Winter in Providence was always a special time of year for me, ever since I was young. I loved waking up to a blanket of white snow covering everything, sparkling in the morning sunlight. Everything seemed clean and fresh and new, like a fresh start. This winter is different, though – like everything is different now. It’s darker, the snow seems more grey than white, and the trees have taken on an ominous, sinister look – I keep expecting to see something or hear something that shouldn’t be there, something hiding just under the surface.
Things are still quiet around the house, mostly. We hear noises often – creaks, whispers, scratching sounds – but they are faint, so we both shift our gazes slightly in the direction the sounds and then shift back and pretend we’re not hearing anything, that everything is fine. It’s become like a mantra for us now – everything is fine, there are no strange footprints in the snow, everything is fine, we’re not hearing footsteps in the hallway, everything is fine, those books must have been balanced precariously on the shelf before they fell.
Everything is fine. I know what things lurk in the shadows now, the terrors at the dark corners of our world, and it drains me – even when there’s nothing going on, I feel like I’m just holding my breath waiting for something terrible to happen.
Winter is cold, and grey, and wicked, but everything is fine.