“It’s starting to snow!” “Flakes” is a guys’ love serial novel with romance, intrigue, snow, chocolate, and a dash of Italy, scroll down to read the first episode today. But first, can you find the nod to Japanese boys’ love/yaoi on the cover?
In the first episode, we meet a young man, with very floppy hair, who finds himself lost and wandering through a snowstorm–without friends or even a memory! What will happen to young Cristoforo? And, why, despite his loss of memory, is he still afraid? Each episode opens with a quote to tempt you to read on. This already written novel will be posted in 16 parts. This story is being polished as it is being posted, so please feel free to use the comment section to point out typos, what you like, and what needs a bit more polish.
“Flakes” will only be appearing on this web site. It will be our little web secret.
Flakes, episode 1
After a momentary pause, a finger extended to take up the drop of blood resting on his cheek like the last morsel from a plate.
“It’s starting to snow!” The floppy-haired, young man noticed with surprise. It was like he was seeing snow for the first time. He looked for somewhere to take shelter, but the city street was inhospitable. Its storefronts were dark, shuttered up, and there were closed signs hanging in every door. Was everything closed? Was it evening already? Or, was things closed because of the storm? Pushing the hair before his eyes behind his ears, he looked around, so he might ask someone for the time, but there was no one on the street. By this time of night, much less on such a stormy one, all the decent, hardworking folk were home with their families close, their kettles on, and their curtains drawn. Everything was silent and still, except for the steadily falling snow and the young man, whose head hung lower with each next step. Having freed itself from his ears, his hair once again swung through the air before his eyes as he wondered: “Will I ever find my way home?”
The canopy of clouds glowed over the expanse of city lights, yet the tall, dark silhouettes of the buildings caused long shadows to streak across the street. Whether the illuminate clouds suggested the coming of evening or dawn, the young man was not sure. He was fairly certain it was the end of the day, for he felt tired, very tired, but he was uncertain about everything right now, except for his own name. This was the only thing he remembered. He said it aloud to reassure himself he still existed: “Cristoforo! My name is Cristoforo!” As was intended, this felt reassuring, for he half wondered if he was, or if he had become, more a phantasm of the snow than an actual person.
Gathering his arms before his chest and bending further over his feet, his slight body shook as the snow pelted his face. It was falling faster now. A thick blanket already lay over the storefront awnings, the sidewalk, and the street before him. This blanket bunched up before his feet as he slid more than stepped forward. “My mind is like this snowy street. Blank.”
He wondered when he had first realized he had no memory. Did it happen minutes ago or was that hours ago? He could not remember. Either way, his feet were already hurting from the cold, and so was the rest of him, for he was not wearing a jacket. He could not remember why, where it had gone, or if he even owned one—ever. “The only thing I remember is my name.”
He worried that he might never know anything more about himself again. He wondered if he would have to create a new life. Do people still do that? Could someone really start over with no memory of who they were or the things they had done? This would be convenient if someone had done bad things in the past. It would be especially so if they had discovered something bad about themselves. For this kind of person, his situation might not be so bad then. They would feel shame one moment and silence the next. This might be a new start then, but a fresh start from what—who was he and where was he before this moment, this street, and this storm? Had he done bad things? Had he discovered something bad about himself?
If so, he might consider himself lucky. For while he could not recall anything besides his name, he remembered being afraid, very afraid, and quite recently. This he knew because fear still rose over his skin, roiled his mind, and yet quaked his soul. The cold winds were not the only thing causing him to shake. This much he knew.
He was happy he could remember anything at all, for if was still afraid whatever had frightened him must have been very scary. Maybe it was good that he was now wandering aimlessly through the snowy streets, for whatever lay ahead could not be as scary as what he had faced. Of this, he was certain. Maybe, this was his chance to begin again, but he wondered and worried about everything—and everyone—he would be leaving behind, but maybe this was for the best. “Without a memory, I’m just like one of these snowflakes.”
He reached for a flake floating just before his face, but as he reached for it, the wind swirled it over and under his hand before disappearing. “Like that snowflake, I have disappeared in this storm.”
Proving its disregard for his predicament, the winds slapped his face with a fresh wall of snow. He raised his hand to protect his eyes from the onslaught, but this made it impossible to see the street before him. This was just as well, for he could no longer see it beneath the snow. “My life is as blank as this street.”
