Wind

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            They say that everywhere he goes, lights flicker.

            They say that everywhere he goes, the wind picks up and a chill fills the air.

            They say that he could kill you just by snapping his fingers.

            The Cold Man, they call him.

            You were walking across campus, late at night. It’s so late, or is it so early?, that there isn’t a soul to be seen. You’re halfway to your dorm when one of the streetlights flickers.

            “I am not The Cold Man,” you tell yourself.

            But who can be sure? Maybe you are The Cold Man. You don’t know who you are anymore. You could be anybody.

            The trees rustle around you in a breeze that you can’t feel. It feels chilly, even for an October night. You shiver, though you tried not to.

            “I am not The Cold Man,” you tell yourself.

            Your friends are all disappearing. Maybe you’ll be the next one to go. Some say that there’s a sickness going around, and the people are just getting sent home. You know better than that. There’s no disease. Nobody seems sick.

            They say that he could kill you just by snapping his fingers.

            Another gust of wind. You start walking faster.

            A light flickers the moment that you pass it. It flickers until it goes out.

            “I am not The Cold Man,” you tell yourself.

            And you can’t be The Cold Man. Because The Cold Man is standing right in front of you.

            His eyes were covered by dark sunglasses. The trees around him bent and swayed in the wind. You can feel your body turning to ice. He is watching you.

            There’s a streetlight on either side. They flicker erratically, as if they’re threatening to burst. You keep an eye on his hands, hanging at his sides. If he were to snap his fingers, if he were to make you disappear, would you even feel it? Would it be so abrupt, so sudden, that you wouldn’t even know that it had happened?

            You see his hand rising, his fingers poised to snap. But that’s wrong. He hasn’t lifted his hand. He’s just staring at you. If you could see behind the dark sunglasses, see into his eyes, would they be human eyes? What would you see if you could stare back?

            “I am not The Cold Man,” you tell yourself.

            The wind is getting stronger. The autumn leaves circle around him, lifting off of the ground. They circle around you. Somehow they make you feel more trapped than you already were. Trapped isn’t the right word. All you know is that there’s no point in running.

            The wind is blowing.

            The wind is blowing.

            The wind is blowing.

            He tilts his head to the side. It doesn’t matter that you can’t see his eyes. You know that he’s looking at you. Even if he turns away, he still sees you. Tonight, you could die. That’s what his eyes are saying. He knows you. He knows everything about you. He knows who you are, and what you’ve become, and who you will be.

            “I am not The Cold Man,” you tell yourself.

            And he smiles. He smiles a smile so inhuman, so perfectly unreal. The lights are flickering, and they won’t stop. He can’t be stopped.

            But they do stop. The lights stop flickering. They go out entirely. It’s a dark night. You can’t see anything.

            The wind stops.

            The icy chill stops.

            The lights turn back on.

            The Cold Man is gone.

            “I am not The Cold Man,” you tell yourself.

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