During that night in the village, the place is filled with festive lights and noises. Children and adults crowd in the plaza, clinking their cups together and laughing heartily. Their shoes step on a ground blanketed with white snow, but none of it crowns their heads. Not a single worry is given, not a single cry is heard.
Except for the shrieks of delight.
Unknowingly, an extra and invisible boy is lurking in their midst. Throwing snowballs on the backs of unexpected villagers, stealing food from the banquets….making the snow appear.
No one notices the snowballs flinging at them out of nowhere. They blame it on others and, without warning, they start a fight. Tables get knocked down, people are pushed around…but no one complains. Those cries of happiness just get louder and louder and that invisible voice joins in, even though no one can hear it.
Finally, the racket toned down, leaving nothing but sudden giggles and playful pushing. “That was fun, right, Maria?” a boy asks.
“Yes, it was. But now the plaza’s all messy,” a young girl replies, chuckling at the end of her statement.
The invisible boy smiles at the sound.
“They wouldn’t care,” the boy points out. “It’s a festival! It’s not fun if there’s no mess, am I right?”
“Yes you are,” the silent voice comments.
“No,” Maria laughs. “I’m sure the person who started all this would get reprimanded for making this ruckus.”
“Well, if he gets in trouble with the parents, I’ll have to praise him! He has some guts right there! Whoever started this must have been one brave soul, sacrificing himself for the betterment of the people!”
Maria giggles. “Betterment? You mean entertainment?”
“They’re all but the same!”
Their conversation ends and the invisible boy couldn’t help but break out a smile. He made that snow day and started that snowball fight. He feels kind of proud to be able to bring joy to a whole village, just because of that. But just as his emotions were at his happiest, they fell the moment the two children walked past him…literally.
Not once did they glance at him, not even a shiver or a flinch. They run back into the crowd, going through that invisible man, and they continue having fun.
Painful memories of being alone crash down upon him once more. ‘No one can see nor hear me,’ he reminds himself, kicking the snow with frustration. Hearing the laughter of children brings him bliss, of course, but no one notices him. He’s a nobody in their book.
Jack couldn’t stand the festivities anymore. He flies up, as high as he can go, but he can still hear the echo of their laughter. He zooms away, back to his lake. His lake.
He could make a living anywhere, he knew. He doesn’t need to sleep or eat that much and he hardly becomes tired. If he did need to sleep, he can bring down an heavy coat of snow and sleep on it. Extremely cold temperature is no problem for him anyway. If he needs food, he could just nick it out of people’s plates, seeing as no one could find out it was him.
However, he feels some sort of connection to the lake, like something was there that was left unspoken. Also, it was there he “resurrected”…in a way. The man in the moon brought him to life here, so there must be an explanation why square one was there.
He starts to get near his lake and, as usual, a wail is heard. He immediately swoops down and lands, only to see a little girl, sitting on a tree stump, crying her eyes out.
This isn’t the first time Jack has seen the girl. After he was brought to this world, Jack explored the perimeter to see if he could find anything that would help him remember about his past. When he couldn’t, he came back, only to see a girl crying on the lake.
He never really saw it, but he had a feeling she’s been coming back ever since he left. She had brown hair, reaching up to her elbows and pale yet freckled skin. She had a wide set of brown eyes and big pink nose. She always wore a brown dress with winter designs at the hem of her skirt. Odd enough, the material matched the coat he wore around his shoulders.
Now, months have passed yet she arrives every single day, muttering under her breath—a chant, or a prayer. Jack was always tempted to listen, but it felt wrong. Something this emotional…he didn’t want to intrude.
Tonight, she’s back and Jack’s heart aches, seeing her so broken down. He estimates her age being eight or nine…definitely a child. She doesn’t deserve to cry this much, no matter what happened.
He never did anything to actually cheer her up. He didn’t know what to do. Actually, he was hoping, day after day, that she wouldn’t come back and things were okay for her back at home. But she didn’t stop.
He hates seeing her so sad that night, especially since the villagers are all so happy. It just isn’t fair for one soul—no matter how small—to be so unhappy when the others aren’t.
Jack knows a little about his powers. Wherever he was, if he stayed there a bit too long, a cloud of snow would gather in the sky, even though he didn’t will it to come. He can make snowballs out of thin air and cover any surface with a thin sheet of ice.
None of those would make her happy, he knows. But there is one trick he’s been itching to do. It hasn’t been done successfully, but he willed it to be.
‘Please,’ he pleads to the man in the moon as the girl’s cries become louder. ‘If happiness means anything, you’ll make this happen.’
He brings up his staff, a long pole with a “C” curve on top. He summons all his will and concentration into the sky. He commands the clouds to form, trembling as he does so. The weeping girl doesn’t look up from her hands, even when the sky is disturbed.
Finally, it happens. White snow adorns the girl’s head, sprinkling over her clothes. She looks up and Jack gets a good look on her features. Her eyes are bloodshot and her whole face is covered in tears. Even though her lips are still trembling, she smiles as she sees the white snow falling on her face.
Jack leans on his staff, content with the girl’s grin. The girl, who not once stopped crying, the girl who came everyday…
…The girl he never felt familiar with….
Smiled for once. That night, those corners of her mouth never fell nor disappeared. Even when she left, not looking back. Even though he knew she couldn’t see him, he waves a goodbye. “Such a nice girl,” he says to himself.
“I wonder who she is.”