(Authors note—another Clarion era story, but certainly different from Stray. Mister Frosty was an attempt at a Stephen King type of horror story, at least the King short horror stories he was writing back in the 80’s and 90’s. While it has issues that Stray had (like too many adjectives), all in all it’s one I still like after all these years, so in the spirit of the winter season, I present to you Mister Frosty and hope you enjoy it!)
When he was five years old, Mickey Gregor Delaney made snow-statues of a pride of lions taken from a picture in National Geographic. At seven, he made a ten-foot tall snow replica of Mt. Rushmore.
At eight years old, Mickey was still a small child with very red hair, thick plastic-rimmed glasses, and a shy smile which revealed a set of irregularly spaced teeth.
Mickey Delaney was also developmentally disabled.
Not so disabled that he couldn’t enjoy a warm summer day chasing frogs in the pond near his house. He also wasn’t immune to the psychological pain when the rest of the world—sometimes even his parents—belittled him for his behavior.
Mickey Delaney was to be forever burdened with the label of "minimally functional-impaired"; to Mickey, all this meant was that grades one and two were very hard to get through, with third grade proving to be an almost impossible hurdle. In truth, academics were a secondary consideration in Mickey's day to day existence, as his short stature, prominent lisp when stressed, and overall functioning made him a favorite target of other students when out on the playground or walking to and from school. Mickey stoically endured the endless harassment, much as a racing horse grows inured to the beating of the whip.
Yet there was a world in which Mickey was happy and at peace. He waited in anticipation for this world every autumn, when he would wish with all his might for the first flakes of snow to brush their white sheen over the dry brown earth. And when the first real snow of the season would come to his suburban Detroit neighborhood, Mickey would smile and know that at least for the next few months, he could be good to the eyes of world.
Between December and March, every day after school and every weekend, Mickey could be found in his spacious backyard, carefully pulling together mounds of snow and bringing them together into a finely sculptured myriad of shapes. The local TV station would dutifully send out a rookie cameraperson for a 30 second spot on "...our own towns’ Picasso" every winter.
When Mickey was born, his parents, Michael and Janet, promised each other that it didn’t matter to them that Mickey was not perfectly ‘normal.’ That it was no problem he was not, and never would be, the same as other children. They both found it all-too-easy to forget all their promises when comparing Mickey to their first-born child, Melissa—beautiful, intelligent, auburn-haired and emerald-greened eyed Melissa—who had grown into a striking sixteen year old young woman who held the world in her hands.
* * *
"Mom, is it all right if I have some friends over tonight?"
Janet Delaney focused at the mirror in her large upstairs bathroom. "Can't this wait 'till I get my contacts in, Melissa?"
"Mom, this is very important to me," Melissa said is an exasperated tone, standing to the side of her mother and running her hands absently through thick strands of her hair.
Janet finished placing her second contact lens in. "Now young lady, I thought we went over this before. Mrs. Katrinka can't come over tonight to watch your brother, so-"
"So that means I have to watch him so that means I have to have at least a few friends over or I'll go completely nuts!" Melissa exclaimed in one long breath.
“I guess a few friends over won't be any problem," her mother acquiesced as they walked into the hallway. "Is Steve on the guest list?"
Melissa nodded. "Can you believe it, Mom? It's been almost two months now that we've been together."
“I know some people might think this is old fashioned, but he’s a great catch, Melissa. Has he heard anymore on his football scholarship?"
"He's still waiting for word on some of the California schools. Steve has all of them after him, you know.”
“I bet," her Mom said, "just like all the girls."
"That's right, but there he's already been picked."
Both women laughed as they stood at the top of the stairs. “Anyway, sweetheart," Janet said, "we'll be leaving as soon as your father gets home from the office, so remember, just a few friends, no booze or drugs, and get your brother to bed early."
"Don't worry Mom," Melissa said, "I'll take care of Mickey."
