The young woman is pulled from a vivid dream be the quiet but dutiful tones of an alarm, notifying that it is time to begin the day. She smiles as she disables the alarm and flips on the lamp on her bedside table. The word “snow” briefly flits across her mind but is soon lost in the returning images of the dream. A search, a quest, trimming a giant rosebush; it all fades as the girl gets up and prepares for the day.
School, she thought. Again. Why are all the best dreams on the nights when I have to get up early for-
The phone rings.
The young student glances down at her watch, wondering who on earth would be calling at six fifteen in the morning. Worry darts across her face as her thoughts fly towards her mother, who would be traveling home that day.
What if her flight’s been delayed? Or cancelled?
Airports all over the country had been refusing flights for two days; somethings about a bad storm coming.
A storm? What if…
Dashing to the window, she squints into the dark street and sees…
Nothing. Everything is perfectly fine.
But the phone…
In her hurry to get dressed, she forgets to grab her glasses as she slides on her boots and a jacket. Some might mock her for wearing a leather jacket around her own home, but “money-smart” parents meant “money smart” temperatures. It was always freezing.
After thumping down the stairs (who cares if it wakes the boys, they should be up any way) and gliding into the kitchen to start breakfast, she is once again miffed by the little red light on the answering machine, indicating a message.
“If only someone ever taught me to play the damn messages,” she mumbled as she strode into the living room to flip on the TV.
I don’t see why they would have, but I should probably find out if school’s been canceled, she thought as her coarse fingers jabbed the numbers to the local school system station.
Plain white screen with black text.
The girl groaned in exasperation but began slowly reading it anyway.
Today… public schools… is that the word for open or closed?
She growled in frustration and annoyance at her own lack of basic Spanish and was just returning to her cereal when the screen switched to the message in English.
Closed. All public schools closed?
She read the statement again to make sure she’d gotten it right. It definitely said closed.
She turned to the door behind her that lead to the back yard and flicked on the porch light for another look out into the-
“What the hell…?”
Beads of perspiration popped to the girl’s head as she turned one hundred eighty degrees and sprinted to one of the windows at the front of the house.
This can’t be happening.
The panicking young woman bounded up the stairs two at a time and dashed into the nearest room and whipped back the curtains to gaze out upon the neighborhood.
Or, what was still visible of the neighborhood.
From her second-story vantage point, all she could see was the top-most branches of the tree in the front lawn, top floors of nearby houses and the occasional upper half of a streetlight.
Everything else lay buried under countless feet of snow.
The girl, eyes wide and mad, made a strangled sound of terror and crumpled next to the window.