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Little Prince's Holiday Adventure

(For Anais)

The journey home was blistering - he braved the cold, but had braved more than this just before. Winds were picking up. He was a descendant of mountain men, whale hunters and brave pioneers alike, but still, he recoiled within himself. He was not like his fathers and what he'd just done especially had proved it. Temperatures had dropped so low the freeze was now hot. The prince clutched his present, protecting it more than himself, for nature was the enemy here. Retrieving the jewel was only half the mission; bringing it back was the other. The blizzard began while he was in the cave. Creatures with scriptures etched into their flesh, metal drilled into appendages. They sniffed him, stalked him, swarmed him. Now, in the white night, he could still see their cat-like eyes peering at him...could feel those stares as piercing as the needle that went him when he was crowned just minutes after entering.

He was home now. Warmth. He shed his double coat, which, despite, his flesh was still blurple*, veins numb and near collapse...but there it was, unharmed, unabated...presented for her...glistening with the shine of a thousand holiday miracles. The pain he had just endured for her, it had mostly numbed from the cold, but now, the heat of her embrace was bringing it back to life. She clutched him, stared two misty eyes into his one and said, "What did you do?"