Pain exploded in Max’s leg; the shrapnel punctured his thigh like a cocktail stick in an hors-d’oeuvre. Jess was slumped forward, her hair straggled around her face; concealing the damage.

“Jess?” He called out weakly. ‘Please be ok!’ he prayed.

His battered body screamed in protest, as he leaned awkwardly across the mangled wreckage of metal and splintered glass to reach her.

She was gone…

Max howled wildly, a terrible sound weighted with the bleakness of despair. It wrapped itself around him, a shadowy entity whose claws tore at his heart. He didn’t know how long he sat there sobbing- not caring if he lived or died. Pain poked persistently at his brain, awaiting acknowledgement, but was denied audience by his grief. The inky blackness of the night and effulgent beauty of the stars
was lost on him, all he knew was grief, pain, and cold.

The jagged shards of glass that remained of the ruptured windows crackled and crunched as an insidious frost consumed it. The wind sliced like a blade, and the cold air bit mercilessly. Nebulous breath seeped from his mouth like noxious gas. An angelic light suddenly engulfed his vision.

‘I must be dying too,’ he thought, throwing his arms wide, inviting death to devour him.

A form manifested within the light, it was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen. It looked human, but it glowed translucently. Wherever it stepped patterned snowflakes of great beauty swirled into existence, like singular works of art.

“I am a star at the end of my life,” it said, it’s voice hauntingly melodious. “My dying magic can save her, but it comes at a cost.”

“Anything- do it!” Max begged desperately. His heart beat so fast he felt like he was being thumped.

“Consider first, before you answer,” the star warned, red comets flashing within its eyes.

“Your firstborn child shall live- but not as you know it.” It said, pointing a luminous finger towards Jess’s abdomen.

“What?… I don’t understand,” he whispered, his mind a swirling vortex of confusion.

“She is three months with child.”

Max’s heart dropped like a penny-wish tossed into a fountain.

“I, I didn’t know,” he stammered, “I thought you meant Jess…” he put his head in his hands and wailed for his love, and the child he never knew they had.

“If you choose to do this, the child will be different to all others. She shall never know love, nor warmth- though she will have beauty beyond measure.”


“She’ll have power unrivalled— the child of sorrow and winter. The queen of ice and snow.”

“…do it,” Max whispered, sobs clamouring in his throat.

The star placed its glimmering hands across Jess’s belly. Light throbbed and pulsated, blinding Max completely. Shockwaves rippled outwards, the star burst like a firework; glistening fountains of stardust erupted against the darkness. Max blinked frantically trying to clear his vision, but all he could see was driving snow and great castles of glittering ice.

Submitted by: Nina Makin