“You died and then you got called back because I
need you. That’s what happened.” I said simply. I knew I wasn’t making any
sense to him, but he looked at me like he almost believed me.
“Well, I don’t know where I came from. I was just
here, and I felt like I was looking for someone. Maybe… maybe you’re right.” He
said as he looked at me. I looked at the Winter I’d known when he was alive and
ran my fingers through his bloody hair. “But you can’t be. That’s not
“It is. I never told him… you, that those days we
spent together were the best I’d had in a long time. I’d been so lonely. Then
he was just gone.” Yes, Winter was standing in front of me. Winter in a
different body. He didn’t seem as real. I put my hand on Winter’s forehead and
just looked at him.
“So?” Said “Harding”. It was weird to think of
him like that when I knew he was my Winter.
“So I thought I’d tell you now.” I said softly.
“But I’m not him. Why don’t you understand?” He
said sounding frustrated, and then something crazy happened.
I ran my fingers in Winter’s hair and then his
eyes fluttered open. I jumped away from him and fell backward. Harding stood in
the same place with his eyes wide. “What the hell?” He asked no one. “He’s
supposed to be dead right?” He asked me.
I got up quickly and fell back on my knees next
to Winter. His eyes were wide open and he looked terrified. “Winter!” I
shouted. I felt tears in my eyes and I felt a smile form on my face. I’d never
felt so relieved, so happy. “You’re okay!” His eyes stayed wide and he shook
his head violently. Then he squeezed his eyes shut and let out a terrible scream.
“Oh my God!” I shouted as he writhed in pain
before me. “What’s wrong?” I looked up at Harding hoping he’d have an answer.
His body shook and his wounds were bleeding again. “Oh, Winter!”
“I don’t understand.” Said Harding. “He’s been
dead, for how long?”
I looked at him and tried to think. “Since last
night. I made sure. He didn’t breath. I don’t know what’s happening.”
Winter screamed some more and I saw tears in his
eyes. He’d opened them again and I saw the pain and fear that engulfed him.
“This has to stop. What do we do?”
Harding looked around and put his head in his
hands. “Were going to have to kill him. For good.”
My eyes got wide. “No. I’m not losing him again.”
He glared at me. “You’d rather keep him here like
this.” He pointed. Winter was taking deep breaths. His face was covered in
sweat and blood and his eyes were full of fear. Then he started screaming
“No. I just want him be okay!” I said. I felt
tears in my eyes and I wiped them away quickly.
“You can’t have it all.” He said softly. I saw
Winter in him. My Winter. The one who was writhing in pain next to me. How
could he be in to places?
“You’re not Winter then.” I said to him. My eyes
filled with tears. I had thought everything would be okay. I’d thought I’d
still had him.
“No.” He said as he took a knife out of his
“Wait.” I said as I looked at him. “I owe him
this.” I turned back to Winter who was now laying there still breathing deeply,
but not shouting. His eyes were still terrified. I leaned down to him and
brushed the hair off his forehead. “I’m going to miss you. Forever. Thanks for
my life. I’ll never forget that you’re the reason I’m alive. Thank you.” I
leaned close to him and kissed his lips softly. I tear fell from my eyes and on
to the sand. Then, one after another they fell. I stood up and looked at his
eyes. They were calm. He looked safe. The tears kept falling. “Okay.” I said to
He moved forward and crouched beside Winter. He
pulled the blade up into the air and gave me a sad look. His eyes asked me if I
was sure. I shook my head yes and I watched his hand fall toward Winter’s still
beating heart. I closed my eyes and warm tears rushed down my face. It was
I felt Harding hug me. His arms crushed my spine
but I didn’t care. I needed it. I needed someone. “Avalon.” I heard Harding say
softly into my ear.
“I’m sorry.” I said back. It just hurt. I didn’t
know why it hurt so much. I mean I’d hated the kid, but now, I’d wished I’d
been, I don’t know, nicer? Then it hit me like a brick wall. My eyes flew open
and I pushed Harding away from me. Then I pulled him right back. It wasn’t
Harding, it was Winter. Harding hadn’t even known my name. “How?”