* * *
Mickey stood in the corner of his room, holding his favorite stuffed animal, a mishapen ragged lion he called Mister Leo, as Melissa paced back and forth.
"Mickey, I'm getting damned tired of this," she said. "For the last time, I am having some friends over and I want you to stay upstairs. Is that too damn much to ask?"
"Why can't I come down to play with you and your friends'?" Mickey stammered.
"Damnit!" Melissa said, her voice rising in intensity. "Just listen to me. I do-not-want-you-down-there. Period."
Mickey began to rock back and forth on his heels as he pet his lion with choppy stokes. "But, but maybe me and Mister Leo will want to come down and play with you and-"
"That's it!" Melissa roughly grabbed him by his shoulders. ”You and your damn lion embarrass the fuck out of me! I want to have fun with my friends and there will be no more fucking questions and no more fucking arguments."
Mickey stood still as his sister released him and walked angrily out of his room. Only after she slammed the door behind her did Mickey began to cry. ”I'm...I'm sorry, Mister Leo, sometimes she gets really mean but we...we shouldn’t hate her." Wiping away tears, Mickey curled up with the lion in bed and hoped that the night would pass by very soon.
But it didn’t. Try as he might, Mikey could not get to sleep with all the noise coming from downstairs after his sister’s friends were over. Waves of boisterous laughter rolled up the stairs, causing Mikey to wonder about all the fun he was missing.
“It sounds like they’re having a lot of fun down there, Mister Leo,” Mickey said to the lion. Carefully and quietly, Mickey took Mr. Leo over to his bedroom door and pushed the stuffed animals head against the cool wood. “Hear them having fun?”
Mister Leo said nothing.
“You think if we’re really quiet we can maybe go downstairs and have some fun too?” Mickey said to his stuffed companion.
When another burst of downstairs reached his ears, Mikey made up his mind. He patted Mister Leo on the head. “We need to be quiet. I bet if we’re really quiet they won’t even notice us.”
Holding Mister Leo tight against his oversized red and white pajamas, Mickey quietly opened his bedroom door. Sharp, redolent odors of cigarettes and other smells curled around him, almost causing Mickey to sneeze. He held it back, moved to the edge of the stairs then down one, two, and finally three, where he could see through wooden posts the scene below.
Most of Melissa's friends were illuminated in the bright, twinkling lights of the Christmas tree, watching a large screen TV. Moving one more step down, Mickey had a perfect view of the object of their rapt attention.
On the 70 inch LED TV screen, a very pretty, very naked young woman sat astride a young man on the top mattress of a bunk bed. To Mickey, they both seemed to be in pain, as the couple writhed and moaned louder and louder, and when it almost seemed that they would go on forever, a sharp, wide object suddenly thrust up through the boy's throat. Melissa and her friends screamed with delight as the on-screen woman screamed in terror as blood spurted and covered her firm body in crimson, and then Mickey saw another person on the screen, this one wearing a goat-head mask and holding a very large butcher knife. He grabbed the girl by her long blond hair, and then, after pulling her off the boy, rammed the knife between her large breasts and impaled her onto the wall, much to the raucous delight of Melissa and her friends.
Mickey shook in fear and terror, his head spinning, his stomach nauseous. He wasn’t aware of dropping Mister Leo.
The stuffed lion tumbled down the stairs, his large, toothless grin never wavering. He finally landed, face down, directly at the feet of Bobby Ian McClaster.
"Hey, what the fuck is this?" the boy bellowed. He. put down the crack pipe he was holding and picked up the stuffed Lion.
Bobby McClaster was buddies with Steven Alfonse Sitech III, Melissa's boyfriend. The only reason Steve associated with Bobby was the latter’s capacity to take insults and jokes and all-around harassment. Bobby was an easy target, an acne-scarred dullard whose pallid belly hung out of undersized t-shirts which read such socially conscious statements as "If you don't like my attitude call 1-800-EAT-SHIT!"
