(. . .And some like it cold)
Tim tapped at the glass covering
the gas meter for the old van that the group frequently
traveled in. The needle moved towards the "full"
just a bit, but not enough to get them home.
have to stop in the town up here," he muttered
as they passed a sign that read: “Jamestown 4 miles”.
"Man, this sucks!"
Ricardo, the pudgy one in the back of the van whined.
"I wanna get home!"
"Just shut up
for five minutes," Rich said from the passenger’s
The three had been
snow boarding at Alpine Valley since ten in the morning.
The Mountain the ski resort was located on was nearly
four hours from their house, but it was still well-worth
it. No other resort could match the perfect powder conditions
that Alpine Valley had to offer. But now they were still
a hundred and twenty miles from their town North of
the resort, the junky ’86 van smashed and battered for
more than three hours by a terrible blizzard that left
the Highway jammed with accidents.
to go a hundred-some miles," Tim mumbled angrily
to himself. "No way could we make it back tonight
Ricardo offered a
hand full of green dollar bills to Rich. "I got
fifteen bucks left."
Tim reached into the
pocket of his heavy jacket and pulled out a twenty.
"So that makes it thirty-five so far."
Rich, unlike his name,
had the least amount of money. "I have a ten. So
we have a total of forty-five bucks left. Enough for
a cheap room for the night and gas to get home. Then
again . . ."
Tim rubbed the steering
wheel gently. "Don’t worry. Old Bessy will pull
through. She just got a little shaken up with all the
snow and stuff. Had to use a little more gas to keep
"Keep us safe,"
Rich repeated. "You don’t fool me. I saw how hard
you were clutching the wheel to keep ‘Old Bessy’ steady."
Tim shrugged off the
insult. Ahead, rows of houses on either side of the
road signified the beginning of the town. Further ahead,
just visible over the horizon, was a large sign looming
of the houses: “Motel 6”.
"You think it’s
open?" Ricardo asked quietly as the van creeped
closer to the Motel. The lights on the sign were out.
Tim kept silent until they pulled into the large parking
lot. The Motel itself was one story, the doors to the
rooms on the outside with a few cars parked near the
Office. All of the shades on the windows were down,
but lights were shining through some of them.
"It looks open,"
Tim said finally as he pulled the van into a parking
space near the Office door.
with the fog?" Rich asked from behind. Tim looked
"I think it’s
a mist," Tim corrected his friend. The mist was
a cold white, and seemed to be getting thicker. In fact,
Tim could barely see the light coming from the large
Office window. He was getting a bad feeling in the pit
of his stomach. "Why don’t we see if there’s another
Motel in town?"
"What, you scared?"
Ricardo taunted childishly. He opened the back door.
"While you babies
are fighting over your bottle, I’m gonna get a room
and see if they got some grub." He stepped out
and immediately folded his arms.
"Bundle up, fellas;
it’s freezing out here!"
Freezing was an understatement.
It was colder than anything Tim had ever experienced,
and he was from Wisconsin. Stepping out, he locked the
car door and walked over to the other side. Rich got
out and the two looked around in the almost complete
darkness for Ricardo.
Rich called out.
Tim felt the pain
in his stomach again. Something was wrong. "Maybe
he’s inside already," he offered.
Rich nodded. "Who
cares. I just wanna get out of this cold. Quicker the
Tim couldn’t argue.
The two carefully walked down the sidewalk to the Office
door. Rich pulled the doorknob, found it unlocked, and
opened the door. Immediately, the two were met with
a cold gun barrel pressed against their foreheads.
"Get them over
here and shut the door!" Someone screamed out.
Tim didn’t bother opening his eyes, just let a warm
hand guide him forward.
"Who’re you two?"
The same harsh voice asked.
Tim opened his eyes.
In front of him, a man dressed in a gray Police uniform
was holding a long shotgun to his forehead. He risked
a glance to his right. Rich still had his eyes closed,
a man wearing overalls and a plaid shirt was pointing
a similar gun at him.
"I’m Tim, and
this is Rich . . ."
The Officer snapped. "I don’t care about your names!
I wanna know what you’re doin’ here!"
Tim swallowed hard.
