Happy family day everyone! To celebrate here is a bonus flash fiction that I wrote a while ago and never posted:
We all stare out of the window, awestruck. Big chunks of fluffy white powder are falling from the sky, slowly dusting our quiet little neighbourhood like a freshly baked sponge cake. The children’s eyes are wide with excitement. I smile at them to hide my panic. What does this mean? The news warned of dangerous weather, but I’ve never seen anything like this before.
Granddad adjusts his thick bifocals. His face crinkles into a smile, “I never thought I’d see snow again!”
Snow. It sounds somehow familiar. My mind stretches back to those fuzzy history vids. I’m sure it’s crystallized water. I always assumed it would fall quickly, like acid rain, but instead it floats down gently in the breeze. How does it do that? It’s motion is calming and hypnotic. I could watch it all day.
Eventually the snow stops falling. The children orbit around me, begging to go and explore. I see shadows lingering in every window on the street. No-one wants to be the first to venture outside. What if it isn’t safe? No matter what the history vids said, the world is a different place now. The snow might have absorbed radioactive particles from the atmosphere, the ones leftover from World War Three. Thirty seconds outside could be a death sentence. The safest thing to do is stay inside until it clears.
I hear the front door slam and panic shoots through me. I quickly count the children, but everyone is here. Then I see Granddad, skipping through the white powder, a childish grin on his face. He doesn’t appear to be in any pain. In fact it is the happiest I’ve ever seen him.
Encouraged by his apparent well being, the children intensify their nagging. Eventually I cave, driven by my own curiosity. I give the faintest nod and they charge outside, giggling and screaming. I follow closely behind, a shiver running through my bare feet as I step onto the soft white carpet. I bend down and run my fingers through it. I’ll never forget the feeling.
That’s when it hits me. A ball of the stuff, thrown by Granddad. He’s weaponized the snow. The kids catch on quickly, crafting their own and throwing them back. I watch the scene with a grin. If only we hadn’t wrecked this planet, perhaps we could have played this game every year. Shame.