Aphelion Issue 274, Volume 26
July 2022
 
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Frosty

by Ben Whittaker


At 3:24am on a chilly December morning, a strange object fell into the Anderson's back yard. It was small and dark, and it was silent as it plummeted from the heavens. It landed softly on the snow, barely making a sound. There it lay as the night continued into the quiet hours of the morning. Nothing moved.

####

The next day little Bobby Anderson, age 8, went into the backyard, bundled up so warmly that it had become difficult to move. As he played in the snow, Bobby noticed something lying in the snow bank. It was black and cylindrical, with a flat disc on the bottom. Although the object was stiff, it was covered in what seemed to be a smooth fabric, rather like silk. It looked like a hat.

"Sweet!" exclaimed Bobby. "Now I can finish my snowman!" Bobby ran clumsily towards his snowman, freshly made the previous day. It had a corncob pipe and a button nose and two eyes made out of coal. Bobby placed the hat on the snowman's head, and found it to be quite adorable. There was still a speck of frost on the hat, and so Bobby reached up and breathed on it, warming the black object.

Suddenly the hat lit up, its circuitry flashing and the mechanical devices inside whirring. The alien pod extended several metal fingers deep into the snowy flesh of the snowman, instilling it with life. It found the coal, and greedily began consuming its carbon to create an assortment of biological molecules. The snowman began to move as the life-form inside the pod used it as a vehicle.

"Oh gosh, it's alive!" screamed Bobby. "My dreams have finally come true! Oh Frosty, we're going to have so much fun! We'll have snowball fights and make snow forts, and during the summer you can live in my freezer!"

Curious about what this strange, loud, fuzzy thing was, the alien snowman, recognizing himself as 'Frosty,' proceeded to perform research on the creature the only way it knew how. Frosty shot out several long spider-like metal fingers into the boy's body, injecting a substance. Bobby's body went rigid, and the boy could only look at Frosty, his face full of disappointment at the violence his new friend was exhibiting, before convulsing and eventually dying. Then Frosty slowly drew the boy into its snowy body and digested him, performing chemical, biological, and neural analysis.

Specimen Identified:
//Carbon-based life-form
//Ape Descendant
//Still thinks digital watches are cool
//
//More specimens required for complete analysis

Frosty, fascinated by these digital-watch loving beings, slowly hopped away, leaving a thumpity-thump-thump sound as he traveled over the hills of snow, little Bobby Anderson tucked quietly away in its interior. Eventually, Frosty found an abandoned warehouse, which looked like the perfect place to set up base.

####

Ms. Jones walked down the steps in her small, ramshackle house on 5th Street, carefully stepping over several cats to do so. She walked to the kitchen and opened one of the grimy cupboards, overflowing with cat food. Mrs. Jones took several cans and opened them one by one as cat after cat after cat came strolling towards her, meowing constantly. Finally she had opened all the cans and set them on the floor. Mrs. Jones then began counting her cats. 1, 2, 3... 27, 28, 29... 37, 38 -- She counted them again. 1, 2... 38. There was no denying it. There were only thirty-eight. Four of her precious babies were missing.

Jim Henderson was walking briskly on his way to work, having difficulty making his way through the deep snow. He worked at nine, and it was already eight fifty-seven. Jim had been late three times this week alone, and if he was late again, it was very likely that he wouldn't need to worry about getting to work on time anymore.

Jim walked by the abandoned warehouse on Bay Street every day on his way to work, but today seemed different. Against his better judgment Jim stopped to look at the building. It was large, taking up roughly half of the block. It was three stories tall, but Jim assumed it was just a big empty box with only a floor, four walls, and a ceiling.

Finally, Jim figured out what was different. The door was open. Jim knew that the warehouse was abandoned and hadn't been used in years, and that there were even talks of demolishing it if no one bought it. So why was the door open?

Jim, temporarily forgetting that he was now officially late for work, slowly peeked his head in the door. What he saw simultaneously terrified and astonished him with beauty.

The majority of the surfaces in the building were covered in snow. It was odd snow, the likes of which Jim had never seen before, but it was definitely snow. It reached out in long tendrils, ensnaring pillars and fixtures in the warehouse. The snow even formed pillars itself, as if it was forming a sort of cave. Scattered about the snow were icy bubbles, and in the centre of each one was a dark shape. Jim stepped closer, and saw that the shapes were bodies. Most of them were human, but there were a few cats as well. Each one had a variety of metal rods and an assortment of tubes extending out of their bodies.

Jim had become scared now, and turned to leave. Before he could do so, the door slammed shut, and frosted over with a thick sheet of ice.

"Excuse me," said a voice coming from the centre of the room. It had a vibrating quality, as if it was spoken in a hall of mirrors, and Jim couldn't tell if the speaker was male or female.

