One day, on a cold winter night, a single snowflake fell from the sky. Unique in its appearance, like all snowflakes, it fluttered down like a feather. After a minute or two, it landed on the ground.
It suddenly sprang to life.
Breathing as if it had held it's breathe for years, it said, "Alive... alive... hot, need... cold..."
He stumbled towards a nearby snow pile, exhausted already by the suns hot rays. As it climbed on top of the pile, he looked around. His eyes focused on a lot candle, high up on a houses windowsill. Inside he could make out two humans. The candle continued to be the center of attention, and, carrying some snow to keep him cool, he walked towards the house.
Already at the door, he slipped under it, walking inside. He heard a feminine voice yell, "Jimmy! Time to clean your room!"
He continued to walk, making sure to hide from the colossal humans. The voice yelled again. "JIMMY!"
Another said, "Fine, I'll be right there!"
Loud stomps erupted from the stairs, and a human child came down. He scrambled to avoid the kids feet, but he got past him, and continued the trek to the parents bedroom, where the candle was.
Eventually he was on the warm carpeting of the bedroom, and he saw the flame from the candle, high above him. "HELLO?" he yelled. The flame made a swift movement towards him, and said, "Hello? Who's there?"
The flame looked down and saw the tiny snowflake. It climbed up. "HI!" he said.
"Oh... Hello! What're you doing?"
Getting closer, he replied, "Well, I just got here, and I looked over here and noticed you standing there! So I thought I'd say hi!"
She smiled to herself. "Well, that's very nice of you!"
After finally getting to the top, the snowflake said, "How're you today?" and stuck out his hand for a handshake.
She replied "I'm doing very well, thank you," and she shook his hand. It began to burn him, as he began to scream. "Oh, oh, I'm sorry! Not again!"
He ran to his tiny pile of snow he had brought with him, and rubbed some on his burnt hand. The fire burning him quickly burnt out, and he was good as new. "It's, uh, it's alright! I'll just be more careful to keep my distance," he said, and sat down next to her.
"Yeah! Wanna talk?"
Confused, she said, "...Most of the people I know run away after that..."
He frowned. "Well, I don't think that's very fair. Everyone deserves a chance."
"I guess," she said, and looked at him. "How're you today?"
"I don't know. I just got here. What are those things outside?"
She was unresponsive, until he said, "The giants."
"Oh! Well, the big one with the bruises all over her, that's 'Mom'. She lost her lover a while ago, but she seems happy about it. The other one, that's Mike. I think he's her son, but I wouldn't know, 'cuz he never comes out. He stays in his room all the time and locks the door."
"They're not mean, thought," said the Flame. "Except for Jimmy. He's a brat."
"Tell me about it, he almost squashed me."
She laughed, and then he laughed. They talked for hours, until the sun rose.
"Oh," he said. "I better be getting back to the snow," he said. "Maybe I'll see you later?"
"I'd love to!" She said.
He looked around. How would he get down? He couldn't make another run back outside through the front door.
"Oh," she said, "The windows screen is closed, but you could squeeze through!"
He tried to squeeze through, but he got stuck between it. No, no, not now! He thought. He chuckled. "Looks like I'm in a bit of trouble."
"I'd help you, but..."
"It's fine," he said, "It's perfectly-"
"FIIIIINE!" he said, as he fell onto the snow.
She giggled, and said, "...Thank you."
ONE WEEK LATER
"So," the snowflake said, "What's life like in here?"
The flame smiled, and was about to grab his hand, but remembered what happened, and kept to herself. "It's fine, but it's especially lonely. None of the humans know me. I can't move too much unless they move me, otherwise I set things on fire."
"...I'm sorry." He looked down, sullen.
"It's just," he said, "It's so sad to not even be able to touch anything. I'm so sorry."
"It's not your fault. I was born this way."
Suddenly he got an idea. "Well, what if I made something? So you could at least touch me? It's better than nothing..."
"Really? I mean, as kind as it is, we've only known each other for like, a week. Are you sure you want to-"
"Yeah," he said, almost too quickly. "It'd be my pleasure!"
The look on her face, rather than being excitement or happiness, was one of suspicion. "What's wrong?" He said.
She looked at him as if he was an alien. "No ones ever this nice to me. It's just... weird, to hear this."
"That's not right," he said. "It should never be strange to hear a compliment."
"Well, I gue-"
They heard the mother. "No, Ryan, you're not coming back, and you're not seeing the kids."
