-= Trackless Snow - Prologue =-
The wind before me drives snow along the roads, the streetlamps aren't alight. People are asleep in their cottages and houses, only a lonely truck passes by, not seeing me in the side of the long and desolate highway. This place is of utter beauty, conifer forests in the distance beyond a field ranging to the south, beyond where eye can see.
I turn and look up to the north, and I see a human village, concrete apartment buildings, wooden cottages. It's not a huge place, but I can sense several hundreds lives there. If not a thousand. Looking further, I see several farms and homesteads far away from the village center. Those houses look cozy and idyllic, but the town ruins the whole scenery - a cradle of misery.
It's cold, winter, and the midnight hour has just passed. Skies are overcast by a thin layer of smooth clouds, allowing Moon to glow faintly through the veil. I should keep going. Easily stepping on the snow, I allow it to carry my weight without leaving a single trace - one of the good sides of being the creature that I am. Blinking through the field, traveling vast distances in an instant, I quickly reach the town's outlying buildings.
Frozen windows, a wall of alive old trees sewn here to keep the cold wind away, mold-ridden structures and quiet road leading from the fringe of the field to the center of the town, the first impression of this place is not pretty. Eerie silence hangs heavily in the air. The wind howling outside the town's boundaries can't enter through the walls of the buildings and tall spruces, and keeps circling the heart of the village, craving for its blood.
In the shadows I lie, watching and observing, searching. Streetlights illuminate the cold buildings all around the place. Where light ends, darkness falls. I turn myself into snow, allowing myself to float through the air without being seen. The town is a maze of gloomy yards, locked doors and dead gardens. Following the main road deeper into the town, I realize how the infrastructure changes from wooden homes into concrete apartment buildings and stores.
Beyond the silhouette of sleeping households and snowy trees I can see an orange glow. Factory's industrial lights and chimneys vomiting black smoke make the scenery even more awful. I wonder how the people living near the factory can live like this. Taking a turn to the right, a sideroad keeps climbing up to a hill. There's the school. I float onward, up to the yard of the school.
The school itself doesn't look so special, with a few intricate carvings here and there around the windows. The darkness beyond the glassy squares looks scary to say the least, there is an evil presence here, something truly horrid. The place literally pulses with malice, and for a moment I feel nauseated. Embracing myself, I resist the urge to flee and look around the yard, looking for a place to hide and observe. There are swings and merry-go-rounds near my current location, so I float into another direction. It'll be less crowded this way.
Having reached the eastern edge of the schoolyard, I float gently through the bushes and trees, for the yard is surrounded by forest. The only opening lies to the south, where the road comes from. I change my form again back into normal, and look into the east.
The first light of the dawn lifts the darkness in the horizon, turning pitch black eclipse into deep blue velvet. The clouds thicken.
"Am I ready for this? Is he ready for this?", I ask myself. "No, he is not ready. But then, the more I hesitate the more he suffers. I have to act today. It's for the best."
I go over and over again the vision I saw, and draw strength from the sheer terror of the vision. I'll do anything to keep that from happening.