The snowflakes fell from the heavens like the feathers of fallen angels. The castle of ice stood before Icelyn, beckoning for her to step inside. The gate to the entrance was lifted, prongs pointing down to the ground like teeth. Through the mount of the structure she could hear the chorus of moans. Above she could see their hands, reaching down towards her, begging to be saved. The entry way seemed to smile as she inched forwards. If she had been anyone else, she would have been scared. But she was like the ice the castle was sculpted from; frozen and numb. Then lightning flashed, boomeranging across the sky and bringing Icelyn’s attention to the balcony above. A man stood, hands on the railing, peering down at her. But he was only a shadow.
School went by the same way it always did for Icelyn, in a blur of words and numbers and the consistent disconnect from her classmates. Gabe followed her from class to class like a golden retriever. It was too bad she was going to have to breakup with him after school was over. That was the rule, though. She couldn’t allow a relationship to last longer than three months. After three months, things get serious. How was Icelyn supposed to get serious with a guy without them realizing there was something wrong with her? The answer was she couldn’t. Which is was why she stuck to the three-month rule. She dated a guy for three months, dumped them, then three months later started the cycle back up again. Giving some space in between guys made her appear less… cold.
Gabe however, fell a little harder than the rest of the guys, speeding up the process. They walked out into the brisk air together, his arm around Icelyn’s shoulder to keep her warm. “You know,” he began. “I’ve never even met your mother. Not even after all the times I pick you up and drop you off. Maybe I should come over for dinner sometime?”
Icelyn stopped. She shrugged off his arm and folded her own across her chest. “Gabe, we need to talk…”
He held his smile, even as it shook, threatening to form a frown. He avoided looking at her and played with his car keys in his jacket pocket. “Save it, Icelyn.” His voice was barely more than a whisper. “I know what you’re going to say.”
Icelyn was acutely aware of the students slowing their pace as they walked by so they might catch a glimpse of what was going on.
He let out a sigh. “Everyone warned me. I just didn’t want to believe it.”
She was never good at this part. The body language given off when being broken up with was confusing. Their body language both begged for human contact and repelled it. “I’m sorry.”
He shrugged. “Do you still want a ride home?”
This was what was wrong with Gabe; he was too nice. “No, I’ll walk home.”
“But you’re not even wearing a jacket.”
She smiled. “Trust me, I’m fine.”
The way he squinted his eyes at her, told her he was still uncertain. She put her hand on his arm and gave a sympathetic smile. He nodded and walked off.
It was too late to catch the buses. They had all taken off in the time it had taken for her to break up with Gabe. Guess I’m walking home.
Her mother was already inside starting dinner by the time she made it home. They lived in old log cabin, set back into the woods. The coble-stone chimney sat in the middle of the cabin, each side perfectly symmetrical. The triangular windows of the attic sat on either side, as well as the double windows and the railing of the front porch. Icelyn walked up the rickety steps, the smell of seasoned steak seeped through the door. Stepping through the front door, she walked right into the little bit of open space that divided the kitchen and the living room.
Icelyn’s mom worked over the stove, glancing at the door to smile at her daughter. “Welcome home sweetie! You’re home later than usual.”
“I walked. Gabe and I broke up.”
“Aw, that’s too bad…”
She drained the green beans over the sink. “Which one was Gabe?”
Even her mom couldn’t keep track of the guys in Icelyn’s life. “Not important.” She circled around the kitchen, down the hall to her bedroom. She tossed her backpack on her bed which was a twin sized mattress thrown into a creatively crafted hole in the wall. Underneath her bed were what she used as dresser drawers. She pulled out a gray knitted sweater so her mom wouldn’t bother questioning her. It was usually cold in their home. At least Icelyn suspected it was since her mom was always piling on more layers and throwing more logs into the fire pit.
She trailed her fingers over the spines of her various young adult novels. Most of which were gifts from her mom. She wasn’t able to connect with the main characters of the stories, or truly enjoy them. They served more as a study guide of how people her age acted and felt in different situations. Her hand hovered over Switched: A Trylle Novel. She plucked it from its spot on the inset bookshelf next to her bed.