Seeing the stuffed animal in Bobby's hands, Melissa looked up the stairs at Mickey, who was still quite too terrified to move. "Mickey, I told you didn't I, I fucking told you-"
"Maybe he needs a lesson,” Steve spoke, putting a muscular arm around her shoulder.
“What type of lesson?" she said as the room went silent.
"Oh, I don't know," Steve said in an easy, conversational voice. “Why don’t you use that great imagination of yours."
Melissa thought for a moment, then smiled wickedly, ”Mickey," she said, "I want you to come down here right now, because if I have to come up there to get you it's going to be a lot worse!"
Slowly, large tears forming in his myopic eyes, Mickey moved down the stairs. As soon as he reached the bottom his sister grabbed him violently by the hair. "You just had to ruin my night, didn’t you?” she screamed.
Mickey tried to focus through his fear and pain.”I...I just wanted to come down and have some fun with you guys," he blubbered, "I just wanted to come down and have fun and laugh with you and—“
He was cut short when Melissa threw him into the arms of Bobby, who was snorting loudly with pleasure at the turn of events. “All right you little shit, you want have fun with us, then let's have some fun," she said. "Bobby, hold him.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Bobby said as Melissa and Steve walked into the kitchen. The boy threw Mickey on the floor and sat down hard onto his thighs. "Yeah ,you little retard, we're gonna have a lot of fun now," Bobby sneered as he took a long drink on a beer, the yellow liquid dripping out of his mouth and down his chin, which held the meager beginnings of a beard.
Mickey stared at Bobby's chin, at the hard, black cuticles of hair which looked like bad stitching from a drunk surgeon. “What the fuck are you staring at?" Bobby screamed at Mickey, then slapped him with the back of his hand.
“C’mon man, don't leave any marks," Steve calmly said as he walked back into the living room. He pulled Mickey’s hands up over his head, then placed his knees over his elbows, preventing Mickey from moving. With almost serene tenderness, Steve wiped away the blood which was flowing from the gash in Mickey's lower lip. “You should have listened to your sister," Steve whispered, “because now you're going to have to pay the price."
"IS everybody ready?" Melissa said as she walked out of the kitchen and through the circle of her friends which had formed around the three boys. The crowd offered a unanimous “Hell yes!” as Melissa stood over her brother, holding Mister Leo in one hand and a pair of stainless-steel scissors in the other.
For one brief second, Melissa hesitated while looking at her scared, small brother. Her hands started to shake and in her drug-addled mind a thought began to slowly form that maybe this was wrong, maybe this was—
But hen she heard it, starting with Steve but amplified by her friends, a chant, a powerful cajoling of “do it do it do it do it!” The weak thoughts of mercy died off in the power of the mob and she looked at Mickey, held up the stuffed lion and said “okay you little shit, you wanted to laugh with us, now laugh!”
Bobby and Steve began tickling him and Mickey laughed, but it wasn’t a sound filled with happiness, rather a pitiful, frightened sound, like one uttered by a terrified, cornered animal.
"I told you bad things would happen if you came out of your room, didn't I?” Melissa said. “Here you go!" and snap! went the scissors, cutting neatly through Mister Leo's foot, falling ungracefully on Mickey's stomach. He tried to scream but couldn't, his breath coming in short, jerky gasps as the Steve and Bobby continued to tickle him under the urging of the other teens.
Snap! went the scissors again, another Mister Leo’s foot coming off, landing on Mickey's forehead.
“Sonofabitch!” Bobby said, jumping away from Mickey. “Damnit, Melissa, your little retard brother just pissed his pants!"
Steve released Mickey’s arms and he rolled away, gasping air in huge chocking gulps. Melissa dropped the mutilated lion on him and stepped back. "Now you'll listen to me when I tell you something. Get upstairs and stay upstairs!"
Mickey rose to his feet, holding the limp form of Mister Leo to his chest. "I hate you."
