I can’t believe that it’s Christmas Eve again! It seems like just yesterday that I was just settling down for a long winter’s nap…

      I hadn’t planned on posting until after Christmas, but I thought I’d post a small piece of a novel I’ve been working on (out of the many in-progress). I haven’t written very much of it (I don’t even have much of a plot yet) but I thought that putting it on Writersblok might give me some inspiration.

      Willow’s auburn hair encircled her as she plunged into the depths of the water. Iciness ran up her spine like cold, wet fingers, but she didn’t care. The pond was her comfort, and even in the early spring before the snow melted did she seek its consolation. It embraced her like a knowing friend, holding her closely and releasing her only when she chose to leave it.

      She pushed off of the ground and swam upward, her head breaking the surface of the water and pushing her hair back from her pale shoulders. The sky above was a bleak gray continuance of the world below, which had not yet revived since winter. Only the water seemed to hold life now, and was a refuge to more creatures than the slender, introverted Willow Hayes.

      “You’re more fish than human, you know,” said Willow’s best and only friend, Liam Hill. His voice was mocking, but Willow knew that it held a ring of truth. This is what everyone told her; she was naturally inclined toward the world underwater rather than the one belonging to her own species.

      Willow blinked water from her silvery-blue eyes and tucked her hair behind her ears. “I know,” she replied lightly. “That’s what you always say.”

      Liam’s lips pulled up in a half smile. “Then I’m always right. Why don’t we do something today?”

      Willow arched an eyebrow questioningly.

      “I mean other than swimming,” Liam added.

      “Hm. I don’t know,” Willow sighed, laying back in the water and letting it hold her afloat. “Can’t we just stay here for a while?”

      “Willow, you’re going to get hypothermia. Seriously, why don’t you just wait until it gets warmer?”

      Willow stared up at the sky, so dull and unchanging. “I can’t wait that long. Anyway, I’m used to the cold. I like it.”

      Liam shook his head, sitting back and looking at Willow sideways. She wore a spaghetti-strap white sundress that floated around her like a sheet. It was almost the color of her skin, which never seemed to get darker- even during the summer.

      “You know, the water suits you,” Liam said quietly, watching as she sliced like a missile through the surface. She stopped at the bank where he sat and rested her arms in the grass.

      “It makes me nervous, you swimming when it’s this cold,” Liam commented, looking at her intently. “Won’t you please get out and dry off?”

      Willow let out a loud breath. “Oh Liam, you worry too much,” she scoffed, but she pulled herself out of the water and accepted the towel anyway.

      Liam averted his eyes as Willow dried off, pulling the towel through her long hair and wrapping it around her soaked dress.

      “There, are you happy?” she asked, lifting her arms in defeat.

      “Very,” Liam said with a smirk. “Now let’s go inside and you can get on some dry clothes. Maybe something that actually fits the weather?”

      Willow rolled her eyes. “So desolate and dead?”

      “I meant warm,” Liam laughed, his deep brown eyes glistening. “I’m cold and I wasn’t even in the water. I don’t know how you’re not dead yet.”

      Willow shrugged. “I’m different, I guess.”

      “Very different,” Liam corrected. “As in, you’re probably a rare subspecies of human that hasn’t been discovered yet.”

      Willow glowered at him, her eyebrows lowered in irritation.

       Liam grinned and put his arm around her shoulder. “Don’t worry, Will. Nowadays different is something to be proud of.”

      “Whatever,” Willow muttered.

      Liam laughed again, his white teeth bright against his bronze skin. “Why are you in a bad mood?”

      “I’m not in a bad mood,” Willow said flatly.

      “Yes you are. You’re acting sort of gloomy, and… hostile.”

      Willow pulled away from him, crossing her arms over her chest and walking alone. “I’m not acting hostile.”

      Liam hurried to catch up so their footsteps were in sync. “Maybe not. But there’s definitely something wrong.”

      “There’s nothing wrong. Maybe it’s the weather.”

      “That was a contradictory sentence,” Liam mused. He stopped grinning when she flashed him a bitter glance. “Sorry, I’ll stop talking now.”

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