"We needed a place to stay. I assumed the Motel
6 sign outside meant this was a place of lodging . .
The Officer loaded
the shotgun. "Gettin’ smart with me boy?"
A skinny man wearing
all black save for a white collar stepped forward and
gently put a hand on the Officer’s gun. "Everything’s
okay, sheriff. These boys were just looking for a place
to stay the night. No harm in that."
The Sheriff lowered
his gun. "Sorry ‘bout that."
The Sheriff looked
at the man in the overalls, who still had his shotgun
trained on Rich. "Larry! Put the gun down!"
The man kept the gun
trained on Rich for a few more seconds before lowering
it. He set the gun against the far wall near a large
check-in counter and walked over to a large couch near
the back of the room. There, four others were huddled
around a small fireplace. The Sheriff followed him,
leaving the man in black.
"I’m Father Henry,"
the man said, holding out a hand. Tim shook it.
"I’m Tim. Listen,
are we the first people to come in for awhile? We had
another friend with us . . ."
Rich nodded quickly.
"We thought he already came in, but we couldn’t
be sure with the mist out there so thick."
The Father and the
Sheriff exchanged worried glances.
"If he’s out
there, you can forget about him," the Sheriff said
"If your friend
is out there, he’s dead," the Sheriff stated.
Tim’s face flushed
with anger. "What? Why? How do you know? We should
at least go and look for him!"
And old man ran toward
the door and blocked Tim’s exit. "No! No one goes
out there! God knows how you two even made it here!"
Tim looked around.
There were about ten people in the room, all looking
at the two teens. It was the Father that came forward
"Come over by
the fire and warm up a bit while we still have some
heat left. I’ll try and explain it to you." He
looked over his shoulder to a middle-aged man huddled
by a woman and a child. "Mike, could you get the
two some hot chocolate?" The man nodded and walked
into the Manager’s Office behind the Check-in counter.
He was back in a flash with two steaming cups of black
liquid. Tim took one and gulped it down quickly. The
liquid scalded his throat, but it still felt—and tasted—good.
Rich was warming his hands by the fire, slowly sipping
at his cup.
"I’ll tell you
what we know," Father began. "We know that
two days ago a man by the name of Jack Frost—most likely
an alias—rented a room here for an unspecified period
of time. Last night, the mist appeared. It was too thick
for people to see their neighbors . . ."
"But they could
still hear them scream," the Sheriff finished.
He had gotten himself a cup of cocoa and was sitting
in a fold-up chair near the fire.
The Father nodded.
"I could hear people screaming from my church,
where I was setting up the Jesus Nativity Scene. I went
outside and must have gotten lost because I ended up
here. It was too cold outside to keep looking, so I
went in and met many of the people you see here. They
were staying here, already barricading the rooms from
the Manager’s Office."
"Why would you
do that?" Rich asked.
The Father pointed
to a small box near the phone on the check-in desk.
"We can control the heat. After the first screams,
most of the power in the town went out; my guess is
that the power lines were frozen solid. But this Motel
6 has an emergency generator."
that ain’t gonna last much longer, might I add."
The Sheriff sipped his cocoa.
Tim nodded. "So
Ricardo . . ."
Father said honestly. "If you want, we could have
a small procession for you friend . . ."
"We ain’t got
more time for that!" The Sheriff yelled, throwing
his glass against the fireplace. It shattered and the
group huddled around the fire jumped back, afraid. "We
got guns and we got the manpower! I say we go out there
and hunt Frost down! He can’t take us all!"
"He took down
everyone else in the town pretty quickly!" A young
man called out from the other side of the room. "I
lost my whole family out there, so I know what you’re
going through, but we can’t fall apart now! Not when
daylight is so close . . ."
“Daylight. What happens
at daylight?" Tim wanted to know.
The man shrugged.
"It does something to the mist we think Frost created.
It dissipates, gets warmer and finally disappears."
"Then we can
hunt Jack down and cut him a new smile," the Sheriff
Rich was eyeing the
plump man carefully. "Just how did you get here
The Sheriff looked
at the teen for a moment, then lowered his eyes. "I
was doing patrol when the mist started gettin’ thick.
