The Taylight Zone - Anthology Six

11 - As the Snow Falls - Kimberly

"It's sure snowing hard," said Taylor Hanson the morning of Christmas Eve.

"Damn El Niņo!" said his brother, Isaac.

Taylor gave him a withering look. "That's over for now."

"Well, uh, damn La Niņa!"

A confused expression tainted Taylor's ludicrously perfect face. "What in Joe's name is La Niņa?"

Isaac shook his head. "La Niņa isn't in Joe's name. It's in the Pacific. It's El Niņo's little sister. Don't you ever read the Reader's Digest when you're in the bathroom?"

"No. I'm usually fixing my hair. If I read it at all, I read the jokes."

Isaac opened his mouth to speak, but then didn't. Something else had caught his eye, so now the refrigerator door held his attention. He wandered off to stare at it.

After Isaac left, Taylor shook his head. "Some people."

He flipped on the television and watched. It seemed to be the news. Some lady was talking while holding a sheaf of papers in her hands, while a box above her left shoulder showed graphical images. "Oooo, pretty colors!"

Zachary Hanson called from behind his camcorder, "Cut! That was great. It should win us first place for sure."

Taylor stretched his arms above his head. "Zac, that was fun. Go ahead and enter it to Sundance, but I doubt it will win. You can try, but don't be disappointed if you lose. Why did you even want to make this movie?"

Zac shrugged. "Because I could? I'm bored. Well, was bored. That was fun. Let's make another one."

Taylor leaned his head back and smiled. "Not now. Maybe later. Hey, Ike?"

Isaac had not yet moved from his position in front of the fridge. Worried, Zac walked over to him and shook his shoulder. "Ike? I said cut. You can stop now. It's stupid."

Isaac continued to stand there without speaking a word. Suddenly, he raised a finger to point to a small sheet of paper held to the freezer by a small, insurance company-distributed magnet. Zac took that as a cue to read the words on the paper.

He read the words out loud for Taylor's benefit, not knowing that his brother had recently taken his place behind Zac. "It is with much regret that I write this message. I had hoped that one day we could all be friends. You are my brothers and I love you dearly, but I cannot continue on with this charade this is my favorite facade. I leave you now to your remaining family as I no longer am wanted, needed, or appreciated. Goodbye."

The note was signed, but the signature was blurred beyond recognition. By what? Tears? Or rather, a tear? Zac took a step backward and inadvertantly bumped into Taylor.

Neither said a word. The mood of the room was thick uncomfortableness. Who wrote it? Why? To give to whom?

Nothing made sense at the time. It was as though.... As though what?

Shaky breaths were released and taken as the paper fell to the floor and burst into flames.

A trembling Taylor asked, "Is this part of your movie, Zac?"

An almost hyperventilationg Zachary answered, "No, but I really wish this was only a movie."

Isaac did not speak, but he did lift his foot to drop it on the burning piece of paper. Each brother looked at the others, wondering if they had written the note and intended to go away.

Not long after that incident, Diana Hanson entered the kitchen. "You boys done with your movie yet?"

Isaac spoke now, finally. "Yeah. Hey Mom, look at this."

He lifted up his foot and gestured to the floor. Diana looked down, then gave Isaac a disgusted glare. "Isaac, why do I need to look at the linoleum or the fact that you can lift up your foot?"

Isaac glanced down as Diana exited the room. The spot on the floor that had been occupied by the burning note was now bare but for a few specks of dust. "But...."

Zachary spoke up. "Guys, did one of you write that? 'Cause I didn't. Please be honest."

Two blond heads before him shook in perfect unison and in the most honest way possible. "Okay. Well, maybe it was a hater, or obsessed fan or something. A demented, early Christmas present? Sure, that's it. so, let's forget about this and continue on with our lives, okay?"

Each brother nodded. To forget this would be a great accomplishment, unfortunately, they couldn't forget it. The day was filled with cautious words and actions. Until they understood it, they wouldn't confront it.

Even with the immense horror that crowded their minds, they managed to fall asleep that night and each had a dream identical to the dreams of the other two brothers. Why it happened, no one knew. That dream was significant in some way. That dream.