"Who's she talking to?"
The flame whispered, "I don't know. She talks to herself, and she always holds this thing up to her ear when she does it."
"I'll call the police, then! You're not seeing them just so you can HIT THEM AGAIN!"
The snowflake heard footsteps. They were coming closer to the bedroom.
"I better go. I'll see you later."
"Goodbye," she said. "Be careful."
He squeezed through the screen door of the window, and jumped down to the snowy ground. He looked up the the flame. He smiled.
ONE MONTH LATER
The snowflake walked toward the house. The candle wasn't there. Where was she?
He looked down to see the candle in the grass. Snow had nearly extinguished the flame, and there was only a red spark left.
"Oh god," he said, "HOLD ON!" He gathered some grass and sticks, bringing them over to the dwindling flame. He surrounded her with them, and lit a grass blade on fire.
He then used it to light the crude thing aflame, making the lit candle melt and the living flame grow.
"Are- are you okay?"
"Y-yes..." she said. "...thank you..." She shivered.
"I-I don't know... the mom was talking to herself again and said something about 'dome estick violence" and cried... She was throwing things and shouting, and I fell down..."
"I'm sorry, " he said, "I should've been there quicker..." He tried to cradle her, but quickly jumped back due to the burning touch.
She began to cry, but the tears hurt her as well. Until she felt something touch her and surround her.
The snowflake, after covering himself in some twine, hugged her. He slowly began to melt. "I can't for very long," he said, "but I will always hug you."
He let go, and covered his watery front with more packed snow.
"I love you," the flame suddenly said. This startled the snowflake. "W-what do you mean?"
"I don't know. But... I love you. I don't know if it's... in that way, but I think I do. I don't know."
"That's fine," he said. "But we can't talk about that now. We gotta get you back up there."
"I bet we could sneak inside and back up the windowsill."
"Okay. Thank you."
"Anytime," he said, "anything for a beautiful flame."
ONE DAY LATER
The snowflake snuck in the front door. It was late at night, about a half hour after they usually met. He made sure not to let her see him; it was a surprise. Everyone was asleep. He crawled up the leg of a table. Upon climbing to the top, he found an uneaten sandwich. "Perfect." He grabbed as many crumbs as he could, and brought them down.
"Oh, hi," she said, a little relieved. "I was getting worried. I thought you we-" She stopped. Speechless.
"Oh, you didn't have to-"
He put down the bread crumbs and climbed back down. "Hold on," he said.
He came back up with a ripped off piece of the garbage bag downstairs. He spread it out on the surface of the dresser. "I fireproofed it," he said, "Uh, alum and paper. You can come out of your candle. Come on, lie down."
She looked at it. She became a flaming line, zipping through the air, and landing on the garbage bag piece.
He held a bread crumb and motioned it towards her. "Here you go," he said. Her hands approached it, but before she could grab it, it began to warm up. She pulled back.
"No, that's fine," he said. "I've seen the things in the house do this before. They warm up the bread, then they spread this soft whitish yellow stuff on it." He took a toothpick he had found, and stuck it in a small pile of butter he had brought up. Then he spread it on the crumb.
He then grabbed it. "You can't let it get too hot, so unless you're fast with your hands, you can't eat them yourself. Here, open your mouth."
He then, after concentrating, tossed the crumb at her. It landed in her mouth. "This is delicious," she said.
"Yeah, I know."
They talked and laughed for hours. They had fun as he would toss toasted bread crumbs at her, her poking him whenever he missed. Until he asked a question.
"Why does the snow melt away?"
He couldn't bring himself to look at her for some reason. "Uh, well, it seems you've been in this house for a while. Why doesn't the snow stay forever?"
"Uh... Well," she started to say, "the snow's only here for like, a quarter of the year. Then it melts away and it starts to rain a lot. Then it gets really hot. But after that the days get really nice. Or something like that."
He was astonished. "How long does that take?"
"Like, 400 days. I don't keep track."
Then the inevitable. "What... what happens to the snow?"
"It melts," she said. "It turns to water... and melts."
Wait, it never comes back? What would happen to him!? She looked at him, and suddenly realized why he looked so shocked. "Oh... oh, no, no, I didn't mean that! You're fine, you won't di-"
He interrupted with a grave, somewhat depressing tone. "That's fine. We all die sometime. I just happen to have an early deadline."