Melissa stared at him incredulously. “What did you just say?"
In very even, very controlled tone, Mickey again said, "I hate you."
Melissa cocked her right hand back in a fist and prepared to hurt, very badly, her brother. And as her friends yelled for her to "kick the little retards ass!" she saw an unknown presence in his eyes.
A presence reflecting back a dark, vacuous shape, an empty cold flame which almost caused her to piss her pants.
"C'mon Melissa, we've all had enough fun tonight.” It was Steve, stepping between her and Mickey, gently holding her fist. Mickey turned and ran up the stairs, falling twice in his too-large-pajamas before he made it to his room.
“Let him go Melissa," Steve said. “He’s just a worthless little shit.”
* * *
"Damnit Mickey, for the last time, what did you do to your stuffed lion?" his mother asked, the next morning as he ate his cereal and toast.
Melissa standing next to the coffee maker, shook her head. "I'm telling you, mom, he came down when I thought he was sleeping, crept into the kitchen and got the scissors. Before I could get to him, he ran upstairs and started going to it on his stupid animal.”
Mickey looked up from his cereal bowl and squinted at his sister. “You hurt Mister Leo. You hurt him bad!"
"Melissa, what's going on here?"
"I told you mom, I...well, me and a few friends were watching a movie and he must have come down and-"
Mickey got out of his chair and pointed a small finger at his sister. "They was watching bad movies, mom."
Janet Delaney gave her daughter a disapproving look."Young lady, I told you that I wanted no such movies in this house!"
"Mom, it was just a horror movie."
Melissa feigned, quite well, a look of childhood innocence. "Of course not!"
"Well, thank God for that," her mother sighed as she again fixed her stare on Mickey. "And you, young man, you better believe that if you don't listen to your sister when we're away and keep destroying your toys, Santa Claus won't be leaving any presents for you. Understand?"
“Yes mom." Mickey had learned at a young age how useless arguments were with his parents. ”Can I go outside now?"
"I guess so," Janet Delaney muttered. “Are you going to build some more snow statues?”
"Nuh uh," Mickey replied to his mother as he fumbled tying up his fat winter boots, "I'm going to make something I dreamed about last night!"
“Oh? What’s that?”
Mickey turned around, awkwardly bundled in his purple snowsuit and grinned. ”I dreamed about Mister Frosty."
* * *
"What the hell is he making now?"
Melissa pressed more of her sleek body into Steve and playfully ran her fingernails lightly across his neck. "It's his newest creation. A snowman called Mister Frosty."
"Sounds interesting," Steve said. "Aren't you going to help him?"
“No. I think I should save up all my energy for later tonight."
"Does that mean mommy and daddy are going away?"
"That means," she said, placing both of her hands into Steve's front pockets and pulling him tight against her, "Mommy is going to go to the airport soon to pick up Daddy, which means that Stevie will have at least four hours to show Melissa some more of his talents in bed."
"Better make that three hours."
Melissa stroked the insides of Steve's thighs. ”Why is that?" she cooed. “Does Stevie the stud think Melissa will be too hot for him to handle?"
Steve wickedly grinned. "No, it's because me and Bobby have to drop off a kilo of hash so we don't end up on the wrong side of a shotgun."
"Boys and their business deals," Melissa sighed, pulling away from Steve. ”Want something to drink so you don't get dehydrated later tonight?"
Steve pointed through the frost-stained window. “Sure. But first let's go have some fun with your little 'bro."
Melissa went out the front door while Steve went out the back, heading directly to Mickey. "Hey there little guy, what are you making?"
Mickey yelped, then turned to face Steve. “You scared me."
"Sorry about that, Mickey. “I wanted to see what you're making."
"It's Mister Frosty. He’s a snowman."
It was the biggest damn snowman Steve had ever seen. It stood seven feet tall and at least half that wide. And while Mickey had forgone his usual exquisite techniques in building the snowman, it still held a certain aura, an unseen shimmering of something just ever-so-slightly special.