“You. I had to make it for you.” He pulled away
from me and smiled. “I’ve seen things you couldn’t imagine. I know things I
shouldn’t. I’m here because of you, and I’m not leaving. Then he turned and
smiled at Harding. “And you.” Then his smile turned into a frown. “You aren’t
making this hard for me. I know what you want.”
Harding looked angry. “Then why don’t you tell
me, because I don’t! Why doesn’t everyone just tell me who I am and what I want
because clearly you would know more than me.”
Winter smiled dangerously. “I mean what you want
now, and what you’re going to want even more later. You better just back off
now because I can tell you who wins.”
Harding blushed a bit and then got the fierce
look back on his face. “I’m not leaving.”
“I know.” Said Winter with a small smile, but you
“What are you talking about?” I asked Winter. All
this sounded weird.
He turned back to me and his sweet smile was
back. “When I died, don’t you remember talking to me?” He brushed a hair from
my face as I shook my head yes. “I was there. I talked to “God” and he told me
things. He told me I wasn’t done. He gave me everything I need to know to make
sure you win this, and the rest is a mystery.”
I gave him a puzzled look. “So you know
everything that happens in our life’s until we win this?”
He laughed. “No, just the parts that effect you
“Oh.” I said. With him back I felt that same sort
of anger, or whatever it was, welling up again toward him.
“So then what are we supposed to do right now?”
Asked Harding with a smug smile.
Winter whipped around and gave Harding a hard
look. “Find them, and kill them.”
Harding rolled his eyes. Winter must have that
effect on everyone. “Obviously, but where the hell are we supposed to go?”
Winter frowned deeper. “Just start walking. I
know were going to get there.”
I couldn’t take my eyes off Winter. Yeah, before
I’d thought he was a jerk, but before he smiled. Before I knew he was joking.
Now? Now he seemed mean. Now he seemed wrong. “Why… why are you so mean?” I
said it before I cold really think about how dumb it sounded.
He turned his eyes to me and they went soft I even
thought I saw them turn green. “I’m sorry.” He whispered. “It’s not me.” Then
he turned back to Harding and shouted for him to start moving. It’s not me?
What did he mean?
Harding looked at me questioningly. “Is he
I gave him a look that was supposed to say I
don’t know, but probably said what the heck is going on. “I’ll walk ahead with
Harding. You can stay back here and make sure we’re doing what were told… you
highness.” Then I bowed to him in mock respect and walked up to Harding. He turned
and headed into a random direction.
“Did he act like this before? Because if so, I
don’t understand why you cared so much that he died.” Harding said loudly.
I gave him a look that said he needed to shut up.
“No. I don’t know why he’s acting like this. Yes, he was rude and stuff, but he
was always smiling and joking. This isn’t like him.” I whispered. “Honestly it
could be him I guess. I only knew him for a few days. He could have been fake
the whole time.”
Harding studied me as we walked. “No, I think something
else is going on. Something tells me you’re right about it not being “him” if
you know what I’m saying. It’s his body, but is it really him in there?” This
time he was whispering. “Ask him something. Is there something only he knows?”
I thought for a minute and shook my head. “I
hadn’t told him… much.” I thought harder. “Winter!” I shouted. He wasn’t far
behind us, but I felt like I had to ask him right now.
He looked at me. His eyes were hard and he just
looked mean. “What do you want?” His eyes looked like they were trying to
change trying to that green I’d seen. They seemed to be dancing.
“What… what’s the reason you wake up in the
morning? What’s the reason you’re alive?” The green poured into his chocolate
brown eyes. It amazed me and scared me all the same.
“You know the answer,” his soft voice said.
“Before I met you, it was the grief and the promise that I could get revenge
for my family, but now it’s you. I’ll do this for you. I’ll stay alive for you,
even if it means pain.” Then the green slipped out of his eyes and the brown
returned. He shook his head around. “Now move!” I hurried back up to Harding
with no expression on my face. Harding looked confused.
“His eyes?” He asked as a question. “They
changed?” I shook my head yes. This guy behind me wasn’t Winter. Winter was in
there, but he wasn’t controlling his body, his words.
are we supposed to do?” I whispered to him. I felt the pain in my words. I knew
what was happening. I didn’t think it was possible, but it was the only explanation.
“He’s being… possessed…”
“What?” Harding whispered back to me.
“Possessed?” I shook my head yes and he thought about it.