Jim turned around to face the voice, his skin ivory and blood-free -- whether from the cold or the terror, it was hard to tell.

In the centre of the warehouse, a large pillar of snow, easily as wide as a giant sequoia tree from California. The pillar had opened up, revealing an icy, semi-human face, with a small cat nose and icy little cat whiskers. Long metal spindles dropped in from the ceiling, manipulating a small object. "Do you know what this is?"

Jim, rather befuddled, walked towards the giant icy face. Suspended in the clear, solid head was a small, cylindrical black object, flashing in a variety of neon colours, lighting up the cat-face almost joyfully.

"I can't tell what this is," said the icy head, its lips immobile. "Is it alive? Was it alive? It has biological compounds in it, but there are so many inorganic chemicals in it, it's hard to tell."

Jim had reached the giant head, and noticed it was at least twice his size. It was almost comical, or at least it would be, if it weren't so terrifying. Jim looked carefully at the object the giant head was handling. It was made in layers, the top and bottom of which was beige, and the insides of which included a variety of colours and textures, including crumbly brown, leafy green, and a sort of soggy red.

"I- i- it's a B- Big Mac," stammered Jim.

"Fascinating, truly fascinating," said the giant ice head. "What does that mean, exactly?"

"Well," began Jim, not sure how to explain a Big Mac to a giant talking flashing head made of ice. "It's food. Sort of. I'm sorry, but what the hell are you and why do you have dead bodies frozen in the ice?"

"Oh, I'm sorry," said the giant ice head. "My name is Frosty. I'm here researching this strange lump of rock flying around a burning ball of hydrogen gas. I think you call it the Arth?"

Jim, rather surprised that he had not already soiled himself, resigned himself to the idea that he was talking to a giant icy head. It was now fact, plain and simple. He was not hallucinating. "Earth, actually. We call it Earth."

"Fascinating," said Frosty, moving the Big Mac upwards in the giant pillar, storing it a newly grown clear area, much like the bodies. "Well I'm not from this Earth of yours, and I'm here to learn as much about it as I can."

"And the bodies?" asked Jim.

"Ah, well, I have to learn about the native life-forms somehow. Now that I have scanned your language, and can just 'ask nicely,' rather than killing a life-form and scanning its brain and other organs for information about your flying rock and its inhabitants. Apparently this 'asking nicely' is favourable on this rock?"

"Typically, yeah. So, you're an alien then?"

"I suppose so, sure. I'm not exactly green, but from what the brain scans tell me, I suppose the correct word is alien."

"And all of this ice?"

"Well that's me. Look, wiggle your, oh what do you call them... those stubby things on the end of your arms."

"Fingers?"

"Yes, fingers, wiggle them."

Jim did so. In response, Frosty extended several tentacles from the ceiling and waved them about. "See?"

"Wow..."

Frosty basked in the reverence coming from this strange little pink thing. "Want to see more?"

"Sure!"

Frosty lifted Jim high above the ground with an icy tentacle and into the high lofts of the warehouse. "The brain scans tell me that this is a very popular game," said Frosty, setting Jim down one of a myriad of freshly forming snowy pathways. The tentacle that lifted him up there then tapped him on the shoulder. "Tag, you're it!"

Several hours later, Jim fell asleep from exhaustion. Tag, cops and robbers, and other games Jim had not played since childhood. Frosty even knew of some activities that were a bit more complex and certainly not childish in nature. Frosty carefully tucked Jim into an icy recess in its snowy flesh, and began to sing him a lullaby.

Frosty the snowman
was a bloody kind of soul,
With a corncob pipe and a button nose,
And two eyes made out of coal.
Frosty the snowman
is a fairy tale, they say,
He was made of snow but the children
know how he killed people one day.
There must have been some magic in
That alien robot pod they found.
For when they placed it on his head,
He began to slaughter the town
Oh, Frosty the snowman
Was alive as he could be,
And the children say he could kill
And slay people just like you and me.
Thumpity thump thump,
Thumpity thump thump,
Look at Frosty go.
Thumpity thump thump,
Thumpity thump thump,
Oh how the heads roll!
Frosty the snowman knew
The sun was hot that day,
So he said, 'Don't run and
Soon you'll be done
now before I melt away.'
Down to the village,
With a chainsaw in his hand,
Running here and there all
Around the square saying,
"Stop me if you can!"
He stalked them down
the streets of town
Right to the traffic cop.
And he only paused a moment when
He heard him holler 'Stop!'
(And then he killed him)
Frosty the snowman
Had to hurry on his way,
But he waved goodbye saying,
'Don't you cry,
I'll kill you again some day.'
Thumpetty thump thump,
Thumpety thump thump,
Look at Frosty go.
Thumpetty thump thump,
Thumpety thump thump,
Oh how the heads roll!

