Snow Falling In Colours

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Snow Falling In Colours

Copyright 2015 Lee A Jackson

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The heavy vermillion brushstrokes streak across the canvas of the morning sky like a scathing wound, hovering like elegant echoes from the battle of yesterday. Away on the horizon sits hills, too distant to be comprehended in size as they lay idling under the rising sun, waiting patiently in shadows formed by the low sitting clouds. Warm winds whisper across the barren plains below, collecting dark ash along for the journey across an earth that never stands still.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday everything stood still and the sun never got to shine. The Dark Day descended upon us and stole away our hours.

Wind, colder with elevation, gently ruffles a long black coat about my legs. It’s a wind that tousles my unkempt black hair and stings at my tired eyes. The new light almost burning through the fragility of my corneas.

From the edge of the cliff, I stare across into the eastern sky of blood, aware that at my feet a cavernous drop to rocky wastelands beckons. But I’m not here for the beauty of the new day. Neither am I here to let the rocks below devour me. I’m here because yesterday morning, when the sun was high, I found Hope up here amongst the isolation. I am back to check that Hope never died in yesterday’s gloom.

Staring at the hills today they look different. I wonder if maybe after the horrors of yesterday, they are now not as they first appear. Are they blacker in their shadow? Have they grown? If only I could get closer to them in order confirm new thoughts abound in my head. Thoughts that I can’t push away. Sinister ideas that perhaps the hills are hiding in a veil of shadow because they are no longer made of the earth, but instead of those that dwelt upon its surface. What if I were to fly from this cliff over to those hills? Would I find them to be not soil and rock and moss, but instead, bodies of the deceased, piled upon one another? Thousands upon thousands of decaying remnants of human bodies forming new hills upon the scarred earth.

Is that why the sky has turned red this morning? Has the sky now been forever stained by the blood of the bodies in those hills? The bodies of the fallen masses that lay down at the end of the world when the Dark Day came and prematurely stole away the townsfolk. Maybe the scarlet sky is a sign that we have been judged. Maybe too the rivers will run red when the autumnal rains come from these clouds, and perhaps crystals of crimson will fall instead when the winter follows on from that. When the snow falls in colours other than pristine white, we will remember the coming of the Dark Day.

It all went beyond wonder and fascination when we heard the first child cry through the darkness. The gloom had first crept over the town just minutes before noon. From upon this cliff yesterday morning I saw the horizon darkening. When I got back to town we all saw the dark clouds coming and misread them as another thunder storm ready to break the monotony of the hot and humid summer. Everyone who had no business outside quickly hustled themselves behind closed doors, ready to let the Heavens open and pour forth its fury.

We waited. We waited indoors but no rain fell. No thunder rolled across the hills bellowing stark warnings to us. Instead the darkness kept coming, kept growing. It silently settled above and around us like a leathered black glove smothering the entire town, suffocating us into morbid panic. The sun had given in without much of a fight as the heavy blackness consumed the town.

As the shadows crept towards us, the river disappeared into its dark banks, and likewise the shadows themselves then became lost beneath a black blanket of heavy, dense air. Air that smelled caustic and earthy like the first burning of freshly cut firewood sucking up old ashes into its flames. It was a dark air, sinister in its all-consuming presence. People fear things in the still of night, but when that night appears in front of your eyes in the middle of the afternoon it brings new terrors. But this peculiar night wasn’t still. Looking deep into it I could see movement, dancing particles of the nadir that besieged us. Curiously I couldn’t resist, and when I stuck out my hand into that dense air to touch it, I watched in horror as my fingers were immediately covered with a plague of black ash.

“Bring in the candles!” Came a desperate cry through the descending, unheralded night, almost as an immediate response to that first scream from a scared child. It was the time of day when people should be rising from their midday breaks, yet a strange, full night was upon us. A night without stars, without a shimmering moon. Just layer upon layer of a night that didn’t belong, and it was only a short time after the child wailed, that the cry for candles came, and everyone could silently sense something was seriously wrong.

"I choose, for one, to meet Him face to face,” someone shouted through the dark. The same voice of reverence that had called for the light. Davenport, one of the town’s elders. In between his words I could hear his laboured breaths and imagined his lungs filling with the falling plague that had smothered my hand. “No faithless servant frightened from my task, But ready when the Lord of the harvest calls; And therefore, with all reverence, I would say, Let God do His work, we will see to ours. Bring in the candles."

I kick at a loose stone that falls away over the edge of the cliff, scuffing up a puff of shady dust and I attempt to track its course as it succumbs to gravity. After losing the stone I ponder out at the sight of a black veil screening the earth as far as I can see. A world painted black. What if I’m the only one left standing? Maybe we ourselves caused the cancerous darkness that formed those new hills? Everybody walks the earth with their darkness, all locked deeply away behind emotionless shrouds. Maybe the darkness and evils inside could not be contained any longer and it spread like wildfire across the earth.