She then said, "No, no, no, you'll always be here, it's fine, yea-"
He interrupted again; not with a grave tone, or any tone. Instead he grabbed at his usual pile of twigs and grass, and spread them over his face. He then mumbled to himself, "I know I'm going to mess this up, but here goes..."
He then kissed her. Though his face began to water and slowly melt, the material on his face slowed the process. He then pulled away.
"I'm sorry. I just, I really feel so amazing when I'm with you, an-"
She then kissed him again.
They were happy. The winter season was almost over, which began to take a toll on the snowflake. When he was not with the flame, he was outside, gathering as much snow as he could, searching for a way to preserve himself to stay with her. Logic told him if he melted he would be nothing but water. But what would happen if that water was frozen?
The flame knew the snowflake would die soon, and missed him as soon as he left for the day. In the house she heard arguing and yelling quite a lot; something was very very wrong with the mother. Maybe she was scared. The flame could feel something horrible was about to happen.
But they were happy together. Some days he would trek to the dresser and spend time with her, talking, watching the cul-de-sac outside the house, and other things, but most times they didn't need words. Only each other. This went on for about a month.
A MONTH LATER
It was around 11:00. The mother was asleep, as were the kids.
The snowflake said to her, "Well, I mean, I still haven't figured it out. I mean, I'm pretty sure if I was frozen, I'd survive for a while if I was kept in a cold place. And you, you're not just a flame. You'll die if you burnt out, but what if the candle was re-lit? Or mayb-"
He stopped. He heard a knock at the front door downstairs. "What was that?" the flame said.
More knocking. They grew loud and angry. Then...
The mother jolted awake, and gathered clothes. The door had been blasted apart by something. They heard the faint sound of a gun reloading. They heard little footsteps and they heard the voice of Jimmy, the youngest child.
Silence. "Oh no," the mother said.
The mother opened the door and snuck downstairs. Another door opened; Mike. "Dad?"
No thud. Instead the footsteps of a teenager running, followed by the heavy footsteps of a... person. They didn't know who. He was laughing, whoever he was.
The snowflake looked over to the flame, both of them terrified. "W-what was that?"
"I don't know," he said. "Don't move. Pretend to be a regular lit candle."
A feminine voice. "LEAVE HIM ALONE!"
No thud. The intruder had lost track of Mike. More footsteps and some banging; there was quite a fight. She was pushed into the bedroom.
In walked a big, burly man, almost too tall to enter the room, a shotgun in hand. His eyes were bloodshot, and his speech was slurred. He threw a punch at her, and yelled. "You DO NOT TALK TO ME LIKE THAT!"
She pushed him. And he pushed her back with much more force. Her head hit the dresser, and the candle toppled over, landing on top of the snowflake. "AH," he screamed, and the flame shrieked. The dresser was on fire. The candle began to roll down, him chasing behind her. It then fell out the window, and he jumped out after her.
He landed on the warm grass. He scrambled to find the flame, and saw the candle a yard away, the flame almost out. He crawled toward it, as he began to melt.
More bangs. Another set of loud footsteps. A push.
The gun reloaded again.
There was no thud, but he looked up to see someone fall out of the same window, and land inches away from him. He couldn't tell who it was. He crawled closer to the flame. He brushed the gray snow off of her. "It's okay," he said. "I've got you." His arms embraced her, and hers his. He melted faster, as the flame shrunk.
"Don't leave," she said, "please please..."
"I won't, never, never."
He looked to the house. The inside was entirely on fire. He could hear sirens.
"I love you. It'll be okay, we'll be okay."
"It'll be okay. I promise."
The snowflake then melted entirely, leaving behind a small puddle of water. The flame then burnt out, smoke flying into the air.
It was raining. A sign lay in front of the house; KEEP OUT. The inside was charred and black.
In the front yard, there was a beautifully engraved candle. The wax, intriguingly, had not melted yet. It was surrounded by a puddle of water.
Two children approached it.
"Hey, Gabriel, look at this," the older one said. The younger one ran to him. "Yeah, Michael?"
"Look at this," he said, and knelt down to pick up the candle. "It looks awesome. I bet it'd look real cool on my dresser."
"What's all this water doing here," the younger one said. He took out a cup and scooped up the water.
"I should freeze this. Maybe put a LEGO guy in the cup with the water or something and freeze it."
"Whatever," the older one said, "you freaking weirdo. Let's go home and set these up."
They walked home, carrying the remnants of the Snowflake and the Flame.