I was born of ice.
I’m a creation of wonder, a magical creature brought to life through the imagination of a little girl. My eyes are unseeing black coal, my nose a frozen vegetable, my arms dead twigs.
But I live.
And I am gifted. I raise my twig arms above my head and I can cast images on yonder fence, telling stories with light. My purpose in life is to amuse and entertain my creator, a little girl. The stories are of men on horseback, leaping across yawning chasms. Lovers who meet in rainstorms. The cliches abound, but her delight is all I need to be happy. I’m her only friend.
My life is intended to be brief, flickering like the magical images I cast, then vanishing. But the little girl, beguiled by my magic, won’t let me go. She hatches a plan to sustain me, a cryogenic sleep. It’s dark and lonely in the freezing capsule, but she allows me the company of her stuffed bear.
When winter returns, the girl carts me out again to the yard where I was born, where I must again provide her with entertainment. I live to serve, so I do this without complaint. Besides, I can’t speak.
But the summers are long. The little girl grows up. She leaves me alone in my capsule.
She forgets me.
Months and years pass. I am entombed alive. Sometimes the girl will open the door of the capsule to collect a bag of peas, a slab of steak, but before I can fully wake, the door closes again.
She ignores me.
What did I do to deserve this fate? I wonder if the stories I told were too cliched. Why didn’t they continue to please her? I live in a perpetual state of uncertainty.
Through the sealed cryogenic chamber door, I want to cry out. If my coal mouth could speak it would beg for release. “Let me sink into the grass, into the soil, as nature intended! Or make me your slave again! Just don’t leave me alone in the endless darkness!”
But she is cruel. The door to the cryo-chamber ceases to open. I hear objects piled against it. I will be here forever. I will go mad in my immortality.
I sometimes hear the sound of children playing through the sealed door. I hear life going on. But I am trapped, tormented by the images I once created. They’re just fragments in my icy consciousness, as my magical gifts grow stale and freezer burnt.
I pray to the ice gods for an unexpected defrosting, a power blackout to cease the capsule’s hum. Anything to bring an end to this nightmarish existence.
Finally, after years of silent, merciless torment, the little girl, now a woman, returns. She opens the door to find me, caked in a frosty sheen, still clutching my only true friend, the bear.
I see the guilt in her eyes, but she offers no apology.
Instead, she wheels me back out to my birthplace to perform once more. But now she has reproduced—we are joined by a tiny replica of the girl she once was. Will the new child be as selfish and thoughtless as her mother?
My nightmare continues.