You don’t know you know me but you do. I’m in the gaps between thoughts, dormant in the electric storm of neurons and synapses. You might never meet me and even if you do, you won’t recognise me in the mirror of yourself. I can be your friend. I can change your life, simplify the jagged edges and chaos of your thoughts. I can be your enemy if you ignore me. I’m the Lilith in your consciousness, primal and latent. I’m a force of life itself, and of death. My bones are ice, sharp and strong and my veins run with silver blood. I have no colours, no weaknesses. My thoughts run cold and frozen. My eyes are diamond bright and hard. My power is in your mind. I’m the child snatcher, the exorcist of emotions, the keeper of frozen hearts. I work in symmetry and straight lines. I am perfection. I’m the danger of your desires. Once I gain your trust, you will never escape.

 

Have you ever felt so cold you could be made of ice? Not the shivery sort of cold you feel on a winter’s day, the sort that can be appeased relatively easily with a hot drink or an extra layer of clothes. This is real cold, bone-deep, the kind that penetrates your being with an icy sharpness and cuts into your numbed heart. The kind where you can’t feel most of your body and you stumble from day to day with frozen thoughts and dulled emotions. And that’s if you can recognise them at all. If you stay frozen for too long, eventually your mind will become ice and you won’t know your own thoughts and your feelings will fade to icy detachment. You’re too cold to care. Care needs warmth, feeling, connection. Out there in the snow, you’re on your own.

 

Think of a snowflake. Imagine its precision, its symmetry. Doesn’t that make you feel safe? I can offer you that perfection. Wouldn’t you like to leave the dark chaos of the world for pure, white light? I can offer you control. You have a choice to take charge of your own destiny, regulate your earthly desires and needs. Follow me. I am immaterial, constant in your thoughts. Trust me. I can lead you into the light. I am a part of you, the part that you don’t know exists yet but you want, desperately. I’m the perfect you, the you that does not desire or need anyone or anything, the you that is powerful beyond your thoughts. I am the conflict in your mind, the fight between weak and strong. Think of ice, sharp and clear as glass. The paradox of strength and fragility. Ice is cold; cold is numb; numb is safe. Come with me into the ice world of balanced beauty. Come into the reflected light of virgin snow, pure and simple. Follow me out of the chaos around you. Take control.

 

It was said that I was kidnapped, a child stolen by an evil monster masquerading as a queen. I’m not so sure. I’d already lost any warmth I had by the time She came along and I felt as though I already knew Her, almost as though I’d been waiting most of my life for that moment without even realising it. Maybe I’d met Her before, in a nightmare or perhaps in a dream. Dreams are unconscious reality, after all. Not that I really believe in the unconscious, or hidden desires. She showed me the truth: that everything can be acknowledged and mastered. She showed me perfection. And I wanted to follow Her into the ice, wanted to see for myself the mechanisms of precision, how everything fitted together exactly and the world spun in balance. The frozen North is a mystical place for anyone who’s never experienced it, and it fascinated me. The tip of the earth’s magnetic field. A land which fuses endless days and endless nights in a seasonal cycle. The place where charged particles from the outside the Earth’s atmosphere collide with atoms in a magical magnetic light show that glows green in the darkness. In winter, the stars in the North show the best astronomy display on Earth. I wanted to learn, to see, to experience it for myself. To lose myself in its magnitude, although I hadn’t realised that yet.

 

You’ll hear me described in many different ways, most of them negative. Don’t believe everything you hear. That’s what happens when you’re an enigma and choose not to reveal yourself to just anyone. But I like it that way. It’s safer to be known through gossip and myth, public identity constructed through stories. That way, you can stay hidden. The best-kept secrets are the ones that are veiled behind pseudo-fact. Sometimes people even doubt your existence through the fiction and that is the best disguise of all. And I am a master of disguise. I can change you beyond recognition, shapeshifting as subtle as the movement of the hour hand of a clock. The clock is your friend. It regulates, gives a safe structure. Be patient. Time will pass anyway. I am not evil. I am here to help. The people who warn about danger have never met me, their views formed from hearsay and fear. If you succumb to the safety of my rules, I can protect you. If you choose to disobey, I can make your life a living ice world of hell. My words are law. I am stronger than you. I’m in your thoughts.

 

It’s an odd feeling, the desire to not exist. To lose yourself in the perfect glacial world of symmetry and snowflakes. You don’t want to lose your self completely; it’s more an unconscious need to be something that leads to the conscious negation of anything that seems to trap you in a false sense of self. Losing yourself in order to find yourself, or something like that. Or maybe it’s the opposite: in denying your physical identity, you’re reinforcing the core, the inner self that can’t be lost however hard you try. Although the longer you stay in the cold, the less of an effort it becomes. There’s a strange seduction to sharp edges and straight lines, jagged icicles and smooth glaciers. And the cold, numbing your heart to a calm detachment. The heart’s a strange organ, vital and uncontrollable. You can stop your breathing but you can’t stop your own heart, however hard you try. Your body has an unconscious urge to survive, adapting to even the most extreme circumstances.

Published by Alex Anderson