I barely saw a group of people running down the main
street just in front of me and stopped. They told me
something bad was goin’ down so I took ‘em here. I didn’t
plan on locking myself in like a gopher."
The Sheriff was smart,
Tim noticed. He must have known there was a generator
in the Motel. Whether or not the man was completely
with them was another thing.
"And that’s our
story," the Father said calmly. The Sheriff’s face
had flushed red and was staying that way.
Tim looked at Rich.
"We couldn’t just keep driving to the next town,"
Rich muttered jokingly.
Suddenly, there was
loud crack at the window. The group looked at the shade
covering it quietly. Slowly, the Father walked over
and pulled the shade up.
On the window, written
in frost, were two large words in perfect italicized
The group looked at
it in silence. Finally, an old woman in the back asked:
"What does it mean?"
Suddenly, the words
melted away leaving small drops of water on the glass.
The drops formed together and again froze with the exact
The group waited.
Again, the words written in frost melted and this time
the small drops of water froze forming three new words:
"I’ll let you
in you son of a--" The Sheriff raised his shotgun
and pulled the trigger. Nothing happened. "Aw,
Christ," he muttered. "I’m outta bullets."
by the hairs of my chinny-chin-chin,
Tim wanted to say to the unknown force outside. He kept
The Father exchanged
glances with a few nervous faces. "Perhaps that
was for the better," he finally said when the Sheriff’s
once red face again calmed to it’s bright pink hue.
"Had you shot the glass, you would have killed
"Ain’t you been
listenin’ at all, Father?" The Sheriff almost yelled.
"He doesn’t like the heat! Why do ya think that
mist hasn’t seeped through all the cracks in this run-down
place? He’s smokin’ us out! Getting to our heads and
just waiting for the perfect time to strike!"
"And that time’s
going to come soon," someone from the back suggested.
Tim didn’t turn around; he dared not take his eyes off
the angry man with the large shotgun. "The generator’s
only running at half power. I just checked."
The man stepped forward
until he was right next to the Sheriff. He was tall,
a farmer most likely but young and clean-shaven. Years
of beer-drinking was beginning to show through his shirt,
but Tim supposed it was the only thing to do in such
a small town on weekends.
"I don’t like
to admit it, but maybe we should listen to the Sheriff’s
plan," he continued. "Because when that generator
goes out, we’re all dead. Maybe if we took the initiative
. . ."
The Sheriff set his
hand on the man’s shoulder. "Yeah, I like this
boy. Now, who else is with me?"
A few others began
mumbling to each other. Tim looked to the Father, who
just shook his head.
Tim started with his loudest voice. Everyone quieted
and looked at the scruffy snow boarder standing in front
of him. "You guys are actually thinking about going
out there and trying to kill someone who by your own
accounts has already wiped out an entire town when you
can’t even see a foot in front of you? In the freezing
They began mumbling
again, but Tim could tell he had persuaded at least
a few to stay.
Then the Sheriff cut
in. "There’s no way the generator is gonna last
another four hours until sunrise! Face it, folks; we
got maybe one hour or so left and then we’re doomed
anyway. We might as well give it a try. Maybe we could
even get to my car!"
"And what if
the cars are frozen?" Rich offered quietly. They
all looked at him. "You all know how cold it is
out there. It’s altogether possible."
The Farmer slouched
in defeat. "He’s right. Someone would have to see
if any of the cars are even working."
The Sheriff looked
him angrily. "Then go out there and check, Jim."
at him with a fear in his eyes that could never be described.
"I—I don’t want to go out there."
Father stood up from
his fold-up chair. "You can’t force the boy to
go out there."
"It was his idea!"
Jim held up his hands
to prevent another harsh exchange of words between the
two. "The Sheriff’s right. If I can get a car started,
we can get out of here. I’ll go." His voice was
as shaky and squeaky as a pre-pubescent teen’s. Tim
couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for the young
They all watched the
Farmer reluctantly put on his heavy Gortex jacket and
mittens. Four people came forward to hand him the keys
to their cars, telling him which one it was and any
problems he may have getting it started. Tim made it
halfway across the room before Rich pulled him back.
He shook his head solemnly and the two sat down.
