Nothing broke one's sense of warm snugliness more than hearing, "Your snowmen were on the news. They froze someone in a solid cocoon of ice."
"It's a bad habit of yours to watch the news before you are awake, Xander. Give me a minute and I will prove you are insane."
Abby yanked the covers over her ears and tried to roll over. He stopped her by making the covers disappear. "Bastard."
"You have met my parents and they are married. Now get up. We need to get to the bottom of this and we have to examine that poor frozen man."
If Xander was going to insist she get up, he could at least dress her. She grumped into the shower and had a quick scrub. She was towelling her hair dry as she walked back to her room and still muttering to herself. Her clothes were laid out, so she jerked on the underwear, which let her know that the gnomes had done it.
The warlock had his panties in a twist.
Her gnomes had oatmeal on the table today. When Xander stayed over, they alternated good breakfasts with healthy ones, just to throw him off.
Abby scowled and munched her gray paste with a distinct lack of enthusiasm. They tried to make it tastier by adding chocolate chips and blueberries, but it was no plate of bacon.
"Come on, Abby. We have to look at the man who was frozen." Xander was on his feet and he had her jacket in hand.
"Fine, but my hair is going to freeze."
He waved his hand and it was bone dry.
"Nice trick. Let's move." She grabbed her jacket and stomped into her boots at the front door.
His car was waiting, warm and ready. They made quick time to the street in Sargent where the frozen man was making quite the stir.
The fire department was there, trying to cut him loose, but Abby could see with her inner eye that he was bound, not by ice but by magic. It was nothing like she had ever seen before. The snowmen were gently crusted, but this was a thick mass of magic that was as clear and hard as the ice that held him.
Tears clogged her voice. "We have to get him out."
"We can't. He is safe enough for now. Nothing can be done to save him, but nothing can be done to harm him." Xander turned the car back to Oak Point Way.
"If we destroy the snowmen, will that eradicate the ice?"
"It should. They are the binding magic after all."
"Why him? Why did they attack him?"
"He was defending his Christmas lights. There were, also, several other thefts of lights and generators. Whatever they are up to, it isn't good."
They were on the short span between their street and the main town when a snowman darted across the road in front of them. It disappeared into the woods, but it left Abby shaken.
"I thought they were slower in sunlight."
"They should be. It must be your magic that is speeding them up." He turned carefully on the slippery road and soon was in front of her house. "I am going to contact the specialists and see if they will come to help. If not, I will try to get what information I can from them. I will see you in three hours, alright?"
"Alright. I will give the gnomes a pep talk and try to keep them inside. Same for the gargoyles. I don't want them out there with those psycho snowmen in the yard."
"I doubt very much that they are still in your yard, but it is a good precaution." He leaned over and they kissed. "See you in a few hours and don't do anything reckless. I will be back as soon as I can."
"Back? From where?"
"The consultation with the experts. I have to transport myself to them. They won't talk over the mirrors."
"Okay. I won't do anything stupid and you will get back as quickly as you can? See you soon."
Abby hopped out of the car and held the door until her feet stabilized on the ice. Sliding her feet in a skating motion, she made her way to her door. As Xander entered his house, she had a feeling of foreboding. The gnomes were usually pretty good about keeping the walkways clear.
The house was silent. She took a deep breath and called for her creatures. "Everybody, front and centre."