It was tradition for her and her mother to eat dinner at their cherry wood table which seats four before retiring to the living room and reading in front of the fire place. Her mother turned on the television for background after she set the table.
Lionel King was being featured on the television. It was almost impossible to watch local news without seeing his smug face. Lionel had a full set of long blond hair and wild blue eyes. He was running for mayor of Rochester, and a shoe-in for the win. His speeches on reform and cleaning up Rochester made him famous.
December, Icelyn’s mother, always had a small smile on when she watched or listened to Lionel King’s press conferences. Her hazel eyes had a spark that was otherwise undetectable, if Icelyn didn’t know her mother so well.
Lionel King was on the local news station. Spreading his slogan, “I won’t rest until homelessness is dead.” He has already started his “reform plan” and it’s been showing results. Sure, the charts show homeless numbers are decreasing, but there hasn’t been any new job openings, or fillings for that matter. Nothing in the city has changed. So where were the homeless really disappearing too?
“So, this is the guy?” Scott asked his uncle.
“Yup.” He sharpened his knife. Since his brother’s death, Neil and his nephew had been traveling the states doing a little cleanup of their own. After stalking and killing pixies from west to east, they learned there was a “master plan”, which led them to the small town of Macedon, New York. From whispers and murmurs they learned the pixies were all following orders of one man who planned to take over the world, one step at a time. Apparently it started with becoming mayor, eventually working his way to Washington, then who knew what damage he would afflict once he was in charge of the US army.
“What’s the plan?”
Neil looked at the TV screen. “Stakeout.”
The boy sat next to the man in silence.
"Please take your seats, the plane will be taking off soon."
The stewardess walked down the aisles, closing the overhead storages.
The boy held his breath as he watched out the window, silently saying goodbye to the only life he had ever known. He pressed his hand against the warm Plexiglas and could almost see his father's hand pressing on the other side. The man stared out the window as well, blurring the vision of his father's fingers. He felt his chest tighten as he held in the urge to cry, "Father, don't go. Don't leave me. Please!"
"We will all miss your father."
The boy didn't even notice the tear which zig-zagged down his sun-kissed cheek.
The man's cracked, dry thumb wiped away the liquid which oozed from his nephew's eyes. Pain stuck in his gut as he watched the death of his brother, the boy's father, rip his nephew apart. "I'm not sure why your father picked me to be your guardian, we hadn't spoken in years..."
The boy's golden eyes stared up at his uncle's, filled to the brim.
A lump caught in the man's throat. "But of course you don't want to talk about that..."
The boy's head turned towards the window again, and the man rung his hands together nervously. He didn't have any kids of his own, and this was the first time he had seen his nephew since his first birthday when him and his father got into a fight. What do you do with kids? He wondered. What do you say when their world's been turned upside down? He was not sure. He ran his thick fingers through his dark hair, and prayed the rest of their lives wouldn't be as thick with awkward silence as it was then.
Soon, the plane began to quake as it took off for flight.
"Uncle, why haven't you seen my dad in such a long time?"
He sighed. His black hair fell in front of his green distant eyes. “We got into a big fight..." How was he supposed to tell him the same thing he fought with his father about might very well have been the same thing that killed him?
He took off his glasses and squeezed the bridge of his nose. "I guess I might as well just tell you..." The boy gazed up at him patiently, and curiously as he waited his uncle's reply. "The Huntre family is born to follow a legacy that your father refused to be a part of. It is not something you can just disregard, like your father tried to do; it is in our blood. Every male in the Huntre family is born with the ability to see creatures you can't even imagine."
"What do you mean?"
"You, me, your father, our father's father are born to hunt an elite force of creatures determined to not only defeat us, but to defeat the human race... Scott, you are going continue this legacy."
"What creatures?" Young Scott asked, voice quivering as he spoke.
Referred to as the "Ice Queen" in school, Icelyn knew early on she was different. When she bled, she didn't feel pain. She didn't get sad, or cry. She learned to blend in and pretend to be normal. No matter what she did, there was no denying she was unlike everyone else. Protecting her secret becomes priority, as she discovers she doesn't just have congenital insensitivity to pain, but she's a pixie. And the new guy in school is a pixie hunter.