And then the Farmer
was out into the brisk cold mist. Even with the door
open for only a few seconds, the room went completely
cold. Everyone went back to where the fire was still
blazing, waiting. It was completely quiet in the room,
the dry firewood crackling and spitting out small ashes
onto the puke-colored carpet that just about every Motel
"Where is he?"
A young lady wrapped tightly in a blanket asked nervously.
Despite the minutes
that had passed, the room was still cold from when Jim
had briefly opened the door.
"He said he would
honk the horn of any car that he could get running,"
the Sheriff said, restraining his anger. He was more
angry at himself for letting the young Farmer go, but
he couldn’t show that to the others. "I gave him
my handgun. He’ll be okay."
Tim noticed even the
Sheriff’s cold, hard exterior was beginning to break.
He got up and headed over to the window.
"What are you
doing?" Father asked quietly.
"I’m going to
look out the window, maybe see the flashlight he was
carrying. Just to know he’s still out there--"
Immediately, the window
froze over, the frost too thick to see through.
Not that it hurt them
much. From the brief look Tim got, the mist seemed to
be thicker than before. Why the group thought the sun
could stop it now Tim couldn’t say. He couldn’t even
think straight so close to the window, the cold seeping
through the double panes enough to put goose-bumps on
"What now, Officer?"
Rich yelled out angrily at the Sheriff who wasn’t looking
too well anymore. "Old Frosty won’t let us see
outside! Anyone else have that feeling in the pit of
their stomach telling them we won’t be seeing Farmer
Tim wanted to raise
his hand. Actually, he wanted to fall to the floor and
cry his eyes out until the mysterious man under the
alias of Jack Frost finally killed them all. But even
worse, he wanted to see what the creature looked like.
He wanted to see what kind of person—if you could call
him that—could spew forth a freezing mist from his body
and destroy an entire town. And then Tim wanted to know
"Yeah, I didn’t
think so," Rich was saying. "Farmer Jim is
dead. We’re going to join him if we don’t do something
about it now!"
"What can we
do?" Father said calmly.
"We can burn
this Motel to the ground," Tim offered quietly.
He noticed them all looking at him and continued. "You
said he doesn’t like heat. If we burn down the Motel,
maybe the mist would fall back for a few minutes and
we could get to the cars."
"And maybe we
could get a bag of marshmallows and sing campfire songs!"
The Sheriff offered sarcastically. "Boy, that is
the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard!"
Tim shrugged. "Better
than following a pie-eyed drunk outside to get slaughtered."
The Sheriff stood
up, his face red as an apple; maybe redder. "Boy,
you’d do best to watch your words before I jam this
shotgun in your mouth and pull the trigger!"
The Sheriff spat. "I’m gonna go out there and take
care of our guest! Anyone with me come now ‘cause I
ain’t waiting!" He snatched up his jacket and put
it on, hastily. Two other middle-aged men with the same
beer-bellies grabbed their shotguns and coats, too.
The Sheriff opened the door and the three jumped out.
They disappeared before the door was closed. Into the
silent again. Tim couldn’t help but hope he would hear
the Sheriff scream before he died. Even as the thought
hit him, he felt a shiver up his spine. Had he changed
so much in the past hour as to want to hear a man die?
Had he grown so . . .cold?
His thoughts were
broken by gunshots. Three of them, very nearby. Someone
was yelling as two more shots were fired, somewhat further
away this time.
"He’s right in
front of you!" Someone yelled out just in front
of the door.
"Shoot him shoot
him shoot him!"
"I shot him twice,
for Christ’s sake! I shot him twice!"
Silence. Someone could
be heard walking up and down the concrete walkway just
outside the door.
"Jesus, he froze
the whole building . . . where are you, James? James,
Smitty, I see him! Get over here!"
stopped right in front of the door. "Smitty’s gone,
I can’t find him."
"It don’t matter
no more! Look—there he is just up there! I think he’s
hurt! Hey Frost!" Two more gunshots sounded.
There was another
tense silence. Finally: "Is he dead?"
"No! He’s gettin’
up! Fire again!"
"I’m out of bullets!"
