Waking up felt as normal as every other time, rather than the miserable cold harshly pressing against her skin. Below her back was a soft surface, mattress-like, though she knew little of such a feeling. Though her eyes were unable to clear up the blurry vision, her ears caught wind of a jotting pen in the distance.
Panic was a lovely way to wake anyone up, though this merely increased her awakening rather than caused it to happen instantly. Actions happened in jolts, such as jumping out of the bed she was on, though finding little strength to actually catch herself. At least she didn’t slam against snow, but wood. Well, how lucky that was depends on the perspective.
The scratches against paper then stopped, silence causing panic to settle and her heart to beat rapidly with sheer panic. Attention was brought onto her and she had no idea how to react, she just woke up!
Gentle steps were taken, rather than the unexpected rough ones in her head. They were light, cautious perhaps? It was not like April possessed an inch of combat within her mind, she seemed to be as harmless as an insect in a sunsoaked meadow… Field. Just the thought caused her to clench her teeth, the thought of that comfort was too much to bare as of currently.
“I see that you didn’t sleep too well?” A male voice asked, a somewhat developed one by the sound of it. An adult? Teenager perhaps? Eh, something in between? Whatever the case, she felt no better about the matter, sticking to her silence.
“Spring, right?” The voice persisted. Not a single finger laid on her dress in an attempt to bring her up, merely a voice that tried to persuade. Wise choices, it brought April’s head upwards, though her body sloppily plopped back awkwardly against a nightstand. A few journals were knocked to the side as a result, but nothing too bad otherwise.
What caught her attention the most was that her name was delivered to her, though she possessed no idea as to how she should react. But that innocent face couldn’t hold a lie, shock was bound to bleed through. The capped stranger merely smiled calmly in turn. Weird eyes he possessed, green with red inside? No, red and white.
“I figured,” The man continued, stepping back a little. April’s eyes caught onto the red shirt, followed by a black pair of pants and a black journal in his hands. Interesting winter attire, but who would she be to judge. “Call me Noel. Noel Winter. I was told of your arrival to come.”
“T-Told?” Spring questioned, placing her palms on the floor before pushing herself up with momentous force. Onto one knee, then none, it wouldn’t take long for her to wobble up onto her feet. “By whom?”
“That is of no importance.” Winter replied, rolling his free wrist around before opening it up towards her. “But if you keep burying yourself further into the snow, you’ll find yourself dead in no time.”
April crossed her arms over her chest in response to his prophetic words lecturing her. Let’s continue stating the obvious, surely they could obtain some progress from this. This “Noel” seemed to understand social cues well enough to stop while he was ahead.
“Ah, no worries. Though you did possess a rather lovely camera. That book, however…” Trailing tones from Winter to indicate his disapproval. Spring was swift to get defensive for her photography.
“As if I need your approval, just give me my c-camera and scrapbook.” She ordered through chilled and somewhat drowsy words. It was an attempt, but it just wasn’t in April to have fire and retort. A pride that wasn’t so well-guarded, perhaps a sharper tongue would increase her risks and rewards.
With unpredictability, the odds were impossible to calculate. But what were odds when luck was on her side. Supposedly.
“Oh? You mean,” Noel paused in the middle of his sentence, turning back towards to table before pointing out the camera. “That one?”
Either her eyes were too dreary or that camera was just placed there. Regardless, that was merely half of the puzzle. Perhaps there was slight combat potential in her after all if she didn’t obtain her memory-filled scrapbook. Her lips were swift to open, but words never left, interventions saved the day.
“Aye, aye,” Noel mellowed, noting that keeping a guest waiting for things like that would get his head gnawed off. “Your scrapbook is safe as well. But by the looks of it, you don’t know what it is capable of doing.”
“What are you going on about?” Spring asked, her tone implying little care for his words and more about the results. “Just give me my book.”
Four walls, a ceiling, a setting. Different from the tall blades of spring or the harsh floors of winter. One must observe, but April did that when it was convenient. How unfortunate.
“I have a much better idea,” Winter replied, a taunting sing-song tone looking to scrape salt on the bleeding mental wound. “You will have it back once you learn how to use it.”
“I have a different proposal,” Spring retorted, snarling in turn. Her livelihood was being used to toy with her and she was not having it. There was only so much she could take before she started getting snappy and offensive. “Give me, my, BOOK!”
Silence then filled the air, tensions higher with a smile and a snarl. Confidence versus irritation. Two creative minds in conflict, but there seemed to be an underlying message in his words. There was nothing she could do to get the book back without him and she full-well knew it. A mental shackle, effective enough for her to stand down and let the impatience in her head simmer.
“Learn how to use it,” Spring repeated, her head tilting to the side. Her arms were still crossed, so that part of her stern tone was lessened. “What are you implying?”
Noel’s smile never ceased, it increased if anything. He seemed so sure of his words despite her hostile words previously. Perhaps it was an orchestrated scenario in his head? Whatever it was, she just needed to obtain the book and she can be on her merry way. It seemed like he wasn’t going to cough it up so easily.
He best pray he had it now or else she will use all zero of her experience to kill him and everyone he loved.
“I have a situation on my hands and I need your assistance,” Noel explained, walking back towards his desk. April couldn’t see through his back, perhaps he was getting the book?
Unfortunately, not the case. There was a pen in his formerly free hand, topped with a classy orange feather on top of it. What did that matter in this “situation” he was talking about?
“You need to be enlightened with photography of a different form,” He explained, placing the tip of the feather against his chin as if he were pondering. “The one who brought you here desires your demise. If you are unable to defend yourself, your blood will paint the clean white snow with your red.”
“And how come I should believe you!?” Accusatory as a follow-up for her defensive nature. Who was this stranger to act like there was some assassin on her when he wouldn’t give her his book back? Priorities.
Silence filled the air for a moment, but no amount of cleared thoughts would give her the will to continue. Perhaps that was learning to Noel’s eyes, for he continued once a few seconds passed.
“Who do you think brought you from the snow?” Answering a question with a question usually was terrible for getting a point across. This was an exception for someone with little experience in social interaction, a rookie mistake for either side could be declared. In this scenario, April bit onto the hook and held on firmly.
There was no reason to doubt. She woke up in a bed. She last fell into a blanket of snow. The only one to even take the claim of bringing her here was the one that stood under the same roof.
It took restraint to hold back her urge to continue fighting, but she managed to seal it long enough to consider his words again.
“If there truly is a threat out the-“
“I assure you,” Noel interjected. “That threat will not hesitate to finish the job if you are unable to embrace what I could teach you. Either take my guidance or live, or perhaps you wish to find out what is out there and perish.”
He seemed so indifferent as well, not so persuasive in his tone like before. Somehow, that managed to grip her harder than his attempts in the beginning. Build-up mattered, but it was hard when there was little else to consider, and the story he provided made perfect sense.
Hesitant, absolutely. But if there was something she needed to shield herself against… Well…
“Hm,” She pondered just a slight bit, head tilted downwards to reflect a slight bit more. It didn’t take long for her to look back up to the season in front of her before nodding her head.
Care to read a few tales? I just happen to have a few!