The Cabinet of Curiosities
Jar of eyes


Around the world, I am known by many names, and I show many faces.

Faces you never see. And really, it doesn’t matter what I’m called.

In winter, when I’m cold and brittle and snap at the skin of anyone foolish enough to step outside, people close their doors and seal their windows against me. I howl and scram, hammer against the glass, bide my time.

There is a particular smell when the first hint of spring comes in on the air. I smile—for I can smile, you know—and wait. Just a little longer. Soon, so soon, people will throw open their homes to invite me in, and this…this is a mistake.

“What a lovely breeze,” they say.


I can laugh, too. You hear it all the time.

When I’m warm again, I am as young and playful as all the other creatures of spring…at first. I dance through the trees, flicking each freshly-sprouted leaf, and ruffle hair on hatless heads. It’s delightful. It’s fun. And I do so enjoy having fun. I gust into parlors and kitchens, cackling as that vase just too close to the edge of the countertop tumbles to the floor with a smash, or stay outside to flip over all the chairs on the grass, one by one.

But spring crawls toward summer. The long, hot days of summer when boredom is as dull and brown and dead as the flowers burned to a crisp in their dry, dusty flowerbeds. I must wait again, then, but only until nightfall. The sky darkens and the air cools enough to let me dance again. Through open windows and into the dreams of sleeping children.

Children are easiest, you see.

And then, then I watch.


Emily Lewis awoke grumpy and hot. The wind had woken her in the middle of the night, whispering in her ear, blowing across her skin until she’d gotten cold and pulled the covers all the way over her head just before falling asleep again. Now, she was positively boiling, and she stomped downstairs to the breakfast table with a scowl on her face.

“Good morning, sweetheart,” said her mother.

Emily pushed over her glass of orange juice. “Oops,” she said, as it spread slowly, stickily, ruining the fine white tablecloth.

“Emily! Be more careful. Here, it’s all right, I’ll clean it up.”

On the other side of town, little Nate Winston waited until his father was busy washing the already spotless car outside. He fetched a chair that wouldn’t wobble and stood on the very tips of his toes at his bedroom window, pulling down the coverings that had rattled in the wind in the middle of the night. Strings broke and plastic cracked and they fell in a heap on the carpet, utterly ruined.

In the next city over, Bethany Bertram sat in the garden and plucked each petal from her mother’s prize-winning roses, one by one. They scattered on the lawn in droplets of blood red and sunshine yellow, and she hid in her room when her mother came home from work. Slowly, they dried out, turning black and papery in the heat as another long, hot week with no wind began.

The summer dragged on. The wind came and went, always in the night, and hid well away from the burning sun. Everywhere, little children woke in foul tempers, and their parents went to sleep that way.


I did tell you I like fun, but even these small amusements aren’t enough, in the end. How could they be, for one such as myself? For an hour or a day, perhaps, but soon I must begin to think of the memories that will have to get me through the long, cold winter, when people stay indoors and shut me outside.

I am generous. I give them ten whole days with not so much as a breath, not a single puff of air to rustle even a single leaf. I watch the people wilt as surely as the flowers do.

Every window for miles is open, just in case. Waiting to invite me in, should I decide to turn up.


There’s no time. There never is. Emily Lewis’s mother hears the screen door leading to the porch start to rattle on its hinges. Nate’s new curtains begin to billow into the room. Bethany sees the new roses shake on their thorny stems.

A window breaks.

A branch, already cracked, snaps from its tree with a sound like thunder and just barely misses the head of a man walking underneath.

“Get inside!” come shouts from everywhere. “Close the windows! Going to be an awful storm!”

They try. Oh, they do try. I dance as fast as I can to the music of splintering wood and shattering glass. Blades of grass whip through the air, sharp as knives of steel. Through the towns and cities I race, gathering speed, gathering fury to warm me during the loneliness of winter. I do not look behind me at the wreckage in my wake, the things fallen, broken, beyond repair. They will fix their doors and windows in time, seal the cracks in their houses against me.

They always do.

When the first bite of autumn comes, I return, carrying the scent of smoke and the promise of a chill. I flicker through the trees, kicking at the last, stubborn, curly-edged few that cling to the wood. I swoop down, swirl through the red-gold piles on the ground, rustling and spinning.

If you listen on a clear autumn day to the crackle of the leaves, you will know what my laughter sounds like.


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