Yesterday’s Cold Front


Yesterday’s Cold Front

Yesterday was so cold, everything had been cloaked in frost. The trees looked like they were drooping, which got me to thinking: how would a tree feel? If I were a tree, or turned into one by some fluke, my life would become a nightmare. Imagine things crawling on you, boring through your skin, or just ripping it off?

I can see love struck idiots carving their names into me–I don’t want your names carved into me, I do not care! Now I shall contract a fungus. You’re too kind. Thanks.

I try being agreeable as a human, and sometimes other humans take that for granted. Somehow that agreeableness gives them the excuse to dehumanize me, to ignore my personhood. Seldom do other humans truly want other humans acting like humans (alive, flawed, and emotional). As a tree I would be a slave to the elements, bending and swaying till I grow old and rot. I would have no say.

As I’d rot I’d still be alive. Begging for someone to put me out of my misery . . . Then and only then would anyone care about my well-being. They’d say: let’s help this tree, and then only prolong my misery.

Yesterday’s cold front would have been the day I truly broke, as whatever bodily fluids would have been leached out to the surface. Or they would have frozen, expanding till I snapped.

Since I am not a tree, I am thankful that I haven’t.



Winter Fog

Winter Fog

The air was bitter cold, it had the taste of ice in it. She took quick, panting breaths on her way up the slope. Snow surrounded her, colourless, cold; stark sunlight reflected off of it, blinding her. Her vision was pink around the edges. She chided herself for not wearing the sunglasses–they had been on the bench before she left the house. Oh well.

Too late now.

When she crested the slope she stopped. She felt a terrible thirst in her body, so she took a drink. The light was overwhelming her. With her hand she shielded her gaze. Before her the lake spread itself out. For miles it was just water as far as her eyes could see. Closer to the shore there were dead trees sticking out of the water, covered from top to bottom in gnarled icicles.

A thick fog rose up from the water, diffusing the sunlight, obscuring everything beyond the lake. She gasped as the vapours rolled towards her, engulfing her. It was a shift in the wind perhaps? A very light wind, she thought to herself. Everything went silent. No rustling in the tree branches, no birds or other wildlife–she was alone in this desolate scene.

She was a photographer. All she had wanted was to capture a muse, so to speak.

And here it was. Her fingers quickly became numb from the cold, but she continued to click away with her camera, capturing image after image after image.

By the time the fog rolled away the sun was beginning to sink below the horizon. How long had it been? She had only been there for twenty minutes. Not even that. Or at least that’s how it had seemed to her at the time. It was only natural to get carried away, she supposed. But this was ridiculous, unbelievable. She knew herself: she was not one to lose track of things. Her life consisted of deadlines. Time was precious, pre-measured, quantified.

A frown crinkled her brow, and that same thirst had returned. Now that the fog was gone she could see the entire lake. It was beautiful, vast, mysterious. The shoreline on the other side was faint, but it was there. Her numb hands raised the camera out of instinct.

She stopped herself. Something brought her attention back to the shoreline. A large, bird-like creature was resting on one of the dead trees.

It must have landed while the fog was rolling out. It seemed to be sleeping, its head was tucked under a wing. The only thing she could think was how big the creature was.

One step.

Two steps.

And she was ten feet away from the creature, her curiosity finally in check.

It wasn’t a bird.

That fact was so obvious she wanted to hit herself.

It wasn’t asleep either, A small voice within her called it for what it was. Before her was the definition of awful beauty. It was a seraph. A messenger of god.

The sun sank below the tree line.


Red Like Blood


Red Like Blood

–Which was spilled. Deep-reaching, half-dead roots (held under winter’s grasp) brought it up to the surface for her to see. Who spilled the blood and where had it spilled from, that was another riddle.


I Made This Up In My Head

“I’d always see him–not in real life, but in my mind. And it was more like I was imagining him going about his daily life. We crossed paths often; he saw me too, I know that . . .”

I Made This Up In My Head

” . . . I usually stop thinking about things for a while, and then I come back to them later on. Not this one. Letting go wasn’t easy for me,” she continued. “One day, I saw him in my mind, and held out my hand. I don’t know what I was thinking. Something had to give, and I just wanted the visions to stop–vision’s the right word for this?”

“Yes, it makes sense.”

She sighed. “Okay, good.” Then she paused, her mouth open, like she had forgotten what she had wanted to say.

