Phillip had lived in Las Vegas for every one of the fourteen years of his life.
Half the kids in his school were transplants and each of them had a story of snow days and white Christmases. Tales of sledding and snowball fights had always made him jealous. Why was he consigned to this dry arid place?
Sure he could see snow on Mount Charleston each winter but that was not the same. Asking mom to drive him to the mountains to see snow wasn’t the same as having the sky open up and smother the world in flufffy white stuff where he lived.
He wanted to walk out his door and make snow forts. He wanted to have school closed for days on end. He wanted snowmageddon.
It was two weeks before Christmas and the news station reported that Pennsylvania had received its first four inches of snow. Las Vegas was predicting 60 degrees and sunny – AGAIN.
“I would give anything for snow.” Phillip said. “I want this place buried.”
The doorbell rang.
Mom was still sleeping after her night shift at the diner so Phillip rushed to the door before the doorbell could ring again and wake her up.
The man outside was like nobody Phillip had ever seen. He was tall, well over six feet. His skin was the color of milk. The man’s face was long and came to a sharp point at the end of his jutting chin. His nose was equally impressive and formed a crescent moon with his chin when viewed from the side. He was strangely dressed in a suit unlike anything Phillip had seen men wearing although it did remind him of the clothing in that old black and white movie Scrooge with its ruffles and wide lapels.
The man wore a tall top hat on his bald head and his ice blue eyes twinkled as he smiled at Phillip. Were his teeth pointed?
“May I help you, sir?”
“Quite the opposite young man.” His voice was a high pitched nasal tenor. “I am here to fulfil your needs.”
“I’m sorry, sir. We don’t want to buy anything.”
The man smiled again, his teeth were definitely pointed.
“Permit me to introduce myself Phillip, I am Chernobog. I am here because you made an offer and I have something I can provide.”
Phillip felt a chill rush through him.
“How do you know my name?”
“Tut, tut my boy. I know all sorts of things, like how you want snow more than anything. I believe you asked for it not five minutes ago.”
“I-” Phillip was speechless. This weirdo must have been spying on him, but why would he do that and how, there was no way he could have heard him up in his room.
“What would you give if I could make it snow right now? Hmmm? Would you be willing to make a deal with me?”
“I don’t really have anything of value.”
“Oh it won’t cost you a penny. It won’t even cost you anything right now. I wouldn’t collect until after you had lived a long life.”
He wouldn’t have to pay? That sounded like a great deal to the eternally cash strapped Phillip.
“Wait, what do you want me to pay?”
“Oh nothing much, call it a trifle. It’s something you don’t even use after all. You’ve heard of school spirit? Well what I want is something like that, your soul.”
“And I don’t have to pay ’til I’m like old and stuff?”
“That’s right Phillip, when you’re old and finally die, I’ll come collect. You won’t even notice.”
It sounded like a great deal to Phillip. He could pay with something like stupid school spirit and he wouldn’t even have to pay until he was old. That was like, forever away.
“And I’ll get all the snow I want?”
“Oh yes,” Chernobog said with another toothy grin.
Chernobog reached up and removed his hat to reveal foot long black horns. The horns glowed and he raised his hands.
“Snow, snow, all you could want for your entire life.”
There was a flash of light leaving Phillip momentarily blinded. When Phillip’s sight cleared, the white man with the horns was gone.
Something cold hit his cheek. He reached up and touched the spot. His hand came away wet. More cold wet things hit his face. Phillip looked up; snow was falling.
Individual flakes turned to swirls of flurries which turned rapidly into a white-out blizzard.
School was cancelled the next day after a foot of snow had fallen. Phillip cheered and frolicked in the snow.
Businesses shut down three days later after six feet of snow covered the desert and blockaded the casinos.
Outdoor activities ceased as movement through the ever deepening snow became impossible.
Phillip and his mother huddled in the house praying for relief as the snow covered the doors and windows and began to pile onto the roof.
Still the blizzard roared.
On the fourth day after the house was buried the power died and Phillip and his mother held each other in fear as the roof groaned under tons of snow.
Phillip swore that he could hear maniacal laughter on the howling wind just before the roof collapsed.