Behind us Winter made a low growling noise and we
turned. His eyes were still chocolate brown, but he looked like he was fighting
with himself, and I could see the green trying to flow into his eyes. “Stop!”
He shouted to himself. It was weird watching him try to fight it. “Not now! I’m
stronger than you. You can’t fight me.”
“Winter?” I asked him, but he ignored me.
“Get away!” He shouted as he smacked himself in
the head. “You weren’t supposed to stay!”
“Winter!” I shouted again. The green was rushing
into his eyes. “Be strong.” Almost all the brown had escaped the eyes as Winter
tried to take control of his body. Then he did.
“Harding!” He shouted breathless. Harding rushed
past me and grabbed onto him to help keep him standing. “He’s strong, and I
won’t be able to take over much anymore. You have to keep her safe. She’s our
only hope. You have to protect her from him, from me.” The brown started to
slip it’s way into his eyes.
“Winter, no. Hold on.” I ran up to him and took
his face into my hands. “You have to come back. You have to fight him.”
He smiled weakly. “I’m not strong enough. I’m
getting weaker every second. He’s fighting me.”
“Please. I need you.” I said and I kissed him
softly. I knew that before I would have thought kissing him was the worst thing
I could do. I thought he was gross before, but now, it was different.
The brown fell out of his eyes and they shown bright
green. “You don’t need me. You have Harding. He’ll protect you. You’ll forget
“No.” I said simply.
“Trust me, you will.” He said with a painful
smile. “I’ve gotta go. Please try to pretend this isn’t me. Know that he is
evil. Know he will always try to hurt you.” Then the brown rushed into his eyes
and my Winter was gone.
The brown eyes were fierce and mean. Harding and
I stepped away from him and moved ahead. “Damn, he’s scary.” Said Harding as we
returned to our former positions in front of him.
“I guess.” What was weird was I was already
feeling close to Harding. I’d known him for what, two minutes and I already
felt like we’d been friends for years. I felt like I needed him. “You know,
there was a time when I was all alone and I never talked. I never needed
anyone, and now, I feel like I need everyone. I feel like… I feel like my whole
worlds changed in minutes. Before I wouldn’t get close to people because I was
afraid to lose them, and now… now I want to be close to people, because I know
I will lose them. It’s weird.”
He smiled at me and it reminded me how I never
smile, so I did too. “I can’t remember anything before meeting you, but I feel
like you just explained me. I feel like I need… you.”
I looked away feeling a weird sense of embarrassment.
I hadn’t felt like that in a long time. “I feel like I need you too. I feel
like I need more than just you. Do you understand? I mean, I need you in more
ways than I can explain or understand.” Again Harding smiled. It reminded me of
Winter and I couldn’t help but cringe.
“Don’t worry. I feel the same. I feel like I need
to be near you. I felt drawn towards you when I woke up, and I feel it still,
now.” His face got a little red when he said it, but it slowly faded as I
smiled. It felt so great to smile. It felt easy to talk to him. It felt like I
was talking to him before the world had crumbled. I let my mind run free and I
felt the tug of him. He was right we were drawn to each other. I felt as our
bodies pulled on each other, and it felt natural.
I looked up at him with another smile. “Weird.”
He smiled at me. Then I turned back to Winter who was smiling devilishly.
“You just wait.” He said darkly. “You’ll see how
good it is to feel connected when one of you dies.”
Harding looked at me with soft eyes and again I
felt the loss of Winter. “I hope it doesn’t hurt you too much.” He said
quietly. Winter laughed dangerously.
“I’m glad you know it’s you.” Winter said.
Harding looked at me with no emotion and watched as his eyes locked on some decision
he’d been trying to make. Then Winter’s words hit me. Harding. Harding would
die, and he already knew it.
“He won’t be the one to die.” I said with
confidence. “I won’t let it happen.”
“You think you’re so strong.” Said Winter, “But
we’ll see what happens when it’s just you against everyone else.” I shuddered.
I’d been there before. I’d been alone against everyone before. I’d had to fight
for my life before. Alone. The question was, could I do it again? Could I
really go through that again?
“She is strong.” Said Harding calmly. “You’ll
Then I swear I saw the green swirl into Winter’s
eyes. “You might as well give up now and fall into my arms. I’ll never let you
get hurt.” Winter had said he wouldn’t come back. He said to pretend this
wasn’t him, but it was hard. I rushed up to Winter and looked into his eyes.
