18.0 Zero_Chapter 7: Warmth

“Snowflakes brushed past the window’s frosty white glass. The world outside the window was white. And it was also cold. Very cold. The room was cold too, just like the little girl sitting on the floor. Her nose was blue from the cold, her eyebrows had faint traces of frost, and she was shivering.

But a warm, orange light danced in her eyes. She was alone with nobody to talk to. Nobody to keep her company. The only thing she had was the candle burning beside her. The candle’s flame burned gently, flickering in the cold but never going out. As if it couldn’t bear to leave the little girl alone in the cold.

The wind outside grew fiercer, the window was plastered in white. The girl blew white mist from her mouth and folded her arms. She stared at the little candle burning in front of her. The orange flame flickered and danced on the candlewick, drawing long shadows on the walls.

You could see things in the shadows. Animals and plants, mountains and rivers, cities and forests. In the shadows that the little candle drew on the wall, was the world outside the window. The world that the girl had never seen before.

But the girl wasn’t interested in the shadows. All she cared about was the candle; her only source of warmth and light in this cold, dark room. She stared at the candle, and the candle stopped flickering, as if it was staring back at her.

The candlewick burned black before a tiny part of it broke and fell. The girl looked at the candle with alarm, afraid that it would go out and leave her all alone, but the orange flame danced on the candlewick, refusing to go out. Refusing to leave her alone.

A pool of clear liquid formed around the wick. The girl stared at the candle, worried again. The melted wax flowed down the candle’s side like a teardrop. The girl asked the candle if it was crying. Had she done something to make it sad?

The orange flame flickered and danced, casting shadows on the walls again. Shadows of people that she could meet outside the window, if she could just get through the blizzard outside.

But the girl didn’t care about the people living in the world outside the window. All she cared about was the little candle burning in front of her.

The frost on the window spread inside, covering the walls, and banishing the shadows.

It spread to the girl, whose teeth began chattering. She inched closer to the candle. The room was frozen except for a little circle around the candle. The girl was closer to the candle now. She felt the warmth of its flame on her skin. The love it bore for her and its reluctance to part with her, she felt all of it.

The walls were covered in ice and frost, so the shadows could only dance around on the floor. This time the shadows made no strange shapes or figures. This time, they drew the silhouette of the girl and the candle.

She stared at the candle again. She didn’t like the cold. She didn’t like the window. And she certainly didn’t like the world outside the window.

But she did like the candle and the gentle warmth it draped over her. Sitting on the floor beside the candle, enjoying its warmth and watching its flame flicker and dance, made her happy. She wouldn’t mind staying like this forever.

But then a powerful gust of wind burst through the window, bringing an unbearable chill with it. Snow swirled angrily around the room, turning the room as white as the world outside.

The girl shivered uncontrollably, and her eyes began to close. The wind buffeting the candle’s flame, making it flicker and dance in a frenzy.

But it didn’t go out.

The flame grew brighter, its gentle warmth fighting against the bitter cold. Tears fell off the sides of the candle, making a pool of white wax that somehow managed to stand out from the snow covering the rest of the room.

The candle burned brighter and brighter, its warmth washing over the girl, pushing back the chill in her body and refusing to let her succumb to the cold. But even as the girl’s eyes opened once more, the candle’s tears flowed down its cheeks as it got shorter and shorter.

The girl stared at it in alarm. She told it to stop, but the candle refused and burned even brighter, fighting back the cold, white layers of snow inside the room. It grew shorter and shorter, until it was only the size of a thumb. The unrelenting, chilly winds kept blowing at the candle’s flame, but even now, it refused to go out.

The girl stared at the candle, tears streaming down her cheeks just as they streamed down the candle’s sides. In the end the candle burned brighter than ever, before the last of its wick crumpled in the flames and burned to ashes, while the gentle, orange glow finally faded.

The cold winds blew savagely through the air, as if celebrating their victory. The girl sat there, staring at the puddles of wax that had once been her only companion in this cold, dark room.

Strangely enough, she wasn’t cold anymore. There was a gentle warmth inside her, protecting her from the cold. She didn’t take the candle’s remains with her, because this was the candle’s home and it had never wanted to leave. It had wanted her to go out and see the world outside the window, so she slowly stood up and climbed out the window.

The world outside the window was white. It was also cold. Very cold.

A little girl walked out into the world outside the window. Her only source of warmth, the memories of a gentle orange glow and a flickering, dancing flame. The memories of a candle burning brightly and warmly in the cold.

The memories of a friend.

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6 thoughts on “18.0 Zero_Chapter 7: Warmth

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  1. Dang man. Kai is good with those tear jerkers. Really enjoying the story so far. Always interested to ponder how video game worlds would function if they suddenly became real.

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    1. Yep, he’s great with the tear jerkers (the ending is depressing as hell 😛 )
      Also, I tried to make sure that the video game world aspect of the story would seem as realistic as possible whilst making the story mature and professional (a lot of video game world based stories tend to devolve into simple comedies or action fests but I thought a more serious world would make for a more interesting story) And thank you so much for reading! Hope to see you soon! ^_^

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      1. Reminds me of Log Horizon in how it takes the video game world seriously. Everything else (plot, character motivations, etc) is different.

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