“You held out your hand?”

“Yes,” she said slowly, still thinking. “Then he reached out and grabbed my hand. In real life, not in my head.”

The listener nodded thoughtfully before adding: “You were missing for five years. Gone, and no hints, no trace.”

She shook her head. “It’s just so surreal, remembering it all. I didn’t really think it was happening at the time. I just couldn’t accept it. That’s how I managed to stay sane, I think. The things I saw . . .

” . . . When I finally came to realize that it was all real, I was horrified at everything. Frightened by him.” She turned to her psychotherapist. “Everyone’s so happy to see me alive, but I can’t really tell them what happened to me, I can’t show him to them.”

“Who is he?”

“His name is Druzinga. I just call him Druzi–did it to see if I could annoy him at first, to be honest. Getting anything from him was difficult,” she looked away for a minute, her eyes visibly unfocused. “Everything was wrong,” she added.

“With him?”

“That, and the situation,” she replied.

A long pause followed, which the therapist finally broke. This Druzi was another matter altogether. Getting anything from him was a nightmare.

The creature, as they referred to him, was puzzling. It was clear that it had the capacity to understand and communicate with humanity, it simply refused to speak to them. Any form of analysis, or examination for that matter, was all but impossible without Marianna’s presence.

The thing existed.

That was enough for them.

“How did it make you feel?”

“I don’t know,” the reply was instant, automatic. Hollow. It rang true nonetheless. “Angry at first, then lost. It’s not easy being with someone you have nothing in common with.”

“Did you ever blame yourself?”

“I can’t say that I didn’t, but it wasn’t something I beat myself up over. Obviously he’s not human.”

“No, that he is not.”


The Thing Which Devours All

I sit in my comfortable chair, drinking beer from a blue goblet. I’m just fancy like that. With each sip thoughts of the current winter pass through my mind; so far it hasn’t been so bad. At least I’m not cold. Last year was cold, but last year I still worked at Walmart–you’ll always be cold there (cold with anger, that is).


The Thing Which Devours All

What does this have to do with winter? I don’t know, it’s just a black and white photo of a flowering maple. I always come back to it when I scan my photo gallery. Years ago I took the picture. Like many plants, they flower in the spring, waxing and waning in the summer and fall, falling into a deep slumber in the winter months.

The snow, the cold. Nature has fangs, and it will use them. Not out of spite, and yet not without a reason. Just not spite.

Winter is like reality: it’ll swallow you whole if you’re not ready for it. Which is funny. Winter is a part of reality. It’s also a mystery. The holidays just don’t seem festive without the snow. A fresh covering of snow quickly changes a landscape into a marvellous wonderland. We don’t want it, and yet we can’t really live without it.

Somehow I feel as if I’ll never understand it.

As for the picture, black and white photography has its own mystery. Without any mystery,  things would get very dull, very fast.

Which begs the question: what is the thing that devours?


Green Needles


Green Needles

Nature is relentless in so many ways–and we’re talking about the inspirational aspect of it, not the constantly-trying-to-kill-us bit (that bit is huge). Even a simple pine* needle yields its detail under close inspection. If you look close enough, what else would you find?

What else?

(Don’t blink.)

*Or spruce, we could be wrong.


Seeing the Forest


Seeing the Forest

The good thing about the snow is that it brings on the holiday spirit. (Yay, Friday!)


The Ice Winds Cometh


The Ice Winds Cometh

I saw snow today. Twice actually. Therefore our harsh Canadian winter can no longer be denied. It’s also Saturday.

You better beware.

(Of the Icky-Sticky Bear!)



Peril In Panels Volume 7: Dead Winter

“Rest easy, comrade. You’re off the clock now. Your shift is over.”


Hello, hello, hello and welcome to the latest edition of Peril In Panels*, this time we’ll be taking on the daunting task of discussing the webcomic Dead Winter by Dave Shabet,
a delightful romp through the zombie apocalypse. My name is Jonathan Kruschack and I’ll once again be your guide to all things comics. I’ll be doin’ my best to show you what stands out from the rest (hey, that’s a good line). And trust me when I say that this is not just another zombie apocalypse story. This is a shining example of a well thought-out, interesting, and over all good zombie story, in a sea of mediocre-to-good ones. But let’s put a pin in that point for a minute and talk about the comic’s plot, characters and creator. Continue reading