####

Mrs. Jones was worried now. Twenty-one of her cats had gone missing -- exactly one half of her precious darlings were gone. It had been over a week since she had noticed the first couple were missing, and they had been slowly slipping away ever since. And these were not the only disappearances in the neighbourhood either. The Andersons had been running up and down the street, looking for their little brat. Served him right. He had looked at Mr. Snuffles, Mrs. Jones' most favourite of all her fuzzy little children. The snot-nosed kid deserved to be kidnapped and raped by some perverted freak. And Angela had said that Beatrice heard from Melanie who heard from Mrs. Connors who heard from her cousin Jeanne that Lorrie-Anne Henderson's son had gone missing. What a nice boy he was, thought Mrs. Jones. Such a kind soul. He certainly never looked at her cats.

Mrs. Jones heard a rustle and a stifled meow in her back yard. That meow was unmistakable.

"Mr. Snuffles!" she yelled, rushing through the back door and into her yard. She arrived just in time to see her wonderful Mr. Snuffles taken away by a horrid and shameful creature. It wasn't even wearing any clothes! Half of it was human skin, pale and cold, the other half was snow and ice. It ran away before she could see much more, and it took her lovely Mr. Snuffles with it. Well, she was going to see about that.

Jim arrived back at Frosty's warehouse, hoping that his master would appreciate the newest catch. It was safely encased in the ice that now made up his chest -- his master had been so kind as to bestow him with the same biotic dihydrogen oxide crystals that made up his master's body. At the moment, he was only like his master from roughly his waist down, in addition to his chest, left side and left arm. His master had promised him a full transition, as soon as it could figure out how to translate his brain data without loosing or duplicating his stream of consciousness.

"I brought you something Master Frosty," said Jim, taking out the cat. The ice encasement had not killed it, only made it temporarily woozy.

"Excellent," said Frosty, reaching out for the cat with many of its long, spidery metal fingers. "Cats always fascinate me so. I can never get enough of them."

Jim had collected a variety of specimens for his master to study. Cats, dogs, children, men, women, lampshades, mailboxes, carboard, you name it. It all fascinated his master, and that made Jim happy.

Jim stroked the nearest tentacle lovingly, holding it in his embrace. "When can I be like you, Master?" he asked.

"Soon, enough, soon enough."

Suddenly, there was a thump coming from outside the warehouse, quickly followed by a bang. "What's going on?" asked Frosty. Jim was quick to burst outside and see what was attacking his master's grand home.

Fire raged around the abandoned warehouse as Mrs. Jones stepped back to admire her handiwork. She may have been an old woman, but she had been a Young Wilderness Adventurer in her earlier years, and she knew how to set a fire. She wasn't worried about Mr. Snuffles -- he still had seven lives to go.. She certainly wasn't worried about the evil thug that stole her precious Snuggle-Wufflums. He could rot in hell for all she cared.

Mrs. Jones watched the flames quickly climb up the warehouse walls, melting the snow on top of the building and surrounding it. It was tricky business lighting a fire in winter, but the results were spectacular when the firefighters arrived later. Oh how the water would freeze into such beautiful formations. But that, of course, would not happen until after the building was sitting on the ground in ashes and the scum who stole her cat was there with it.

Jim screamed with agony as his master began to melt. "Master, no!" he cried, his voice becoming hoarse and his throat succumbing to pain. "No!" Tongues of flame reached around the rafters, quickly reducing his master to a series of large puddles. Jim tried to stop it, but alas, whenever he got close, he began to melt.

"Jim, help me!" his master cried. Its voice was becoming weak and wavery as its body turned to liquid. "Help me!"

But Jim was soon lying on the floor, his blood mixing with his melted master, turning the water a dark red. Jim had melted; the heat had become too much for him.

"I'm sorry Jim," whispered Frosty. Seeing that its time here on this rock was at an end, Frosty pulled its consciousness back into its pod, and fired it high into the heavens.

From outside the warehouse, Mrs. Jones felt a shockwave, as if a volatile liquid had exploded within the building. She then saw a small black object fly into the sky, and it soon became a small speck, which in turn became invisible. Another object came flying out of the explosion, but this one was fuzzy. "Mr. Snuffles!" shouted Mrs. Jones as she grabbed her cat. "Let's go home honey," she said, stroking the feline behind its ears. As she walked away from the burning building, Mrs. Jones heard sirens in the background as she left, and thought it best to walk a little more quickly. Damn hooligans, she thought. Can't they leave an old woman alone?

THE END


© 2008 Ben Whittaker

Bio: Ben Whittaker, 17, is a high school Creative Writing student. He someday aspires to be a university student and travel to Tokyo, Japan. He also perfers Canadian winters as opposed to Canadian summers, and has an ego the size of a small country.

E-mail: Ben Whittaker

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