Warning: This chapter contains minor spoilers regarding the Rise of the Guardians movie!
Something in a window has caught your attention.
You stand in front of the shop and mindlessly gaze at the display items, holding a small plastic bag with a new book resting inside, patiently waiting to be read.
Two days have passed since you parted with Jack.
You haven’t seen even a glimpse of him since.
The snow is beginning to melt, verdant patches of grass peeping out here and there in the yards of houses, the sidewalk and roads practically clear of the winter blanket. Spring is awakening.
A single snowflake falls just in front of you. A few seconds after, another follows it. And then a group of them float down, the snowflakes continuously tumbling down after one another in a gentle snowfall.
“Oof!” you hear someone exclaim, making you look up and over in the direction of the voice.
Soon, a small symphony of yelps breaks out, the cries growing nearer and nearer to you as people shield themselves from something unseen, burying their faces in their scarves and holding onto their hats.
You immediately understand what is going on as a massive blast of cold wind hits your face, blowing you back a little and forcing you to blink quickly a few times, trying to refocus your vision.
The wind continues past you, quickly moving on to pester other inhabitants further up the street.
It carries with it the fun-loving, mischievous laugh that you know all too well.
But you weren’t fast enough to be able to catch sight of the winter spirit. The wind and laughter is long gone, the people on the street recovering from the sudden chill.
A crackling noise to your left makes you redirect your attention to the shop window.
Leaves of beautiful frost are unfurling on its surface, transforming it into a wintery canvas. It frames your reflection for a brief moment before completely covering it, its icy arms swirling all over the window.
You stand there and admire it for a minute or two, smiling to yourself.
It turns into a sad smile as a small pain twangs your heart.
You leave the storefront, continuing on your day out.
“Snow day, snow day!” you hear a few children yell out jubilantly as they run by, wanting the world to know of their fortune. You recognize a couple of Jamie’s friends.
Probably going to go gather up the entire gang so they can celebrate together.
You chuckle. They really love his work, don’t they? You look up to the sky, the snow still falling softly from a few isolated clouds. They’ll believe in you someday. You’ll be seen and acknowledged. I just know it. You’re their Guardian, after all.
You start to walk home. You can’t wait to crack open that new book.
A few minutes later, something whizzes past you, accompanied by a fresh trail of ice and another cold wind.
Looking after it, you just barely see a kid on a sled, travelling down the road at a high speed.
Was that Jamie?
You’re just about to run after him when something stops you in your tracks.
A memory. Of a crazy sled rid that you were taken on once upon a time ago.
You find that you’re smiling once again.
He’s in good hands.
You turn back around and continue home.
The sky grows dark as the snow begins to fall heavier.
You come upon your back door, shaking the snow from your boots as the sound of children’s excited laughter and speech trails up the street, permeating the air, filling it with their warmth, energy, and wonder.
“…going to stay up to catch her tonight!” You hear Jamie tell the others.
“Oh man, here we go again,” says his friend sarcastically, chuckling slightly.
“She’s real, I’m telling you! I’ll show you, the Tooth Fairy and all of them are!” Jamie responds indignantly.
You walk into your house, closing the door to the sounds of a snowball fight breaking out.
You flop onto your couch and make yourself comfortable, taking your book from its bag.
And you begin to read.
You bookmark your page, sighing. It’s a really good book. But it’s gotten pretty sad, and the poem in it reminds you a little too much of recent events. So you figure it’s time for a break.
Stretching, you get up and off of the couch, placing the novel on its arm. It’s night already.
Something draws you to the nearby window.
The full moon is entirely, perfectly visible from it, its quiet light illuminating the night sky.
Captivated, you lean on the windowsill, staring out at it.
Some movement on a rooftop catches your eye. You notice that it’s the roof of Jamie’s house.
You sharply inhale as you realize what it is that you’re looking at. Or rather, who.
Jack Frost is on the roof, his hood up, facing the moon.
He seems to be talking to it, waving his hand about a bit. He then leans on his staff, his shoulders shrugging as he speaks.
Then, he’s still, as if waiting for the moon to respond.
You wish, more than anything, that MiM would say something to him. Some form of comfort for Jack. You want so badly to run out into the street and tell him that you’re there for him, to give him reassuring hug, to offer a few words of consolation that you know he needs…
He must not have gotten a single word, because he turns around, head bowed in disappointment, frustration, and sadness. He then flies off of the roof and lands on some telephone lines, nimbly walking on one like a tightrope walker. A new glimmer streaming down them tells you that he’s decided that they need some icing-over.
A line of golden sand weaves down in front of your window.
Looking out, you see that many others are flowing all over your town, carrying pleasant dreams with them as they effortlessly pass through windows to deliver their wondrous messages to sleeping children.
“Hello, Sandy,” you silently greet the Guardian, who you guess is floating somewhere high up in the clouds.
After a few minutes of a breathtaking display, the slivers of iridescent sand gradually fade away, their duties fulfilled. It’s time to move on, to bring dreams to other children of the earth.
Then, all of a sudden, something dashes across your yard, making you jump a little.
Nightmare? is your first panicked thought.
It darts from your backyard to the side of a house across the way, then from rooftop to rooftop in darkness.
You squint, trying to get a better look at whatever this thing is.
Because it sure doesn’t move like a Nightmare.
It bolts behind Jack, making him whirl around to face it.
In the split second that it was exposed to moonlight, you swear that you were able to make out a pair of long ears and a poofy tail.
Jack leaps from the telephone line, clearly deciding to pursue the unknown entity.
Curious but knowing that it isn’t a good idea to follow in Jack’s decision to chase down the thing (even if you could somehow catch up to it with it going at such an incredible speed), you turn from the window.
You didn’t get a bad feeling from whatever it was. Jack will be all right.
You go through your night routine and climb into bed, sleep quickly claiming you.
Outside in the dark, the gears have begun to turn, an uneasy calm lurking in the night air, preceding the storm that is about to befall the vulnerable, unaware world.