Tim crept towards
the window. The frost had thinned a bit—he could see
two blurry figures just out front. One of them ran to
the window. Up close, he was much clearer, though Tim
had no idea who the bearded man was. Behind him, the
other figure had moved out of site.
"You got to get
us more bullets! He won’t stay down!" Behind him,
a new figure had appeared. This one was much taller,
and the way he walked made him seem like his feet never
touched the ground; they just floated.
Instead, the man turned
around. Suddenly, the frost on the window completely
cleared, but the bearded man was in Tim’s view of whoever
had appeared behind him. The man jerked as something
clear and pointed ripped through the back of his skull.
Blood splattered onto the window, immediately freezing
upon contact. Behind Tim, everyone was screaming. The
thing sticking out of the man’s head was a very sharp,
very big icicle.
And then the bearded
man fell to the ground, the large icicle still plunged
deep into his forehead. Jack Frost stepped in front
of the window. He stood almost a foot taller than the
five-foot ten Tim, his face a pale white and his eyes
were a blue so cold Tim had to shiver to shake away
the feeling. Instead of hair, large icicles jutted upward
out of his head, making him seem even taller. He was
wearing an unbuttoned white trench coat and under it
a white suit. Through blue lips, he was smiling devilishly.
"Let me in,"
he said in a voice that actually felt cold. He stepped
forward, hissed at the window, and stepped back.
"It’s all right!"
The Father called out, obviously relieved. "The
heat hurts him! He can’t get in!"
Frost smiled and reached
for something out of view. When he brought his hand
back, he was holding the Sheriff. "Let me in, little
pigs. Or the one you call ‘Sheriff’ dies."
Tim stepped back to
the others, who were huddled near the fire. Rich was
holding a handgun in his hands. "Swiped it from
the Sheriff before he left," he muttered. "I
got a feeling it’s gonna come in handy."
The Father moved towards
the window. "Why do we deserve to die, my son?"
Jack eyed him curiously
a moment, then pointed his finger at the window. Ice
grew from the tip, creating a sharp nail. With one swipe,
he slit the Sheriff’s neck and dropped him to the ground.
it—you don’t. But I need you. I need your essence, your
very life spirit in order to sustain my form. Allow
me to demonstrate . . ." he picked up the Sheriff’s
still twitching body and clutched his stomach with both
hands, lifting him into the air. He began to violently
shake, the color in his skin fading to white, then to
a dark blue. Jack Frost was smiling as the invisible
energy surged through his own body while the Sheriff’s
began to be taken over by a thin layer of ice. Satisfied,
Jack squeezed his hands and the frozen body shattered
into a thousand smaller pieces. The Father could only
stare as Frost picked up the other two men that had
gone out with the Sheriff and done the same thing to
"Don’t you see?"
Frost said after he had finished. "One town will
satisfy me for years! If anything, think of yourselves
as the ultimate sacrifices. Now, turn off the heat and
save me the trouble of waiting you out.
screamed. He fired his gun and hit the window, the bullet
shattering it and lodging itself in Frost’s chest. He
looked at the bullet. Everyone else did, too. Slowly,
the hole in his chest closed up.
"I cannot be
killed," Frost stated simply. Tim could see the
ice-cold mist seeping out of the pores on his skin.
The creature stepped back as the blazing heat of the
room entered the night. But already, Tim could feel
the room getting cooler, the mist slowly creeping its
way through the window. So why didn’t Frost just break
the window before?
Then Tim knew. Painted
on Jack Frost’s face was a picture of terrible pain;
the mist not only came from him but was a part of him.
Already, it was retreating from the room.
The group might have
made it through the night. They might have been able
to fend Frost off with burning torches near the window
to keep him at bay until the sun came out and finished
the creature. They might have survived, had the generator
not stopped working, just as the Sheriff had said it
Within minutes, the
icy mist began entering the room. The fire in the fireplace
blew out, only the full moon outside lighting the room.
Jack Frost smiled and climbed through the window, his
coat sliding over the windowsill like a quiet snake
stalking its prey.
The Father said a
Rich desperately fired
his gun at the unstoppable creature.
The women screamed.
Then the men did.
Tim just fell to the
floor, tears streaming down his face. They froze instantly.