Warning: This chapter contains spoilers regarding the Rise of the Guardians movie!
You brace yourself for impact.
But it doesn’t come.
You feel something catch you, slowing down the pace of your fall. You slowly open your eyes, daring to relax.
The wind whirls around your feet and shins, providing a cushion between you and the hard ground.
It slowly sets you down, your feet softly making contact with the earthen floor.
It leaves your feet and swirls up and around you in a single, long, invisible line, making you giggle as your clothes dance slightly from the wind. You’re reminded of a cat’s tail wrapping around its owner’s leg as it purrs, longing to be pet and loved.
It leaves the rest of your body and rubs against your cheek, feeling very much like a delicate hand resting on your face in a final farewell. Then, it departs.
Thank you, you call after it, still smiling.
The question that arises within you is immediately answered. The wind existed long before Jack did, much like the cold and snow. It was acting of its own accord.
You begin to head home.
Just as you step onto the base of your hill, your reveries are interrupted by several shrill neigh’s ringing through the night.
You turn around to a shocking sight.
Hundreds of Nightmares are standing on rooftops, the concentration of them greater on the area that you believe to be the main street, just before the park, with several others scattered all around, slowly making their way to the central area. Then, by some unseen cue, they all descend into the street, vanishing from your sight and onto their prey.
Then, you see North’s vibrant red sleigh descend from the sky and land in the street where you assume that the ring of Nightmares is gathered. It then quickly ascends back up and over the buildings.
North must be asleep at the reigns, because the sleigh is jerking about recklessly. You wince as its wing hits the small globe at the top of a domed building.
This seems to wake all of the sleeping Guardians up, though, because the sleigh begins to fly more smoothly.
You then see Sandy spiral up into the air, assisted by a golden column of elevating dreamsand, taking advantage of the distraction provided by the sleigh. He has Jack in his hand, flinging him up into the clouds to face off a few black specs that you know to be Nightmares. Sandy continues to elevate, his customary cloud of sand forming beneath his feet.
You run up to the top of your hill, nearly tripping a few times as you try to keep your eye on the battle unfolding before you. By the time you make it to the top and turn back around, gasping for air, the fight has moved to the clouds. You can barely see anything besides the far-off sleigh and two clouds of sand, one a deep nighttime black, the other a gleaming, dreamy gold.
The Nightmares surround this golden cloud in a ring of seamless black. You can just barely make out the sounds of whips cracking as Sandy takes his stand.
Then, all of a sudden, the whips stop.
“No!” you hear Jack cry. You see a dot that you know to be him fly up from the sleigh towards Sandy, just barely avoiding being trapped by an onslaught of Nightmares that are holding back the sleigh.
Arms of black sand begin to triumphantly permeate the gold, stretching into its center.
Then, with a final flash of light, all signs of dreamsand vanish, the swirling Nightmares retreating into the dark cloud that you believe is holding Pitch afloat.
You immediately understand.
Sandy is dead.
Pitch has killed him.
Thunder begins to roar through the night, thick grey clouds now completely taking over the sky, masking the moon.
The night gets darker.
With a war cry that seems to come from the depths of his being, Jack charges once more, ascending at a newfound pace, his target now Pitch himself.
A large, dark wave descends to greet him.
“Jack!” you shriek as the first Nightmares make contact with the winter spirit, completely forgetting about all precautions that you have to take.
All of a sudden, there’s a sound that very much resembles someone breaking the sound barrier. Then, there’s a ball of bright blue light, a hot white at its center, right where Jack should be flying. It’s chaotic, thin spindles breaking off from it in all directions like miniature bolts of lightning. It has a certain characteristic of ice to it, though, much like extremely thin icicles accompanied by radioactive snowflakes…
It completely vaporizes all of the Nightmares surrounding Jack.
This is the hidden power within the spirit of winter that the Moon had spoken to you about so long ago.
With a clap of thunder, Jack seems to be able to direct this extreme power, aiming it right at the large wave of Nightmares.
The moment a single spark reaches the mass, the entire thing catches, becomes incased in luminescent blue ice in the blink of an eye, accompanied by the sound of something being instantly frozen or an ice cube cracking after being plunged into a warm drink. It even makes it to the cloud that Pitch stands on.
The moment it reaches every last grain of sand, the entire encasing explodes from the inside, shattering everything even remotely solid in an odd kind of finale to a fireworks show.
You see Jack begin to fall, evidently knocked out by the strength that it took to generate such an ability.
A small, colorful figure that you reason to be Tooth rescues him, bringing him back to the sleigh safely.
The night grows quiet. Even the thunder has stopped.
You see a magic portal open, consume the sleigh, and vanish.
Snow begins to fall.
But you know it’s not really snow.
It’s the aftermath of what just happened. Frozen grains of Nightmare sand, falling from the heavens and onto the earth.
After bewilderedly staring up into the sky for another couple of minutes, you trudge back to your house, your heart laden with sadness and grief over the Sandman’s grim demise.
You close the door and reluctantly head off to bed, knowing that there will be no good dreams tonight.
Pitch’s low, velvety laughter echoes through the night air as you drift off into a dreamless sleep.