For feet, Mickey had taken some torn black rain boots and secured them with packed snow on the side of the snowman, making him appear to be extremely bow-legged. Higher up on the body, Mickey had placed gnarled tree limbs for arms, and for the snowman's face had used a fat, moldy potato for a nose and large red maraschino cherries for eyes.
“What are you going use for the mouth?" Steve asked while watching Melissa move quietly up behind her brother with a bucket of water, before breaking out in with laughter as Mickey was dripping wet in the sub-freezing temperature. Both Steve and Melissa continued laughing as they walked arm in arm back to the house.
Mickey wanted to cry, wanted to scream out at his sister, at the world. Mickey knew he wasn’t as smart as other kids, knew he was different then other people, but what his brain and heart could never fathom was why he was hated for it.
Fat tears ran down Mickey’s face as he turned toward the snowman, his cherry-red eyes seeing nothing, his face having no mouth to give comforting words to Mickey. "I...I wish you and me and Mr. Leo could leave here, Mister Frosty," Mickey blubbered as he hugged the giant snowman, "I wish we all could go away and be happy somewhere."
"Mickey, get in here before I leave to go pick up your father," his mother yelled from the back door.
Mickey wiped away the mixture of snow and tears from his face, his teeth chattering from the cold. “Good bye, Mr. Frosty," he said to the snowman. "I have to go in, but maybe later I will come out and give you a nice smiley mouth and you and me can have a fun time."
* * *
"I'm tellin' you guys, this is some dope shit."
Steve, Bobby and Melissa sat at the kitchen table while a howling winter storm threw fat flakes of snow against the windows. In the middle of the table sat a tall water pipe, filled with a mixture of spring water and 151-proof rum.
"So let the party began,” Bobby said, pulling out a rounded ball of aluminum foil from the jacket pocket. "This stuff is guaranteed to get us all real fucked up," he continued, unrolling the foil to reveal a gray brown lump of coke and heroin. “I’m telling ya both, before this night is over we-"
“Like I told you on the way here, Bobby,” Steve interrupted, ”me and my pretty lady want spend some time alone tonight, so in a half hour your fat ass needs to be gone."
"Sure Steve, I mean, no problem," Bobby nervously said as he finished packing the pipe full. "So who wants to go first?”
Melissa pulled the pipe over to her, placed a wooden match to the speedball and inhaled deeply. She sat back in her chair and slowly blew the thick, white smoke out in tiny circles toward Bobby, who stared with rapt attention at her. ”You’re right, fatboy,” she said, "this is some damn good shit."
"You sure your little brother is going to stay outside?" Steve asked after he took a hit. “It’s a damn arctic storm out there."
"So what?" she replied. "That retard would stay out in a fucking hurricane t o work on his statues."
Bobby took another hit from the pipe then stood. "Before I go, I just have to have a look at the little shit’s creation outside. Anyone wanna join me?"
Mickey was rubbing snow off his glasses when he heard Melissa and her friends come outside. Maybe they want to come help me, he thought. Maybe Melissa wants to make up and have fun with me.
"Hey there little bro," Melissa said, "how's Mister Frosty doing out here?"
“He's doing okay." There was something, something wrong about his sister, not just the funny way her breath smelled as she breathed into Mickey' face, not just the way she walked as if she was on an ocean liner in rough seas. No, there was something deeper.
And it scared Mickey down to his innocent soul.
"Man, this fucker is pretty damn big!" Bobby boisterously said as he weaved his way around the snowman. "Bet he's pretty sturdy.” At that he gave Mr. Frosty a vicious kick, dislodging a fist-sized chunk of snow from the snowman's lower torso.
Like sharks in a feeding frenzy all three teens began smashing the snowman, tearing off his twisted wooden arms, gouging out his red cherry eyes.