Green. Weren’t they?
I watched as a smile curled onto his lips. Not
Winter, but I couldn’t fight it. “Winter.” I felt myself say softly. I felt
Harding grab my wrist, but I stayed locked on Winter’s gaze. I ran my hands in
his hair and tried to forget about the thing he really was. “I can’t give up on
“Avalon. Stop. It’s not him.” Said Harding as he
pulled on my hand.
“I know.” Whispered Winter back, and it felt so
real. It felt like it had to be Winter, but then he kissed me. I felt the death
and deceit and the strength smack into my lips. I tried to pull away, but he
was strong. He held me there as he kissed me. He forced me to his lips. He
didn’t stop. This was not my soft Winter. This was not Winter, and I couldn’t
forget that right? I wouldn’t be tricked again right? If there was and “again”.
It felt like he’d hold me here forever. Then he pushed me away and I smacked to
the ground. My body felt broken. He’d pushed me with such force. Then I felt
the wanting seep into my mind, I wanted to kiss him again. I stood up and
stared at him. I couldn’t pull my mind away from the kiss. I wanted it again. I
stepped toward him. His smile widened and he laughed. “Finally.”
I moved toward him more, his voice and laughter
dancing around me. “Avalon!” Harding shouted at me. He pulled me back, but I
pulled against him. Part of me knew what I was doing was wrong. I felt like I
should be afraid of him, but another part of me felt like I wanted him. That
part was the strongest.
“Let her go boy.” Winter said with an evil spark
to his voice, and it broke my spell. His face was twisted into an angry shape.
“She’s with me now. She can’t escape.”
I closed my eyes tightly and stayed like that for
a minute. “I can’t?” I questioned, and then I pulled my eyes open. Winter
looked at me wide eyed.
“You’re not supposed to be able to do that. Not
yet at least.” Winter said in confusion.
Harding grabbed my hand and pulled me away from
him. “Can we run?” He whispered into my ear.
“No.” I said softly. “Winter’s in there.”
“Please.” He whispered back. Then I turned to
him. Winter was in there, but this was not Winter. Maybe if I left him, Winter
would be able to leave. He wouldn’t have to stay to try and protect me.
“Okay.” I whispered back, and then he turned and
ran as he pulled me behind. Winter didn’t follow; he just stood in amazement
and watched as we ran off. This hadn’t been part of his plan. This hadn’t been
what he knew would happen.
“Can we stop?” I asked breathlessly as Winter
disappeared out of sight. I felt weak. I felt tears welling up in my eyes. We
stopped. “This is stupid, but I just don’t wanna lose him. Winter I mean, not
the crazy person that’s controlling him. Before I would have gladly let him run
off and leave me alone, but now it’s different.”
“No, it’s okay. I get it. Somehow I get it.” Said
Harding as he grabbed both of me hands and tried to make me look at him.
“I’m weak. I used to be strong, but now, now all
my emotions are controlled by some stupid boy!” I shouted. Before I’d never
needed anyone. I didn’t care if someone died as long as I lived.
“It’s okay.” Harding said as he pulled me closer
to him and then hugged me. His hug was soft and I felt like I was hugging a
pillow. I didn’t know how that was possible since I knew Harding was completely
opposite of, well, a pillow. He was ripped and huge. Muscles covered his body,
but still, he felt soft. He rubbed my back as he held me and I felt myself
relax into him.
“Thank you.” I said softly. I needed that.
“No problem.” He said, and then to soon I was out
of his arms. “So I guess we should do something.”
I closed my eyes. “I guess.” I said.
“Maybe we should head that way?” He said
pointing. Then he looked at me and dropped his hand. “Never mind, let’s find a
place to rest.”
I shook my head yes and this time a grabbed his
hand. I felt like I needed to be touching him, so I did. He pulled me with him
as I stumbled along. Yes it was still daytime, but I felt like I hadn’t slept
in ages. I felt drained. We found an area where trees and bushes gather tightly
and he pulled me into the middle of them. There, there was a small opening
where both of us could comfortably rest. As soon as he stopped I dropped to the
ground and let myself fall into a deep sleep.