All he could see was a sea of endless white. Whilst the never-ending blizzard raged on, the wind was wailing, its voice raw as that of an apparition floundering in the sloughs of death, and from it cold currents of air seeped through the unseen cracks and crevices on the car’s armor. His breaths materialized into visible mist when he shakily exhaled the air he had taken in. The tips of his fingers, though clad in leather gloves lined with fur, were already bloodless from the chill. There was no other choice, nevertheless, than to wait here on the roadside until the storm lost its vigor. It was way too dangerous to roam in this weather. Especially since they were stranded on their way up the mountainside.
“Terrifying, isn’t it?” Morphea whispered. He turned his head to look at her, but her complexion was rather inscrutable. She didn’t actually appear to be intimidated—on the contrary, she looked serene yet distant.
“The storm?” he asked, bewildered.
“Not just any storm. Snowstorm. It’s so pure, bright, and white, but it effaces. It wipes out and erases with its icy hands.”
“You were always the one to immerse yourself in deep musings,” he softly chuckled.
“I was,” she nodded in agreement. A faint smile hung on her lips.
Morphea Nocturn. She was the last one he had expected to meet on his trip up the mountain, not to mention lost and in need of assistance. She had told him that the unforeseen blizzard had torn her apart from the rest of her party as they were headed toward a village a few miles up—which happened to be the exact same place he had set as his destination. So it happened that on his way to his hometown, he met his childhood friend whom he had covertly admired for years until having had to move abroad fourteen years ago.
Morphea’s features were as beautiful as ever. It was almost as if her rippling blonde hair and cyan eyes had refused to age a single day. He wondered if the village remained unchanged in its static placidity, too. Irrational it was, but there was a feeling that everything residing in the village halted in its very place the moment his feet left its soil. Like they would all unfreeze when he returned after fourteen long years.
“The weather forecast never mentioned a blizzard,” he mumbled. He was promised that a cloudy sky was the worst state Mother Nature would present him with on this day.
“Maybe they were wrong.”
“They are wrong. I don’t know when we’ll be able to get back on the road,” he laid his right hand on the steering wheel. Eyebrows slightly furrowed from the worry clawing up from down his throat. Or worse, if we’ll be able to get back on the road.
“Maybe you were wrong,” Morphea quietly intoned. When he shifted his gaze to her, puzzled, her eyes were searching for something outside and beyond the line of trees, which was veiled by the fervor of white. The contour of her turned face suddenly exuded an outlandish aura.
“What do you mean?”
“You are wrong,” she stated in a firmer tone this time. “Remember?”
Morphea’s gaze was still fixed on whatever was outside the window. He was at the same time more confused than ever. “What are you talking about, Morphea? Remember what?”
An unreadable feeling niggled at the back of his head. It was a barely detectable pulse echoing inside the walls of his skull, but it felt somewhat nasty. Like a greasy smudge he could not scrub off, it latched onto his brain and slowly started to tear it asunder into black smithereens.
“You really don’t remember, White?” This time, Morphea turned her face and looked directly into his eyes.
Except there were no eyes.
He winced and took a sharp intake of breath, face blanched as the scene outside. “…Morph?”
“You killed us, White.”
Instantly, he was pulled out of—or was it into?—the trance. The car, the drive, the past childhood love…it was all gone. He was in the very midst of the snowstorm, surrounded by the screams of the howling gale and assailing snow. Everything was cold. All he could register was the numbness. But it didn’t feel agonizing at all. It felt utterly normal and utterly right. Then he realized. He wasn’t standing in the storm. He was the storm.
Every last bit of memory returned. The throbbing black sensation pulsating all throughout his being kindly showed him what had happened fourteen years ago; how he, as a storm, fell in love with a youthful girl named Morphea Nocturn, wreaked havoc upon the tranquil village in which she lived, induced an avalanche that would bury every living soul under the covers of his perennial, lethal White. Inadvertent as it was, his one wish to get a closer glimpse of Morphea Nocturn had led to the death of hundreds. Time had halted altogether in the village the moment his feet left its soil.
“No…,” he sobbed. “No, I didn’t do this. I never meant to do this. I never meant to kill them. I never meant to kill you…”
“Yes you did, White,” the wrathful voice of Morphea reverberated around the mountain. “And you’re fourteen years late to acknowledge it.”
If it was physically possible for an amorphous storm to feel pain in the heart, this was definitely it. Hearing Morphea’s voice dripping with malice so that it was nearly miasmal was too much for him to bear. In his core, he knew with no doubt that she was right. It was entirely his fault. He had laid waste to a whole bustling town, drowning his own memory with it in the process. Effacing, erasing, obliterating. That was his specialty.
“…Help,” weakly he cried out. “Help, Morphea. Help me.”
No answer came. Only the sound of his winds filled the deathly atmosphere.
“I’m in pain! Morphea, help me! I’m sorry! I have to…I have to do something about it…Please, oh God, tell me what to do,” his cracked voice shattered.
Still the loud quiet seemed to stretch on for perpetuity. He frantically looked around, although nothing but the thick layers of himself came into view from all directions. Seized by horror and building panic, he perched on a tree and shuddered violently. And when he thought that this nightmare would go on forever--
“Disappear,” he finally heard. “Erase yourself. Fade away. Never come back. Stop existing. Let your white dissolve.”
His breaths evened.
Yes. The sole way out of this was the end of all. No longer would he have to live with the guilt. No longer would he have to tremble in fear that he might bring upon another calamity to innocent lives. No longer would he have to love anyone only to see them perish because of him.
No more blood.
No more love.
No more White.
Letting himself drift to the sky, he guided every current of wind streaming from him to a stop. Eventually, the last snow to fall kissed the ground. His consciousness slipped away as all that was left of the blizzard was reduced to the peaceful mountain below laden with snow. It was the end. The final end. An end for himself and an end for everyone.
The storm died at last.
White was no more.