Chapter 1: Colder Than Winter

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With these words, a spark of courage was lit inside the villager's hearts and, with a sudden determination, one by one they picked up a stone and threw them at him alongside the little boy. The stones never truly touched him, but Sun felt as though his heart was being stoned black and blue. With a slight trembling of the lips, tears began to run from his eyes.

"I'm not a monster," Sun whispered sadly to the open air.

But they could not hear his words as they attempted to stone him from 5 feet away. Silently, he closed his eyes while the cold wind once again caressed his face and seemed to freeze his tears on his cheeks. He turned away from the village, went back up the mountain, and walked onto the small the porch wrapped around the whole house. Wiping his tears away with the back of his small and slender hand he continued on to his warm room so he could bury his painful memories and aching heart in the embrace of dreams about happier times.

However, before he even got there the sound of the villages happiness slithered its way up the mountain and to Sun's ears, like a snake. The happiness reflected that they would not be bothered and so happy that the dreadful monster was finally driven away. Feeling like he was sinking into an ocean with no bottom he slid to the ground, his bright, heavily lined violet robes in disarray around him as he leaned back against the column, staring into the grey sky. Soft flakes of snow collected upon his dark lashes and black hair, as the sun made his appearance against the sleepy gray sky. At its sunny appearance, Sun could only smile bitterly.

How ironic it was to be named after the brightest star in the world when he himself was not at all what it represented. Even his heart was not warm and kind. No, he was like ice. Cold and unfeeling, turning into water and disappearing when he was hit with warmth. Sun could only look at the sky with mournful eyes.

Ah, If only that could be true.

As if believing that he would turn into water, disappearing from this mountain and leaving his body to rot away, Sun closed his eyes and let the sunlight bathe him in its gentleness and warmth. Yet, like he had expected, he did not disappear. His skin soaked up the light like a flower in desperate need of water and warmed his body. But no matter how warm the sun was it could only warm his skin and could not pierce the shadows that laughed at him in his head, clinging to his heart like a parasite that could kill the fiercest of beasts. Maybe if he could crack his head and body open then he would feel eternal relief Sun thought to himself.

The idea seemed promising but was soon abandoned when a chickadee flew from a nearby tree and landed on his finger. His loneliness and sadness caused by his isolation forgotten, he slowly brought his finger up a few inches away from his face as he gently ruffled the small bird's feathers beneath its neck with his other finger. A smile he had forgotten he could make lifted up Sun's lips in an expression that seemed far too gentle and warm for any mortal to wear. The bird observed him with its black eyes for it felt no fear, only a warm fuzzy feeling that reminded himself of home.

"Hello little one, it seems that you are far from home," Sun spoke warmly to the little bird, "Did you purposely leave to spend time with me?" Sun teased.

The bird could not hear Sun's words but understood the tone of voice and chirped at him happily. Sun's eyes brightened at the little chirp and let out a soft laugh.

"My then, I am most grateful to have your company," Sun replied happily, "I do not have anyone to talk to accept myself, I would eventually go insane if I did," He laughed bitterly to himself.

"For you see, little one, I cannot leave this mountain...." Sun Smiled sadly.

The small bird cocked its head with a sharp twitch only birds could do and look normal doing it. It's small eyes focused on the man's sad smile and could only think to itself in incoherent thoughts that it did not suit him. However, his smile turned happy once again as his amethyst eyes lost their hazy gaze.

"But I'm ok with it. I've lost the desire to be free a long time ago. I even think solitude suits one like me..." Sun trailed off sadly, reminiscing about all the times the villagers came up the mountain to kill him, the monster they all feared.

Like the turbulent waves from his homeland, his loneliness came back tenfold and had him losing his bright smile, his eyes stinging with unshed tears and a coldness that could freeze the whole mountain laying in their depth. The little bird that listened to the man with interest felt his little heart being pressed on by what seemed like a cold and sad tension. The little bird didn't know why he felt this way but tried to take away the man's expression and get rid of the air that spoke of sadness around him by flying to his shoulder and rubbing along the edge of the man's cheek with its head.

Of course, the bird's warmth could not match that of a regular person's but Sun felt just a bit lighthearted after its attempt to make him feel better. It was probably doing this kind attempt because he had probably made the bird feel threatened in some way. Yet, he wanted to believe the first option more than the last so he decided he did, even though it might not be true. Forcing a smile, Sun gently lifted the bird onto his finger again and gazed at it like he was once doing.

Sun, somehow, felt guilty about causing such a tiny and harmless creature to feel threatened in his presence and left to the mercy of his demons he tried so hard to bury in his heart. Maybe, it was enough conversation for one day.

"Thank you, little one, for talking to an old man like me. But I'm fine now. It's alright for you to go on home. Your poor family must miss you dearly," Sun rambled on with a sense of sadness he tried to hide.

However, the bird did not want to leave for the expression he wore was like the multiple men who, the bird had seen throughout its life, take their own lives. Of course, the bird was just an animal, not human, so it could not offer comforting words or kind gestures. But the sadness hung thick and heavy in the air to the point even animals could feel it and anchored the small bird to his finger, unmoving.

His lips lifting in another slight smile, he tried to force the happy expression to stay on his face. Yet, the bird was not dumb enough to believe the sight before him.

For his smile did not reach his eyes.

Sun could only chuckle slightly to himself as he gazed at the bird one last time.

"It's alright, I'm not sad," Sun whispered in a forced cheery tone.

And, like being cut from the chains that held it down, the bird took flight into the air and into the trees. Sun watched it go with a mournful heart as his demons came back to torture him once again. For, his mind and heart had long since given up on the will to live. After all, to live like this made Sun grow tired.

So very tired.

Maybe if he had no heart it wouldn't be so hard to live with the silence, loneliness, helplessness, and the sadness. Sun couldn't help but think how beautiful that would be. To never cry when dreaming of happier times only, to wake up and meet the reality that he was all alone.

To never feel the crumbling of the heart when he heard happiness but was never allowed to have it. And most of all, to never yearn for the warmth of another person when all they did was try to take his life.

Ah, how beautiful that would be.

In his mind and heart Sun truly believed that the world, heaven, everything had forsaken him, but there was one that did not. The little bird that flew into the air and left the lonely man there to contend with his demons all alone, sat on a neighboring tree a few feet away from the mansion and watched the man with its little heart heavy in its chest. And with all its heart it wished a miracle to come for this man so gentle like sunlight and sorrowful like death.

But the wish it sent out for the young man trapped and tortured by overwhelming feelings and demons would not be answered by the deity that ruled over the mountain for he was long dead. No, a higher being in heaven would look down on the mountain and upon the man so lost and alone.

A man that simply wished with all this heart to be colder than winter. 

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