They were standing there; the two brothers. Neither could believe what they were seeing. What they could see was so bizarre they could laugh, but at the same time break down in tears.
What they saw in front of them, spreading across to the other side of the street, and out as far as their vision would allow, were snowmen; rows, upon rows, upon frosty rows of lifeless snow manikins. Like tombstones.
Jagged sticks erupted from their snowy-boulder of a torso to form arms, between them uneven rows of coal trailed. Upon their arctic faces sprawled disjointed twig grins, and sunken coal fists to form eyes.
Miles was the first to move, albeit slowly. They fact they couldn’t hear traffic or the sound of birdsong was now screamingly apparent. Dead silence flooded their scarlet ears.
Jimmy now watched his brother approach one of the looming snowmen, just big enough to lean over his head. He wanted to shout for his brother to stop, but it seemed his voice was just as frozen as the hundreds of grins in front of him. Instead, he just followed.
Finally, he cracked open his jaws, “What do you think happened here?” he enquired, trying to hold back shivering.
“Happened?” His brother was still looking around, mystified. Finally the words sunk in, “Happened? Nothing’s happened.”
“Yes, N-nothing” He replied, emphasising the stutter. “Someone’s obviously set this up in the night” He started to finger one of the projecting arms, “You know, to get on the news or something.”
Jimmy nodded, unsure.
Jimmy stepped forward and inspected the many snowmen and ran his gloved fingers against one of their glistening bodies. When he had first seen them, he was certain they were all identical, but now, as he really started to look individually, he noticed; they were all different. Each one, unique; the facial expressions ranged from what Jimmy saw as warmly smiling to that of extreme rage. A prime example of the latter forced him stumbling back, slipping on the ice, it’s dead eyes punched into Jimmy’s subconscious. Now, he was scared. In his intrigue, however, Jimmy had lost all sense of how long he had been out here; had it been hours? Minutes? It was impossible to tell. Being in the presence of the snowman was like falling into a dream, or a nightmare, he couldn’t tell. Yet.
“Miles! I think we should go back in!”
No response. He spun around, starting to panic. Somehow, he had wandered a lot deeper into the territory of the Snowmen then he thought. He couldn’t see where he was. No landmarks, just snowmen, leaning in on him. He ran. Dodging and diving between icy statues and their protruding arms, slipping more than once - hurting his heel. It was on a fourth soaring slip that he achieved a face-full of snow and a thud of pain as his head came into full-forced contact with the icy ground.
And it was there he lay, sprawled flat on his face amid the maze of snowmen. Snowflakes leeched themselves on his back. Jimmy could feel a dull ache of pain from his right shin, and a much more prominent one from his head, but didn’t want to investigate the damage just yet; ignorance would, for now, suffice. The extra-vigorous bump to his head had rendered him temporarily scatterbrained. He couldn’t quite force his mind to locate himself; it didn’t really matter – the cotton snow in front of him seemed to be a perfectly adequate pillow.
Jimmy’s eyes jolted open. He forgot the pain. He knew where he was. A chill ran down his spine, and his cotton cushioning became glass once again. In a fit of numbing panic, Jimmy felt as he was torn off the ground. A clasped hand had him firmly by the collar, he creaked his head to acquaint himself with the intruder’s silhouette. It was Miles.
A sigh of relief emitted from Jimmy like an old engine as he looked up to his stony-faced older sibling.
“I was-” He stumbled. “I was thinking we should get back inside.” He added: “We’ve wandered in too far”.
His brother looked back down at him, “Well, of course we’ve wandered in too far. You’re little marathon just now didn’t exactly help that”.
It was clear from his tone that he was aggravated, but nonetheless relieved to have caught up with his younger brother. It was a duty Miles had always felt; to look after Jimmy. Ever since the death of their father, it was something that came instinctively.
Both the brothers looked around. The sky was turning grey and shadows started to cross the cold withered faces of the surrounding snowmen.
“You know, Miles” Said Jimmy, watching around intently. “I don’t think people put these here”.
His brother frowned, “Neither do I.”