She looked around, and another cold wind whirled about. This was his chance, his chance to be with her and more closely witness her, before she submerged into the ice crust again. But she did not stay above the surface a moment longer, and descended into the frosty mirror once more. His emotion, his constant-stream of compulsion-filled thoughts making him careless in his actions and oblivious of the consequences that were ominously probable, the White Wocky scrabbled over the edge of the cliff.

     And he fell to the ice crust below.

     He did not feel when he impacted against its surface, or if he ever impacted against the surface at all. The next thing he perceived was that the world he entered, or other facet of the world he knew, was unfamiliar. The color was muted, and the environment still and quiet. It was cold, with ice and snow everywhere, but there was no snowfall. The branches of the trees looked like unfeeling stone, frozen into such by the preternatural and mysterious qualities of the place he now was in.

     The White Wocky trudged through the fields of white until he encountered a gate with frost encrusted over its surface. It seemed to be like a gate to a garden, the lacy yet stern metalwork whirled and elaborate, but in this place it only looked stark.

     There! It was the Blue Ogrin, outside of the gate, clad in a kimono. Any other Neopet may have commented that such an outfit would not be serviceable in cold weather, but the White Wocky was oblivious to the unusual occurrence. The White Wocky attempted to speak to the Blue Ogrin, but she only turned away from him.

     “Wait!” the White Wocky called after her. "I need to speak with you!"

     “I do not associate with mortals," replied the icy maiden, coldly, not quite out of malice but more of disembodied indifference.

     “How will I speak to you then?" implored the White Wocky, left at the gate.

     “Transcend. Deny the representations of mortality," she responded, with no change in tone from her previous statement. She seemed to float away, not responding any further to the White Wocky.

     Thinking about this, he pondered what was different of immortals to mortals. He thought of the eyes of immortals, how they glowed, heartless and pupil-less. He thought of the land of the ice, the land he now was in, and the icy nature of the maiden.

     He thought about making glasses. Special glasses made of chipped ice.

     Those were what he constructed, fitting the lenses together with an oak twig. Everything he saw through the glasses seemed the same as when he viewed through his regular, unadorned eyes, instead of having a deflecting, disorienting effect as an image seen through ice usually has. It was a bleak world he traversed, and he thought about what the maiden told him. One day he found the maiden at the gate again.

     “Discard all emotions before you travel beyond this Gate of Reflection, lest the nature of your kind rise up against you," the maiden instructed. Willingly, the White Wocky attempted to do so. He was expressionless, mute. He adjusted his glasses, as to better guise his eyes in the hopes they would reveal nothing, as it would be an unbecoming occurrence if they did. Thus, the gate was opened. It was a whirl of coldness, but it felt subdued on the Wocky; perhaps his experiences traversing the garden trained him for the moment. Still, he did feel it, even when the ice maiden did not seem to respond to its gale at all. The White Wocky proceeded to follow the Blue Ogrin, but noted that the gate did not close behind them, nor did either attempt to close it themselves.

     Although he seemed emotionless, wandering amongst the trees of the frozen woodland of the estate that was yet to be seen, he did feel one thing. Whenever he met again with the ice maiden, he felt somehow he denied her something, or disappointed her somehow. He thought to remove whatever thing that remained such a flaw to him. He never did name this flaw, however, as he could never identify it.

     There were no Jumas scampering through the undergrowth, no Weewoos singing their haunting song through the trees. It seemed devoid of life there, but never did he deign to depart. But he felt that somehow, something was different past the gate. There was something about the play of light there, the way the dappled light seemed frozen like another layer of ice on the ground, so unnatural to the light of the world he once knew. Never did he blame his glasses for this, and never did he think to take them off as to improve his vision.

     One day in the timeless time of this frozen world, the Ogrin maiden, expressionless and disembodied of appearance, betraying nothing to her intentions, attempted to take his glasses of ice off.

     “It seems you have progressed. There may yet be an imprint on your perception.”

     Then the Blue Ogrin asked them what they would like to say next. The White Wocky said the words he long thought to tell her when only the opportunity would arise, and the Blue Ogrin turned away. If she was upset, it was not visible or discernible. Not from her ghostly countenance.

     "You have not transcended. Mortal still, you must depart."

     -_-_-_-

     Now there is a Wocky who lives in a cottage on the top of the cliffs. Sometimes he appears outside his house, seeming to emerge only to wistfully experience a cold wind blowing past. Sometimes he seems to look longingly over the surface of the cliff, as if judging the ice. Nobody knows what he judges, or what he looks for. They have never asked, and he will never answer. But one day it seemed the conditions were correct. He stepped closer to the edge of the cliff, shifted his weight---

     ---and fell.

The End

Thank you, cpmtiger, for giving critique to this story.

 
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