"Stop it!" Mickey cried before Steve brutally shoved him down. Mickey sat in the snow ,unable to do anything but endure the mindless carnage, watched as thick hate oozed out of the pores of his sister and her friends as they delighted in the destruction of Mickeys simple creation.
The three teens finally stopped their melee, panting like sated carnivores. The snowman, although dismembered and blinded, still stood, a monument to Mickey's hard work and care. And an anathema to his sister's unrelenting rage.
Even before she ran into the garage, Mickey could feel the senseless fury inside his sister. It fueled his resolve and he stood up and backed toward the snowman as Melissa came out of the garage carrying a single-blade axe.
"Move outta my way!" she yelled, holding the axe over her left shoulder in the stance of a professional baseball player looking for a high, outside fastball.
Mickey stood his ground.
She moved closer now, and Mickey could almost feel the aura of madness which raged inside her.
”This is it, you little asshole!” she screamed at Mickey. Steve and Booby thought Mickey would move, duck out of the way as Melissa swung the axe.
Even Melissa herself thought that at the last instant her brother would move.
Only Mickey and Mr. Frosty knew that Mickey was not moving at all.
The axe cut into Mickey just below his sternum, cutting his right lung into a bloody pulp before exiting out his back.
Mickey let out a long, high-pitched whooooosh! as the axe-head buried into the torso of Mr. Frosty. Bright frothy blood sprayed out along the handle of the axe and showered Melissa in a hot crimson sheen. Mickey jerked involuntarily for a few seconds then became motionless, hanging on the axe-handle like a puppet with cut strings.
Steve made the next move. He calmly walked over and pulled on the axe which made a wet, pulpy sound as it came free of Mickey’s chest, then threw it at Melissa’s feet.
“I didn't mean to...I didn't mean to…" she horsely said. "Steve...you and Bobby saw it...I gave him plenty of time to move and he was just too stupid!”
“What the fuck are we gonna do?" Bobby groaned, staring wide-eyed at Mickey. ”This is not good, this is not good at all, I mean, I mean, we’re gonna get caught!"
"No we're not, fatboy," Steve said, his voice as cold as the howling winds which screamed around them. "Melissa and I are going to take the body and get rid of it.“
"No!" Melissa yelled, staring in disbelief at Steve. "No way am I going to do-"
Steve hit her, a heavy, closed fisted blow, knocking her off her feet. He stood over her and pointed toward Mickey's limp body. “That retard is not going to ruin my future. Now you will get up and you will help me take the body over to the new civic center construction site where no one will ever find it."
Steve looked at Bobby. "And you, fatboy, You will clean all this snow up and dump it in the river and tidy things up so it looks like no one was here."
“Yeah, Steve, I getcha," Bobby said, a slight gleam of hope shining in his eyes. "I can clean up real good here it'll be okay."
“Exactly, fatboy, it'll be okay." Steve walked back toward Melissa, who was wiping blood, both hers and Mickey's, from her face. Steve lightly touched the dark bruise which was rising from the site of his blow; Melissa winced but said nothing as he smiled and tenderly kissed her on the cheek. "So boys and girls, let's get this mess cleaned up, shall we?"
* * *
Bobby basted in his own sour sweat, lugging another load of blood-caked snow in a wheelbarrow out to the small river which ran behind the Delaney house. Panting,
(how could a little kid have so much blood in 'em?)
He pulled out a fat blunt, lit it and inhaled deeply, letting himself feel the cannabis smooth out all of the rough edges of the speedball. Yeah, Steve is right, he thought, taking another deep drag off the joint, I clean up here and they dump the body and it'll be A-okay!
As Bobby took one more hit from the joint and really starting to feel that life was going to be A-okay, long, thick wooden fingers reached for him from behind.
Grabbed him around his shoulders.
Lifted his 250 pound body and shook him like a sapling in a hurricane before throwing him twenty feet into tangled thickets of the riverbank.
Bobby lay there, unable to move, to think about what had happened. It was the brutal pain in his right arm that brought Bobby to focus back onto reality.
