This time of year the lake was frozen over and he took long walks on the snow and ice. Bundling up against the bitter cold wind helped him forget his face was covered with bandages. Feeling the painful cold in his fingers helped him forget the painful lacerations on his face. With his uncle gone most of the time he was pretty much left to his own devices and he liked being outdoors.
There was something fresh and clean about being alone and outdoors that gave him comfort. The ice and snow crunched loudly under his boots and the sun glared brightly. Today there were sun dogs on either side of the sun with a rainbow arch partly visible. His breath came out in clouds and burned a bit in his lungs. He turned off the lake and headed toward the stables. He had been spending a lot of time there lately and liked working with the horses. They were better company than his old friends and they didn't care about how he looked.
As Tobal moved away from human contact he turned more and more to the silent companionship of animals and nature. If his uncle noticed he never said anything and neither did any of the staff.
By Christmas Eve he was fretting and fingering the bandages on his face, itching to tear them off. He'd been instructed to leave them on one final week and today was the day they came off. With trembling fingers he went into the bathroom, found surgical scissors and began cutting the layers of gauze away from his face. He was tired of looking like a mummy. The gauze wanted to stick to his skin and he felt pain as he gently tugged at it, lifting the last of it carefully off his right eye. The bright bathroom light stabbed into his eye and sharp blinding pain flashed through his head.
He closed his eyes against the pain and waited until it faded away. His fingers touched the newly healed skin and he carefully opened his eyes and looked into the mirror.
"No", he screamed in horror!
Four angry scars ran diagonally across his face. They were about an eighth of an inch wide. One reached from his right temple to cross his right eye, slashing across his nose and touching the corner of his mouth moving down along his jaw. That was the worst. That was the one that had almost taken his right eye out. There was a smaller one above that started at his forehead and swept across to the left eyebrow. There were two smaller ones across his cheek and along his jaw starting at the right cheekbone. They looked swollen, angry and discolored around the scar tissue that was forming.
Tobal stared in horror at the face he would be carrying for the rest of his life. With a curse his fist smashed into the mirror. As it shattered into pieces he screamed and clutched his bleeding fist, sobbing as blood flowed down his wrist into the sink and onto the floor.
"No! Goddess No"!, he sobbed.
Blood spattered and covered shards of broken mirror erased his image as he slumped toward the floor holding his ruined face. His life would never be the same.