Flutter and Snap

Some go up, many go down, and some lay nestled in my collar — little drops of white sky come down to play like an aria from a choir loft over the town’s great congregation. And like a congregation, most of them were asleep. We were nestled like the snowflakes in a tree, about twenty feet from the frozen grass shining like brittle silver blades in the moonlight. This tree, standing among many others of various kinds, was an evergreen. The fragrant sap stuck to our hands as our hands stuck to the slender, waving branches. It swayed a little in the breezes.
Flutter, flutter came the flakes, like our thoughts that night. We were high in the tree on glee, thinking of happy futures and halcyon pasts. Snow kissed our cheeks and lips, melted on our noses and nested momentarily in our eyelashes.
We heard a sound in the bracken some fifty feet from us. Snap, snap, and the sound of something being dragged. Our eyes roamed curiously over the wood, but we weren’t spooked. It would not have been easy to spook anyone in our state on that glistening night. Snap, snap, crack again. Not more than a few seconds later, we heard the noise of something breaking through the brush at the edge of the wood. We couldn’t see anything. But we were sure our eyes didn’t deceive us – we knew something was there. We had half a mind to invite it up, whatever it was, and ask if it had any hot chocolate to share.
We had been scanning the landscape furiously, looking in vain each time we heard it, but then, there it was, although vaguely. If it was a color, it was perhaps black, with silver and gold lines that seemed to move, to swoop and swoon over its surface. Its movement sounded like dragging, but it looked more like gliding. All around it, the snow swirled, hopped, and played, nearly singing, as though we were watching a score play out before us in snow notes on wind staffs, so overjoyed it was to be near the mysterious object.
Then we heard footsteps.
Trudge, trudge, trudge.
Suddenly came the moment in which we lost our lighthearted bravado, for the tree began to shake. Great, mammoth shakes, as though someone wanted all the pine cones to fall with no dilly-dallying. We were slung back and forth, holding on with all our strength.
“You there,” shouted someone we couldn’t see. “Fancy a hot chocolate?” he laughed.
Trudge, trudge, trudge.
As the object glided away, we were sure we could see a dim, but rich, deep red. And we heard bells.
In a turn of traditional events, we tumbled into the house a few moments later to find hot mugs of chocolate and a cheery, snapping fire near the tree.
I’d join you if I had the time, read a filigreed note under the mugs.

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