Fire and Ice (Short Story)

One was made from fire, one was made from ice.

That is how our stories start. Our parents were old and childless, they wanted kids, yada yada yada. Long story short, it was a cold winter, dad went out to make a snow baby, mom stayed home near the fire and lo and behold, my sister and I came into this world.

We are opposites, as you can guess. She is beautiful - porcelain-white skin with white hair and ice-clear eyes. I am her opposite with my skin like fired clay and my coal black eyes burning all day.

“Hinoko! Where are you?”

“Right here, Yukiko.”

My sister comes into view, the cart next to her. “Have you forgotten what day it is?”

“Of course not,” I exclaim as I hurry towards her. “Market day is the highlight of my week.”

Together, we make our way to the market, where we will set up store in a little corner. There, we will sell ice from the nearby lake, my sister’s beauty drawing the customers in. Later, we will use the money to buy food for our parents and we will have gotten the weekly interaction our parents deemed necessary.

“Ice,” my sister cries. “The best ice in this part of the country!”

“Ice again?” Hina asks as she stops in front of the stall. She is the second palest girl and has been trying to make friends with my sister since we appeared, under the principle that you must keep potential enemies close. “Aren’t you tired of selling the same thing?”

My sister smiles politely. “Will you be making your usual purchase?”

Hina shakes her head. “Sorry, but I don’t need to. My fiancĂ© is here and he brought ice from the capital.”

“That’s wonderful,” my sister says politely.

“Will we see you at the dance?”

“No,” I answer for us. “And you’re interfering with our business.”

“Isn’t your sister adorable,” Hina says. “Oh look, here he comes.”

An arrogant-looking man walks towards us, his stride too big for his stature. He and Hina are well suited.

“Darling,” Hina cries, but the man doesn’t look at her. Instead, he’s looking at my sister. As they all do.

“Who are you?”

“That’s just Yukiko,” Hina cuts in. “Yukiko, my fiancĂ©. We were just leaving.”

“If I had known that a girl as beautiful as you existed, I would have waited,” arrogant boots says. And then he makes a mistake.

He reaches for my sister.

“Hinoko,” my sister says as she backs away. Ice cannot take the warmth of a human touch. But fire can.

I leap towards arrogant boots and push him down.

“Don’t you dare touch her,” I say, enjoying the heat that courses through me. Already, he is starting to singe.

I am fire and fire consumes. I have been leashed for far too long. My laughter starts to sound like the cackling of coal, as my nature consumes this body.

I am Fire and

I
Will
Burn
This

An icy-cold hand grabs hold of mine. I look up to see my sister standing above me, the same placid smile on her face.

“Let’s go, Hinoko,” she says gently. “The sun will set soon.”

We leave our wares and the crying Hina and head home. Arrogant boots still lives, since Yukiko swooped in at the last possible minute.

My sister holds my hand the whole way home. Her icy touch puts out the flames and by the time the cottage is in sight, I think clearly again. It was wrong of me to try and burn it all and if fire could feel guilt, I would.

“I will tell Papa and Mama that we should not go to the village for the time being,” Yukiko says. “Wait here.”

She lets go of my hand and heads through the doorway. I look down at the hand she grasped.

A snowdrop has grown.

AN: I was listening to episode 96 of the Myths and Legends podcast (Cold as Ice) and this popped into my head when I should have been sleeping. Let me know what you think. 

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