The Vast

She stares out of the invisible window with glassy black eyes. Snow is falling. Snow has been falling, of course, every day for such a long time that she can't even begin to remember what green grass looks like, let alone the last time the fields beyond that non-existant window were plagued with it's color. The snow is white, pure, like the walls of her bedroom, the ceiling, the floor, the bedsheets... even the white bedside table with it's white light. It is almost as if she is color blind. She isn't, however, and she knows that somewhere out in the vast a red spec wanders. She wonders why the snow hasn't yet covered the entire globe six feet deep as she sits on a white chair in her white room watching the white snow fall from the white sky.
The door hisses and squeaks open, producing that nauseating metal-on-metal noise that makes people visibly wince. Mike steps into the room in a red shirt, always a red shirt; the only splash of color in the room, like a bloody gash on pale skin. She doesn't turn to acknowledge him. She must never take her eyes away from the falling snow, for that's when the red spec will come, she knows it.
Mike must have loved her at one point in time, she thinks, though she doesn't remember why. She doesn't even know how she remembers that his name is Mike, but she does, and it is. Mike comes to visit her every day. His visits are as promising as the falling snow. He talks about the world and the weather, his family, and an infant child he calls Elyse. Mike talks to her for hours each day, and sometimes he holds her han. Once or twice, she thinks she has heard Mike crying, but she isn't sure. "Who?" he always asks her, but she can never remember what he is asking her about.
At the end of Mike's visit, he always stands, kisses her temple, and leaves without saying goodbye, the rusty door groaning as it shuts behind him. She wonders if she had ever loved Mike. She certainly doesn't remember his face.

As the day plods slowly along, the snow falls even more heavily outside, until it is a curtain of pure white. Someone else visits her once or twice, but never talks. She never talks to them, either, of course. She never talks to anyone.
At night she is torchered by a reoccuring nightmare. She is surrounded by snow on all sides, the only thing that is a possible comfort. Somewhere in the distance there is a spec of color, a tiny flicker of red, but she can't quite make out it's shape. She is running; running from that spec of red.
"Who is it?" Mike's voice echoes, but she can't stop running into the endless snow. Suddenly, she is in her white room, but this time there is no window to watch the snow. Instead, she looks down at her wrists, which are bound in white gauze, a bit of blood seeping through, like the spec in the snowstorm. "Who?" Mike again asks, and she thinks she hears a baby crying.

Mike visits again, as usual, while she stares out at the snowflakes. Today he talks about his mother's pumpkin pie, and a holiday he calls Christmas. She thinks she has heard that word before, but she cannot search her memory. She focuses on the snow.
She tries, at least. All of the while the wheels are turning, brushing away cobwebs and restarting the old memories, but her mind is being clouded by the snow. She is reaching for that final answer, but the snow is falling thicker by the second.
"I'm taking Elyse to visit Santa Claus today," Mike finishes, standing to kiss her temple.
Suddenly, she can see it in the furious snowstorm that has been holding her mind hostage. A spec of red dwadles in distance, slowly growing larger. She must run! She must not let that man catch her!
She leaps up, her white chair clattering to the white floor. Mike looks startled; in all of his visits she has never once moved a muscle, as if she has been frozen. The snow is beginning to melt. The walls are light blue and the floor is red and blue tile. She flails her arms wildly; the colors are hurting her eyes. Mike reaches out to touch her arm, but she pulls away and lets out a piercing scream, the first sound to escape the gates of her lips in a full year. She pushes Mike away; he is wearing a red shirt again. "Santa!" She screeches, "It was Santa Claus! It was Santa Claus!"
Snow begins again to fall, and her skin becomes icy cold. She collapses onto the floor in a boneless heap. Her brief glimps of color is quickly gone, covered with speed by the thick, white snow. Mike kneals beside her, looking down at her excited, child-like eyes as she stares upwards, and he finally knows. He will not take Elyse to meet Santa Claus this year... he may never.
He lifts her from the white floor and tucks her into the bed in the corner of the room. Her eyes are open, but are rapidly returning to that dull haze as her eyes find that window that's not really there, allowing her to return to the vast world of never-ending snow. He leans down, kisses her temple, and goes home so that he can love her daughter.

The end.

Disclaimer: The characters in this story are entirely fictional, and do not reflect the thoughts and/or actions of the author.