The weather forecasters didn’t see it coming, which meant their computers were to blame for the gross miscalculation. What was supposed to be a mild winter storm followed by temperatures in the middle seventies turned out to be an all encompassing, unprecedented and wholly unheard of blizzard.
A blizzard in sunny San Diego?
Tasha was in as much disbelief as anyone else when the snow began falling, but when it continued for twenty-four hours straight she decided it was the apocalypse, only the coming of days wasn’t all fire and brimstone, but a sudden, devastating ice age.
That’s what she thought a few days ago. Then survival instinct set in. Her water supply dwindled down to a gallon, the water in the pipes haven frozen during that initial twenty-four hour period that shocked a vacation city into frigid submission.
Food was plentiful, but she had to find out what was outside, what became of the city. There were sounds out there, perhaps people trying to shovel fifteen-foot piles of snow from front doors to release the victims of the Great Blizzard.
Unable to budge the front door or open a window, Tasha decided to break a window and shovel her way through the seemingly endless wall of snow, and what she saw on the other side was something she never could have prepared for.
She witnessed sheer brilliance. A city cloaked in white so solidly it appeared that she was surrounded by snow-covered hills. They were houses, and very few of them had been touched. As a matter of fact, there was only one house she could see that had a path cleared to the front door.
Crouched in a small snow tunnel with her legs dangling in her house, Tasha witnessed something that took her breath away. There was a sound coming from her left. It was in her blind spot because the hole she broke in the snow pack to look through was only a foot in diameter, but when the shape came into view, she was thankful to have not shoveled a larger hole that would have given her presence.
There were three of them, tall and foreboding. They were pale blue like frigid corpses, their structure like some form of humanity that has adapted to extreme temperatures, yet there was something alien about them. Something in their faces wasn’t the slightest bit human, but Tasha couldn’t get a very good view and didn’t want to do anything that would arouse their attention.
When they passed, she decided that she would have to make her way to the house across the street with the shoveled walkway. Something terribly wrong was happening, and survival would depend on grouping with other people.
Tasha watched for several hours as the creatures passed like common folk walking down a busy street. They weren’t common, and the streets were anything but busy.
From what she saw, they walked in groups of three to five in twenty minute patrolling intervals.
She had to make a move, had to cross the white street to the house with the shoveled walkway. It was her only chance at survival, and perhaps others have congregated there, planning the next move...
The next move?
Four pale beasts trudged by, their malformed faces tilted down as if they bore a great deal of burden. Tasha knew the burden was on her, the weight they seemed to carry on their back twice as great on hers, and as she contemplated her next move, backpack strapped on and filled with food, supplies and photographs, a sinking feeling of hopelessness gripped her heart.
After closing her eyes for a moment in prayer, Tasha crawled through her window, pushed her hands through the snow wall and slid out. Birthed into a white world, she slid down the powdery white slope to the street.
Adrenalin pumped through her veins as she stood in the silent white city, fearing the beasts and what they would do to her. Fortunately they were out of sight.
The chill bit her face but couldn’t yet penetrate the layers of clothing she wore in anticipation of a life as a snowbound refugee. The house with the cleared walkway called to her, and without further hesitation she bolted in its direction, careful not to slip on the ice.
At the door, Tasha knocked causing it to swing open as if it had been closed but not enough for the lock to catch.
“Hello,” Tasha called out lamely. There was something about the door opening that that set off alarms in her mind. Something was wrong. She could feel it deep inside, but she wasn’t want to remain in plain view were a patrol of snow creatures to walk by, so she slipped into the house and closed the door behind her.
She smiled at the people sitting in the living room, relieved, then her eyes widened and a mere whispering of the words “Oh God!” escaped her mouth as the realization that she had walked into a trap set into her tumultuous mind.
The living room was furnished with mannequins.
Behind Tasha, the front door opened.
Shivers rolled down her spine from the draft and the foreboding doom. She didn’t turn as they walked in, too petrified to face her fears. She knew they were behind her. They had been watching all along, waiting for her to seek refuge in the promising house with the cleared walkway.
As they closed in on Tasha, she could feel the chill radiating from their pale skin. One of them breathed down her neck, its breath cold and reeking of a faint slaughterhouse odor.