by Mackenzie Denofio
Snow was not unusual in October. It was unwelcome, but not unheard of. There had been a great snowstorm on October 16th just two years before that had kicked off the coldest winter on record for the city. Everyone has bundled in for the six long months of gray days and nose-nipping frost and waited for the crisp rain of spring.
This snow was different because it came on an unseasonably warm Tuesday morning, when children were being dragged by the hand to school and leaves were just beginning to fall under the toes of businessmen.
This snow was different because it didn’t cover the whole city, just Small patches throughout the morning that melted by mid-afternoon.
This snow was different because it wasn’t snow at all. It crawled from far above the city, moving slowly in a dream-like pattern of flurries that the children caught on their tongue and young women twirled into their hair. It changed into the black of the concrete as it descended onto the ground with small sizzles. The snow that was not snow came from a cloud that was not a cloud.
It started relatively normal; children had strange bumps that creeped across their skin. And hair fell out of women’s skulls. Men found that their eyesight was a little worse for wear. And there was nothing to connect it all at first. By the second week people were dying. Their tongues turned black and their bodies burnt through, empty heads half open for the morgue to inspect. Shriveled hands that had once played gin rummy around fold-up tables and falling toenails that had resided inside torn up shoes.
The snow came again, and no one went outside. Well some went outside. We didn’t go outside but they did. With umbrellas they stared at the columns of white falling from what we used to consider the heavens. It became consistent, every Tuesday from eight am to ten am, every Thursday from ten pm to three am. It was easy to avoid when you knew those things, when you could stay in your home, in your bed, block off your fireplace and watch nonsense on the TV.
Some said it was because of what we had done, others said it was because of what we hadn’t done. Some kind of divine punishment ushered in by a vengeful God for the sins of our pasts. Others discounted this old testament theory, said it was the Earth that had turned on us, and rightfully so. After centuries of abuse it had finally decided to rid itself of the pest of humanity. That too was far too bleak for most people.
The snow was unbothered, it never changed. Even as black spots claimed people’s lives and the road started to crumble away between other’s feet. There was something so benignly peaceful about our destruction. To watch it from a window, to see people drop like flies on the street under the nostalgic haze of a winter storm.
An animal would know what to do, would know to go underground and adapt. It would know to save itself and it’s kin. To live to see another day. But perhaps we were just too curious. Wanted to see how they fell, to see how we could fall.
By the time we left our cushy buildings, our queen-sized beds with our down pillows. By the time we had our bunkers built under the city’s decaying structures it was already too late. The stench was enough to make us cover our mouths with our scarfs, some even gagged and threw up onto them.
“And you thought the city smelt bad before?” Someone quipped to a dark chuckle as we carried ourselves over the piles of bodies.
“Someone should move them.” Someone else muttered before tagging on, “They should get properly buried.” We all mumbled our agreement and climbed down into our new homes, locking ourselves inside our modest hovels full of new wood flooring and plump seats. Away from the snow and the bodies and the peace of the city.
About the Author:
Mackenzie Denofio is an emerging writer from New York, she enjoys writing anything from gothic fiction to contemporary YA pieces. She is currently getting her Bachelor’s in Writing, Literature, and Publishing at Emerson College. Mackenzie is an avid reader, TV lover, and cinephile and can often be found trying to deeply analyze all media she comes across.