The mountain was dusted with snow and the blue sky was peering through the clouds that were blocking its view. Along the trail, there were patches of snow grasping to stay alive until reinforcements would arrive. The woman in the back was shivering and each breath was condensating before her eyes. She reluctantly trudged onward. The group’s elevation continued to increase as the mountains around seemed to level with them. What seemed like power lines were scattered all around the mountains, but they were lifeless.

All of a sudden, off in the distance was the crackle and clanging of trees. As the group investigated the commotion, the clanging became ear deafening. After turning the corner, there stood a 6 foot tall beast with trees growing out of its head. The beast continued to swing its head around, its branches colliding with those of the tree’s around it. Unfazed, some in the group investigated closer as others kept a healthy distance. The healthy distance members eventually motioned the group to reconvene and move forward as the beast began to march away to wreak havoc on other branches.

The trail became slicker and snowier as the group continued to ascend. The absence of birds serenading the forest created an atmosphere of silence where the only observable sound was the snow crunching beneath their boots. An opening in the trees revealed the city down the mountain, assorted with equipment and clothing stores, restaurants, and candy shops. Streamers of lights hung across the roads with festive colors illuminating the town. The city portrayed an exuberant and welcoming feel, although just like the powerlines, it was lifeless.

 At the top of the mountain, a family of mountain tops was visible in every direction. Brown dirt and trees covered their surfaces, vastly overpowering the white. All of this would soon be different. Days were becoming colder and shorter. Everything would eventually be white, and the town and powerlines would be full of life. It was the quiet before the storm.

Sean Fleming