The brother having the dream sat in a rocking chair, holding a blanket and a teddy bear. "Brother? Tell me a story. Brother? Sing me a song."

Humming filled the air as the chair began to rock to the rhythm of the song being hummed. "Brother? I'm cold."

A masculine voice that held no age spoke. "No wonder. You kicked your covers off. Want me to tuck you in again?"

Sitting in a bed now, looking out the window, all tucked in. A sunset flashed, followed by a total solar eclipse. "When you have no light to guide you, and no one to walk beside you..."

The moon went through its phases and projected those phases around the edges of a mirror. " If you are ever lonely..."

The mirror morphed into a windshield. Rain fell upon sloshing windshield wipers as blurred headlights flew by. Soon, those wipers stopped and the rain turned white. Cold. Snow. "As the snow falls, so shall you."

Three brothers, Hanson, sat bolt upright in beds of either the bunk or trundle type. As the blood rushed from their heads they heard, "I am only a consequence of your imagination. You're stronger than I'll ever be. Defeat me."

That voice. Isaac pushed back his hair and took the initiative to speak first. "Gladly. What the hell are you, really? Where are you?"

The same voice, so soothing, spoke again. "I am all around you. Fight me. I dare you. You can't win, but you can."

Isaac hopped down from his bunk bed. "What the hell does that mean?"

"As one, you cannot. As three, you can. Defeat me."

He looked to his left. Taylor stood there with eyes squinted in confused amazement. To his right, Zac stood in child-like amusement. Isaac spoke once again, "How do we defeat you?"

The voice. It seemed to laugh. A throaty laugh that echoed quietly. "That I cannot tell you, dear boys. You must figure this out for yourselves."

Taylor put his hand up into the air as if to caress the air. "We can defeat you. You're all around us, but you're open right in front of us. Open for attack."

Zachary walked forward. "You're like the snow. You're cold sometimes, but we can melt you and move you out of the way and you can keep us warm. Like an igloo."

Isaac took a step backward. They seemed to be seeing something that he couldn't. He closed his eyes. His dream flashed before him again. That sunset was so brilliant. But as he watched, it was eclipsed. He looked down and saw that the ground below that sunset was white. All snow.

He looked up again and saw that the sun had faded and the moon was left to change its phases. Each time that it changed significantly, a flash appeared. Someone was taking pictures and pasting them around a mirror. He turned to face that person.

His mother stood there lovingly pasting down pictures. "My boys. They change so quickly."

Why in his head? Why the moon? He looked back up to it. As he watched, he seemed to see his reflection in it. So I'm seeing myself in a mirror?

That voice spoke again. "Exactly."

He opened his eyes and saw that a white mist filled the room. "I can see you now."

"Of course. As soon as you understand. Now, defeat me. You know how."

He closed his eyes once again and watched as the mirror became the windshield. He understood now. He opened his eyes and walked forward. He placed an arm around the shoulders of each of his brothers and they began to sing. "The snow's falling down as you step out of your car, presents in your arms and you've traveled far, someone opens the door with a smile on their face and you know you've come to the right place...."

"The voice spoke one last time. "At Christmas. I'm no longer needed. Realize why I was here in the first place. Please."

Three blond brothers, each bearing the surname Hanson, stood in the middle of their bedroom on Christmas Eve knowing full well what was meant. They were brothers and they were friends. If they ever let anything come between them it could, or would, mean the end to one of them. No one wanted that.

The next morning, after opening gifts, the brothers watched their movie and laughed in happy togetherness. After that, they dressed in warm clothing and headed outside.

Without realizing it, the three brothers began to build an igloo of sorts. It was basically a hole dug out of a snow bank. Once they were finished digging, they piled into the hole.

They heard a voice. A familiar voice. "As the snow falls, so must I."

The brothers watched in amazement as more snow began to swirl down to the white ground. They each thanked the voice, whatever it truly had been, for making them realize that they needed eachother.

It had all been their imagination. From the note on the refrigerator, to the fantasy at night. A living dream of a sort. It was over now. Without thinking about it, the three boys began to sing a sweet harmony through the falling snow that was the mist which was the voice. "No matter who you are, how far you've come, this is where you belong...... At Christmas."