That’s Marsalla calling me. I feel her bare hand on my cheek and it’s shocks me. Bare hands outside? Crazy. But her hand is warm and the air doesn’t have the icy bite to it like it used to.
“Honey, your friends are worried. It’s all over so get up now and tell them you’re ok.”
I push up on my butt, rubbing my eyes with soggy mittens. It’s still cold, but the snow is melty and wet and I’m hot in all my layers. Even Marsalla is in a regular coat with no hat or gloves. Rabbit is in my lap but Frog still burrows in my pocket to stay warm.
Marsalla smiles. “The Cold One was devouring the man in the ice, using his life force to grow stronger. Her powers would have kept me out since the Prince and I use the same magic but a normal little girl like you? Went in just fine.”
The way her lips curl into a smile says her sense of ‘normal’ isn’t the same as other people’s.
“Once you weakened her, he could escape and take his life force back.” Marsalla hugs me, soggy coat and all. “You helped bring back the Spring, Boot. You saved him.”
Rabbit looks up at me, planting her little paws on my chest and bumping her nose against mine. “You did amazing. Thank you for saving us.”
“Yeah!” Frog pipes up from my pocket, just a tiny dot of green from the warm fabric. “That was a little close for me, though.”
“I’m ok, I think.” I get on my feet and turn to see what mess is left of the Cold One’s home. But all I see is a black pit, like the tar that trapped the dinosaurs. I squint at the sunlight bouncing off the surface and for a second, I see him standing right where the gate used to be. He winks at me and smiles. He has my eyes… Then he’s gone.
“Come on.” Marsalla says, wiping at her eyes. I guess the light hurt her eyes a little, too. “Your aunt is probably worried sick by now.”
She might be. Auntie must have checked for me when I didn’t come home to take care of the dogs.
I let Rabbit ride my shoulder and Marsalla takes my bag. We don’t talk as we walk up the street; she just smiles down at me and I smile back up at her. Before we even hit a cross street, I have to pull my hood down because it’s too warm.
It’s finally warm.