October Snowman

The air still had that chimney smell, but there was harshness to it. The wind would blow, rattling windows and bones until nothing felt safe. The cold would penetrate, but that's what it does. The dark would come early, bringing with it the misery that inspired ghost stories and superstition. The snowman knew these details better and more intimately than he knew what gave him life.

He sat on the pavement, back against the bus stop pole. The lights weren't on yet, covering the street in shadows it was unaccustomed to, and hiding him from the cars passing by. Those drivers observant enough may have caught a brief glimpse of him out of the corner of their headlights, but their subconsciouses immediately recognized him as something outside of the ordinary, and so edited him out of the waking mind. He was as a ghost, only he had no stories to accompany him.

The wind swept up as another presence made itself known. The snowman blinked, relishing the friction of his soft eyelids brushing over his eyes of ice. A dried colored leaf blew past the snowman's foot and he considered it intently. "You wish to speak to me?" His breath formed no cloud in the air as he spoke. "You have grievances?"

The leaf danced and was soon joined by other leaves, pirouetting together in the wind. Smoke emerged from the air itself, swirling through the leaves until they began to form a figure who stood before the seated snowman. The smoke twisted and writhed through the creature, and when he spoke, it passed through his lips in wreaths. "Why are you here?"

The snowman carefully rubbed his fingertips on the concrete, grinding them down until they were flat, leaving a small pile of white on the ground. "I'm necessary."

A deep grumble emanated from the smoke and leaves. "You're early."

Another long pause as the snowman carefully considered all of his surroundings excluding the figure addressing him. "I come when I come."

The figure swept it's inconsistent arms out, gesturing at the world the snowman considered. "You're making them miserable. Can't you feel their tears, their anguish?"

The snowman looked into the whirling leaves, a reproachful look in his clear eyes. "I know them. I've known their joy as they nestle close to loved ones, safe from me. I've known their fear as they try and make their way home through me; And yes, I know their tears. I'm made from their tears." A small smile appeared on his face, creating a small crack that ran from the edge of his lips to behind his right ear. "And yet I can't cry, only melt."

"Then why are you here?" The figure's voice raised, desperation resonating in it. "You're not supposed to be here yet."

"I come when I come." The snowman repeated, then shrugged, feeling the soft crunch as his shoulders moved. "What do you know of it?"

"I know their wonder." The whirling smoke moved closer to the snowman. "I know the peace they feel when they watch the leaves fall. I know the sense of awe as they feel my warm, damp wind in their nostrils. I know their happiness."

The snowman appraised the form before reaching out and plucking a leaf from his figure. At his touch, the leaf lost all color it had remaining, drying into a husk and blowing into nothing. "They will feel these things again, just as they will feel the sadness again. We do not bow to their whims, we are unchanging. That is the nature of life." The snowman took a deep breath in, feeling the cold sting his lungs, as always. With a mighty breath, he exhaled a cold gale that scattered the leaves and smoke, leaving nothing behind. The snowman watched the air where the leaves had once been.

"Unchanging..." He uttered in lament, before stiffly standing and walking away from the bus stop, leaving a bit of himself with every step he took.