A reality which he did not want to believe.
Standing next to the wheelbarrow was Mickey's snowman, or at least what had been Mr. Frosty, for it had changed: its wooden arms were thicker, longer, and now the snowman had actual legs, bone white appendages ending in the torn, black boots. And Bobby saw it now had a mouth, a large and terrible opening with long shards of solid yellow snow hanging like piss-stained fangs in a dark cave which held nightmares untold.
It looked at Bobby and came towards him.
Bobby screamed, a sound like an animal caught in a trap. He bolted upright, trying to ignore the agony of the compound fracture of his right arm, trying to forget everything except escaping from Mr. Frosty.
Bobby ran along the banks of the river, through the ice-laden trees, their long white limbs reaching out in silent supplication.
He ran toward the lights of a nearby subdivision, toward houses and people and all things which were good, which were real, not a nightmare of snow come alive.
Bobby ran as fast as his legs could carry his overweight body. And ten feet from where the thickets came to an end, ten feet from where a black asphalt road curved through upper-middle class houses where Christmas carolers were serenading with the season's songs of joy and love, Bobby slipped and fell into the river.
The brutally cold water sucked at his body heat as a dry desert takes moisture from the air. His frantic movements of escape caused him to sink deeper into the soft, pithy bottom, the black water now up to his thighs. Bobby tried to yell, to scream for help, but all he could manage were small, ragged whispers which no one could hear.
And the snowman.
Mr. Frosty moved toward Bobby with an awkward, yet almost leisurely pace as his huge body of snow moved through the trees. And although the mere sight of such an impossible creature was enough to drive anyone over the razor edge of insanity, the creature made it even more maddening by singing along in a baritone voice with the carolers in the distance-
"Silent night, holy night,
all is calm, all is bright—“
Bobby McClaster's mind began shutting down, convoluting inward to block out all insanity which howled around it. Yet he could not force his eyes shut as Mr. Frosty loomed over him, still singing along with the ethereal voices drifting in the cold night air-
"sleep in heavenly peace,
sleep in heavenly peace.”
Mr. Frosty stood towering over the terrified boy, red cherry eyes glowing crimson and hot, his mouth with breath that stank of rotted flesh and steaming shit now speaking directly to Bobby with a coarse and wet and oh-so-loud voice: “You know when they told you in Sunday School that hell is a place of fire and brimstone?”
Bobby nodded as he lost control of his bowels and felt them empty into his soaked pants.
“Well, boy," Mr. Frosty continued as he reached down with long wooden arms and slowly lifted Bobby out of the water, “they lied. Hell ain’t hot. It’s-real-damn- cold!”
* * *
“Oh my God Steve, I think I heard him! I think he’s still alive!"
Melissa turned toward the back seat, reaching for the blanket which covered Mickey's body, only to have her hand held back by Steve.
"No, he's dead Melissa, quite down-in-the-dumps dead, and all we have to do is drop the body off and everything will be A-okay.”
But then they both heard it, a small whimpering which emanated from beneath the blanket, a tiny noise which echoed like thunder throughout the tight confines of the car.
Steve brought his silver Celica to a slow halt just outside the construction site, a twisted amalgam of wood and concrete and steel. "If he's still alive he won't be for long. And if he's outside, out in the cold, he'll be dead even quicker."
Melissa stared at Steve, her young face etched with lines of stress. "If we're ever caught Steve…I mean, your friend Bobby got's a damn big mouth and if he talks, we’re done.”
"Bobby's also got a lot of enemies, babe, and it wouldn't surprise me if in the near future he comes to an unnatural end."
