Once upon a time, there was a girl.
She was slumped on the cobblestone ground, sobbing. She couldn't care about the world around her anymore. The snow, the lampposts the wind... all of it just meaningless now. She just wanted to be alone, just fade away and disappear.
She was denied of her wish when a mysterious tall man came along. She wanted to run, but she had already run all this way into an unknown place, and her body was too tired to move. She wanted to scream, but the cold air was too much on her throat. And nobody else would be able to hear her anyway.
"Are you alright, girl?"
"...answer me, please. It's freezing out here and you're lying down here by yourself. Surely something's wrong, let me he–"
"Shut up. Let me die."
She really wanted to die. Not that she was suicidal in the first place, but how else could she get back what she was missing?
"Miss, please. I can help you find your parents, or do you have any siblings that can pick you up?"
"You're stranded here! Surely they must be worried sick looking for yo–"
"MY FAMILY'S DEAD. Happy?"
The cold winds picked up in intensity, filling the silence. It seems another blizzard was imminent.
"...look. I'm sorry. I know it's a huge burden to live with, to deal with a sudden shock like that. But please, let me help you out. It's not the end."
The man approached her closer, and she could see more details of his appearance illuminated by the lampposts. Not at all menacing, but quite gentle and youthful. Was his white hair natural?
"Why should I follow you?" she croaked. "My parents and brother are all dead from the house fire, and none of my uncles, aunts or cousins like us. They'd be happy to see us gone. They see us as an embarrassment to the family name. Even my classmates hate me, and their parents see me as an eyesore."
The man extended his right hand. "I don't hate you. And I don't like to see people die."
She was already halfway to dying, halfway to seeing her family again. She just had to close her eyes, and sleep. Painless and peaceful.
So why did she still have the urge to grab his outstretched hand and get up? Why was he making a part of her fight back and keep on living? She'd never met him before, and knew absolutely nothing about him, yet she felt as though she was in the company of a close friend.
The gales howled relentlessly, engaged in a series of crescendi.
"The blizzard's almost in full force. I can provide you with shelter and comfort for as long as you want. You don't have to go back to your relatives if you think it'd be futile. But you don't have to die out here."
His right hand gestured the girl to come forth.
I'm sorry, Mom, Dad, and Bobby. But I can't meet you just yet...
She grasped firmly onto her lifeline.
And so the two quickly ran off into the distance, the white snow slowly masking their presence. She wanted to run away from life at first, but now she desperately ran towards life. Towards an uncertain future.
She would never be seen again for a while...