Soon the candles had come to life. The resilient flickering of small stars dancing through the night. I sat with mine on a cold floor, staring out of a window that offered me nothing but an inward reflection of my own soul. Inside my own inner darkness rested Hope. The Hope that I had found earlier that very morning under a blazing May sun. Sitting there watching the candles burn like fireflies I thought of Hope, and imagined her dancing her way carelessly through the augury of evil that had come, not blinded by the gloom. Hope is the anchor that weighs me down to my life. Without Hope I feel nothing. Every thought in my head is borne from her, for she is every next breath that will fill my lungs, she is the beautiful wife I will one day claim, she is the abolisher of fear and depression. Without Hope I would not be standing here this morning.

It was only a few hours into the ordeal yesterday when the first whispers of the Day of Judgement were heard. The whispers of Judgement came and they spread across the town as relentlessly as the fallen day. Was I ready to be judged, sitting there alone in the darkness with no-one to reap the consequences of my sin but me? I didn’t believe that I would be judged because of what I had found at the end of the isolated cliff top path. What I had found stilled me in the darkness, a resolute calm inside me that the darkness would not last forever.

But for some the darkness was the end. The sky crashing down, the onset of the apocalypse. As the time drew on slowly I heard more and more heavy moments from within the belly of the black beast. Sounds of the people who were trying to flee the end of the world, trying to save their souls. The darkness however would offer them no mercy for I co

uld hear them falling, letting out terrified screams of pain. I could hear them scrabbling across the ground, crawling, nails digging at the earth, lungs gasping for fresh air. I wanted to shut my ears to it all, for I knew stepping out into that evil mass would be nothing but foolhardy. I couldn’t save them out there, I’d be no more use in the pitch black than their futile attempts to escape. Out there I pictured the pious crawling blindly on their knees in supplication and prayer, almost calmly willing to accept the higher will and the black ash burning their faces as their heads turned to where the sky should be. Similarly I imagined the sinners too in the dark, pleading for one final chance to purge their souls before being judged, desperate not to be swallowed in darkness forever. As hard as I tried to detached myself from the voices, each and every one still stabbed at my soul and so to barrier myself against the transgression of turning a blind eye, I thought some more of Hope.

Maybe now I’m the only one alive for I saw no-one else this morning. Maybe I was just the first to arise, or the only one to do so. Maybe, it is to the bloodied hills that life’s laws have led the rest of them, for every righteous belief they made to themselves surely bore a snake-pit clause that would have appeared to them in that gloomy night, driving them to an eternal shelter. Poor souls, racing in parochial tunnels against burnt out light when the sun died, shielding their eyes from the blackness.

But why would I survive? Maybe because I could feel that the Dark Day was neither evil nor divine. Maybe it was just the earth kicking up a storm so it could laugh at our inabilities to cope with anything but the puritanical paths we’re led down.

Just thoughts, thoughts in my head as I bide my time, almost stalling in case there is a new addition to what I found up here yesterday. But I know what awaits me at the end of the path. I know because I can feel the wind against my face and I don’t need to wonder why it isn’t behind me, pushing me to my death. I know it is because Hope has yet to die. I turn my back to the decomposing hills upon the landscape and let the wind brush me across the cliff top path.

It was hard to believe that the morning would ever come again. That’s why at the first glint of light I came up here to see Hope. The cliff top is occupied by me, just this one and only living soul. In my black coat for protection against an anomalous, chilling wind, I can stand once more in front of the reason my thoughts have not been polluted.

The small, solemn, solitary mausoleum stands as a uniform object in an abstract world. ‘Rest in Eternity’ - cold letters carved in stone offer the weak locution above the arched entranceway. Despite its perfect angles of construction, in a roughly sculpted landscape, the mausoleum is in juxtaposition with its strict lines. To fit its surroundings, it would need to be uneven, with more imperfections than smooth surfaces. It would need crevices and fissures blighting its surface. This is not the case.

Inside again I find no body, no fancy coffin decorated with brass and intricate insignias. Just a dirt floor with four tombstones planted in the soil. I read each one again, almost for confirmation that what I saw the first time I found this place was correct. Knelt on the floor I trace a finger over the carved name of the closest headstone. ‘Charity.’ Sure enough the others still read the same. The same engraved names.




Symbolic of the decaying black world outside. The death of Charity. The death of Silence. The death of Wisdom and the death of Love.

Gone behind the eternal cloud. It must be an empty world up in the sky, where your soul gets to watch the world suffering from. Maybe you suffer forever in Heaven, unable to help.

A nod of my head. The second visit confirms for me that although the desolation is rife, the bodies have mounted up, but all is not dying within this tomb. ‘Hope’ has yet to die. “Hope’ has not been interred here.

Maybe Hope is clinging to the belief that Charity will be resurrected. That Charity will breathe new life into Wisdom. That wisdom will kick-start Love. The magic circle. Maybe the snow will once again only fall in white.


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Lee A Jackson

About the author:

I began writing in my mid to late teens, sequestered away in my bedroom in rural south west England. The writing was borne out of a need to express myself and to communicate with the world, something I was not good at doing verbally. It became an outlet for me and my writing grew with me through the years.

For the longest time I had a fear of being forgotten and the way I figured to combat that would be to have a published book sat on a library shelf somewhere. I would have indelibly left my mark somewhere, long after I passed. To this day, the enduring nature of my words in print following my end, is comforting.

Other titles by Lee A Jackson

A Soul of Stone

A Cerberus Jaw

The Salvation of Sam

Twenty Minutes Later

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