Melissa weakly smiled and tried very hard to ignore the sounds of life which continued from the back seat. "Let's just get this over with,” she said, hastily buttoning up her coat. "My mom and Dad are going be back soon, so-"
Her sentence was cut short as wooden hands shattered Steve's window, sending shards of glass ripping across his face like a thousand razors. Hands, terrible wooden hands shaped like claws of a pterodactyl pulled at Steve as he frantically tried to maneuver inside the car. Hands, strong oak-hewn hands finally wrapped around Steve's left arm and pulled, jerked, forced half his body out through the window until the arm tore free of the shoulder.
“Oh shit!" Melissa said over and over, curled up in a fetal position against the passenger door. Steve was still half-hanging out the window, his body jerking in spasmodic contractions as an ever-diminishing river of blood poured out of his empty arm socket with each pump of his dying heart.
Steve finally went still, his body hanging motionless as the winter winds blew hot odors of his blood into the car. Melissa forced down a column of vomit and moved her hand slowly toward the key. She would start the car, open the driver's side door and push Steve out. She almost had herself convinced she could do it, almost believed she could escape her personal bedlam as the engine roared to life and she opened the car door.
And then Steve regained consciousness.
In a paroxysm of movement he slammed back into the car seat, pinning Melissa's arm beneath him. With her one free hand she began beating on him as he stared wide-eyed in shock and madness out into the starless night before turning to face her.
“I seen him," Steve said, blood and spit bubbling out with each word. “He's mad at us for hurting Mickey. Very mad.”
Melissa twisted and squirming in a vain attempt to get away from the thing which had been her lover, who continued to ramble on…"oh yes he's so mad at us for hurting little Mickey but maybe if we can just talk to him he'll let us play with him and maybe if we can talk to him and ohmygod he’s back!"
Melissa could see reflected in Steve's eyes
(even though if was very hard to look directly at him because then she could see his shoulder, actually his ivory white shoulder socket which was streaked with shiny, thin grey nerves flecked with blood and if she stared too long at that-)
a darkness, a mass, a shadow-form which Steve was staring at with rapt awe, continued to stare at as the form tore the passenger door clean off its hinges and pulled Melissa Delaney out of her seat and into the frozen night air.
“Do you want to play with me, little girl?” the voice boomed. “I think we should all go back to your house and play, don’t you, little girl?”
Melissa sobbed uncontrollably, pissing her designer jeans, vomiting on her new leather jacket. The thing, the snow monster, roughly twisted her body around so that now she was only inches away from it, inches away from a face which held in its terror all the dark hate she held in her soul.
“I think we’re all going to go back to your house and play some really fun games,” the terrible mouth in the terrible face said, “and then we’re going to have a special treat!”
* * *
"What is he doing up so late at night?" Janet Delaney said to her husband, pulling into the driveway after picking him up from the airport.
"Hey there sport, what are you doing?" Micheal yelled to Mickey, who was working busily in their backyard.
“I’m helping Mr. Frosty make some statues," Mickey cheerfully replied to the approaching form of his father.
"Well I'll be!" Michael said as he looked over the three life-sized snow statues which stood in a straight line right next to Mr. Frosty. "Hey Janet, come here."
“No thanks," she said from the back door. ”I'm tired and hungry and want to go to bed."
“All right," he said back, then turned to Mickey. “Son, these statues of your sister, Steve, and Bobby are some of your best yet.”
“Thanks, Dad," Mickey said, "but I was just helping out Mr. Frosty. He really made them. I was just helping him because I was having a bad dream and he helped it go away."
“Okay, sport," Micheal Delaney chuckled, "if that's what you say. Why don't we go in and get a big cup of hot chocolate and warm up?”
"Sure," Mickey said, following his father toward the house.
Micheal Delaney allowed himself one last look over his shoulder at the statues, and if he had been a more observant, he would have seen droplets of water forming around the eyes of the Melissa statue, would have been truly amazed to see its mouth move ever-so-slightly in a silent scream.
But Micheal Delaney was a dull, pedantic man, and the last thought which filtered through his suburban mind was the notion that the weather was supposed to be rainy and in the mid-forties for the next three days.
Weather which was not good at all for statues made of snow.