Friday, January 25, 2013

Turn the Season

Turn the Season

It’s Winter’s turn. The eve of the new ones’ eighteenth birthday means the transition. Winter remembers when she received the gift, or curse, a century ago. She and the others took the field one by one. They’d been born the same day, the same year. It was destiny. Each of them felt new life leave their elder and seep into their bodies, filling them with another earthly being and right it encapsulated them completely. Turning hair and skin and eyes and personas different shades to represent their new designation.

Summer, at the time Alec, had held her hand so fiercely the day of their turn he could have broken bone. She hadn’t minded it though because it kept them close.

She and Alec held close then. Hoping, wishing that they'd be paired. Summer and Spring or Winter and Autumn. It didn't matter, as long as he remained hers.

Alec was called first and strode to the field. Watched not just by the others waiting to turn, but by their elder seasons and the watchers. Alec held out his hand palm up waiting for the piercing. Everyone but Alec winced when the blade cut and the blood pooled in his hand spilling through his fingers. He clenched his fist. When he opened it he smiled a bit, held his palm up to reveal the sun: Summer.

From his elder he gladly took over. Grinning while his eyes became a blue ocean, his hair wheat, his skin took on a golden glow that made him shine like a beacon in light and dark year round. When he took his place on stage he blew a kiss that kept her hopeful. 

Next was a girl with skin the color of chocolate and hair as dark as an oil slick. When the dagger hit, the girl gasped waiting for the red stream to lessen, in the end it left the mark of spring, a lily. She would be Spring. When she went to her elder to take on her new role her skin went caramel, her hair dirty blonde, her eyes honey.

It was her turn. She shook as she approached the dagger, unable to look at Summer and his new partner Spring. Her hand continued to waver. Catching her breath and trying to clear her mind the blade came quicker than she expected but she swallowed a yelp. Refusing to look at the symbol, no longer caring because it didn't matter. She took in the picture of Summer and Spring. Both of them lovely, and still felt the hurt of him being hers.

When she finally looked, she saw the snowflake.

Winter cried when she turned. Cried as her hair went from red to white. As her skin lost it’s fleshy hue to match her hair and her eyes became crystalline. When she passed by Summer he commented on her continued beauty but she did not speak because it was done. Decided for them.

And so it went. Winter was set apart from the flightiness of Spring that could turn on a dime deciding to embrace the cool or the hot depending on her mood. Spring tended to glide rather than walk, always on tippy toes and finding herself here or there at a moment’s notice she was so quick. Autumn was Winter’s mate and proved to have his moments as well. Skin of bronze, sculpted features from his square jaw to his muscles and the sinews that lined them when he tensed or the way his eyebrows arched in surprise and anguish. He tended to favor the cold and this is what made him perfect as her mate.

“I’ve always thought much of you, Winter,” Autumn told her when they were paired.

She gulped at her new name. “Winter,” she repeated to herself. It wasn’t until she held it that she hated it.

After distinctions had been made and their elders faded into a life of old age, their time paid in full to the elements. After the ceremony, when eighteen seemed the worst age possible Summer and Winter attempted to kiss, attempted to see if they could override centuries of rules to be together but it was both awkward and painful. Summer’s heat too much and Winter’s cold almost an antidote. Their lips together sizzled and stung so that Winter had to bring the cold forth to heal herself and Summer had to protect himself from a new kind of burn. Autumn could handle her cold, adapt to it, Summer could not.

Her tears became diamonds on her cheeks when the realization hit.

Summer leaned in, “I will always love you. Just from afar,” he promised. But it seemed a lie. The way he looked with Spring always so damn happy. But that was the way of Summer, Summer was frivolity as was Spring. Autumn was consciousness and Winter aware. This is what made them right for each other in that sense. But in all other factors it was wrong. She had a new designation, a new duty, and that was to her season.

Winter steps forward for the transition. It's a boy this time around. A young boy despite his eighteen years and in him she sees the Summer she had hoped would be hers for a lifetime.

The former Summer, Autumn, and Spring sit awaiting it to be over. No longer in stasis as eighteen year olds they revert back to their former selves, selves that have aged. Lines and creases marking their faces. The glows and earthly tones that consumed them gone. She takes a breath and holds the boy’s hand. In him she pushes the cold, the hurt, the pain and watches his blonde hair turn to frost, his eyes take on her glassy look. She falls into the snow that has formed a bed around them.

When she opens her eyes she is welcomed by the aged face of her beloved Alec. He holds a hand out to her and says, “I always keep my promises.”

Story by Jenn Baker 


  1. I love the personification of the seasons and how Alec waited for her. Good job!

  2. Really like the interplay between seasons too and the way that they change as their season becomes clear. Cool. Happy B-day, Critter!

  3. Beautiful descriptions and imagery intervoven into a compelling story. Well done!