“Calm down, Dennis.” I made a note in his file: schizophrenic. He’d been brought in two days ago, raving about a “family of snow people.” The seemingly endless winters of the last few decades were taking their toll on fragile people like him. It didn’t help he kept going off his meds, and when he did, he eventually showed up here. “Did they speak to you?”
“Not to me, no,” he said in a somewhat quieter voice. “They talked to each other. There’s a mother, a father, and a boy.” He narrowed his eyes at me. He’d been restrained to prevent him from hurting himself or others, and though he almost continually tested the stasis field, I was in no danger.
“And what did they say, Dennis?” He was my last patient of the day. It had been a grueling Monday, and I couldn’t wait to get home to my dinner and a glass of wine.
His near-whisper was harsh. “They’re gonna take over the world, that’s what. They said their time had come, and humans had a big surprise in store for them.”
Well, he was inventive, I’d give him that, but it was a typical paranoid fantasy engendered by the voices in his head. “Does it make sense that snowmen would be plotting our downfall?” I asked. “They’d just get started, then spring would come and melt them.” I cringed internally at how stupid that sounded, but when reasoning with someone chemically off their rocker, one never knew what magic combination of words would show them the way back to reality.
“No more spring,” he hissed. “Winter forever now, and on the rare warm days, they hide in the woods until it’s cold enough again.”
His fantasy was certainly consistent, and it made sense in light of our continuing climate change toward year ’round below freezing temps. More’s the pity; I missed the heat of long-ago summers.
I wrapped up the session, gave instructions to the attendant regarding Dennis’s medicine, donned my heavy coat, hat, and gloves, and left. I lived nearby, and walking to and from work gave me exercise I desperately needed.
The way home took me past Breck’s Pond, and on a whim, I detoured through the woods nearby, taking a little-used path. It started to snow, and I lifted the collar on my coat against the icy wind. It would be dark soon.
As I neared the pond, I struck off toward the clearing Dennis had mentioned and saw through the maples a family of snow people, sitting on chairs around a table. I stopped at the treeline and smiled. The kids had been busy, and I could see how, in Dennis’s fevered mind, they might seem alive. They wore hats, smiles made of twigs, and one had a bright red scarf wound around its neck.
A twig arm moved, and I heard words on the breeze. “It starts tomorrow.”
Almost didn’t do one this week. Got really busy with work, and Sunday, I wrote all afternoon and into the evening. But here it is! 🙂
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