A blanket of paper-thin white lingered atop the sleeping lands as attenuated slivers of chalk drifted from the tapestry of stars above and the blossoming, midnight sky. Snow danced in the starlight- a series of choreographed specks of powdered ivory, coating the gnarled branches jutting from the ice in a thick glaze of dust. It danced, twirled, swayed in the twilight as starlight gleamed by its side.

I exhaled, observing the smoky whiteness of my breath as it dissipated into the silent, numbing sky as frost hugged the limbs of the tree, patiently awaiting the daylight. Pearlescent orbs glided down from the suspended wisps of steam perched atop the ebony sky, falling atop the boughs of the tree and its arms drooped low, sinking down with the burden of rime and starlight. 

It was beautiful.

Intricate patterns of crystalline swirls adorned the ice-cold world around me as everything remained so still, so silent save for that gentle whisper of the calling wind and the whistling of the snowfall. Snow fell from the heavens, bleached as it was silent, a blessing of the coldest white, draping over the world in the cool warmth of winter as it wafted onto the earth. Wintry trees stood poised; silvery particles varnished the craggy limbs littered across the land barren save for white and darkness melding with the strewn boughs.

The world was so quiet, the night was so vivid, the shadows were so still. The snow: softer than kisses, quieter than a breathless whisper, brighter than the stars. 

And something emerged out of the ashes. A rustle, a flitting of gossamer wings. A blur of fawn plumage, hovering, for all the world to see. Its chestnut irises glistened, stars evident in its eyes; flecked pinions capered, smudging the hazel-white of the mantle into a tawny brown. A crown of grey lay atop its head and before I could blink again, the critter darted back into the shadow of the night.

But still the world was enveloped with white and still the snow fell, still the pearls rained from the sky like teardrops suspended in the light. The skies still brimmed with unbridled grey and the incandescent stars still beamed.

I still remember the dainty fluttering of wings and the veil of darkness the woodpecker emerged under; I still remember the auburn plumage and the snow gliding with the breeze. I still remember how the snowflakes sailed soundlessly and the wind whispered in the trees.

I’ll never forget.

  • Tsz Ching Cheung
  • : Pupil- aged 13.
  • : youth_(12_–_18_as_of_31st_december_2019)
  • : This is the first time this story has been published.