Shielding his eyes, he peered between the makeshift shield of his fingers to see what stood before him: “These streets are strange to me. So, I will need to see where I’m going, if I am to get anywhere at all.” Recoiling before a particularly strong gust of wind, he closed his eyes. “I’m freezing, and this storm is getting worse.”
With each next gust, the winds strengthened as they slapped against his body. He struggled to walk against their force until his body gave way and began to lean backward. “I can hardly walk.”
A particularly strong gust threatened to push him off his feet: “I can barely sand up—straight.” The next gust was stronger yet, and it proved to be too much for him. Beneath its force, he fell backwards.
He lay stunned for several seconds. At first, he enjoyed the unexpected escape from the raging storm, and he welcomed the sudden silence around his ears. He could hear the winds blowing over him, and he could see evidence of them in the sheets of snow blowing above him, but from down here, he could only see and hear it only at a distance. He could not feel it. This sudden reprieve made him gleeful, so he stretched out his arms and legs. He fluttered them like wings through the snow, and he laughed until he noticed something warm and wet beneath his right hand. The air above him stilled without warning.
A nearby street lamp glowed beneath its gauzy veil, cars slept beneath a blanket of snow, as did several trashcans and newsstands, and there seemingly in the center of the street lay the outlines of a perfectly formed snow angel. But, this fallen angel had hurt its wing, for along the outer edge of its wingspan, there was a streak of color where the white snow was stained red.
Cristoforo lifted his arm. His face contorted with a sickened expression as he looked at his hand. It was dripping with blood: “Oh, I hate the sight of . . .” And, before the single dangling drop fell on his cheek, he passed out.
As the muffled thud of his arm hitting the snow faded, the air burst with a fresh squall, and within moments, the snow began covering the unconscious body, which was now truly at-risk of disappearing in the storm. It would soon be collected by the cold, hard, steel blades of the massive, unforgiving snow plows, which had just been started in a parking lot on the city’s edge. Tall broad-shouldered men with rough voices and rougher hands were gathering there now to begin liberating the city from the snow, which once again swirled over and under itself, obscuring the street beyond behind a wall of white.
A slender hand emerged from the whirling wall of snow. Its fingers reached for Cristoforo’s pockets, but as the unconscious young man stirred slightly, they moved toward his neck. After a momentary pause, a finger extended to take up the drop of blood resting on his cheek like the last morsel from a plate. Retreating behind the swirling snow, the hand reappeared a moment later, but its bloody finger was now clean yet glistened as if still wet.
A moment later, the hand grabbed Cristoforo’s shirt collar. He jolted awake with shock, surprise, and fear in his eyes and mouth. “Leave me alone! I’m hurt. I don’t know you! I don’t remember anything!”
Cristoforo was pulled to his feet. He found himself staring into the eyes of what he would have assumed was a snowy mirage, if not for the fist holding tightly onto his collar. Within moments, a second hand grasped his shoulder, and then, both hands held him tightly by the shoulders, as if steadying him on his feet. They stood now face to face.
Cristoforo looked fearfully for eyes. He wondered if this was a boy or a girl. The figure was tall yet narrow with angular features, almond shaped eyes, long eyelashes, and flowing hair that blended into the snowy wind. Cristoforo could not tell where her—or rather—his hair ended and the snow began, for everything around this figure seemed to be moving. So, too, was Cristoforo’s head, for having stood too quickly, he was now dizzy—and getting dizzier. He had no sooner realized this before his knees buckled, and he once again leaned backwards.
The tall figure steadied Cristoforo before looking curiously then concernedly into his eyes. “My . . . Angel . . . not hurt . . . help.” Cristoforo only heard a couple of the words being said, but he immediately felt pain as his hand was raised in the frigid air. This was, apparently, being done for examination purposes. A single drop of blood fell from his fingers, staining the snow beneath. “You’re bleeding.”
Looking at his bleeding hand, Cristoforo’s already buckling knees gave way, and he collapsed back into the snow angel he had made. Before he could, he felt himself caught in the figure’s long, outstretched arms and thought he detected the hint of a smile within its face. “You can barely stand on your own. Let’s get you out of this storm.”
This Cristoforo heard before losing consciousness and being carried behind the wall of snow.
Click for the next episode.
“Flakes” © MJ Isola
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