Mother looked out the frost covered window of her darkened room, staring into the heart of night. She pulled her blankets close as she watched the giant snowflakes fall beneath the ominous glow of the yellow streetlamps. She knew all too well what this could mean and the thought sent shivers right to her bones.
Her mind drifted back to the stories her grandmother would tell on nights such as these, stories that have haunted her ever since. They were terrible tales and always ended with what amounted to a prophesy from her dear grandmother, “You wait, one day it will fall upon your house as well. If you’re strong, you’ll survive it.”
Still looking out at the snow falling heavier by the minute, she knew this could be the moment her grandmother said would come, the signs were all there, the night seemed so still, too still. The moon was wrapped in a bluish haze she could faintly see though the snow-filled sky. The ground was a blanket of nothing but white. Mother knew sleep would not find her peacefully, she grew ever more anxious, grandmother had warned she would need all the strength she could muster.
Thoughts of what the morning might bring plagued her dreams each time her weary eyes fell shut and she would awaken to the deafening silence of snow crashing outside of her window. Her grandmother’s voice echoed in her thoughts, “If you’re strong, you’ll survive it.”
The long night gave way to a bright morning, the slumber she’d fought so hard to find was ripped away from her by the sound of her children’s screams. Their screams pierced her heart and she buried her face in her hands. Tears began to fall as she realized she didn’t have enough strength to do what had to be done. A cheerful voice from the radio interrupted her despair.
“Goooooood mornin’ to ya,” the DJ chimed.
Mother glared at the radio. “What’s good about, hu?”
“It’s six forty-five in the AM hour, and if you haven’t yet heard, last nights record snowfall has blocked the roads and closed the schools.”
With that, mother turned off radio, the last thing she needed was the voice of a chipper DJ ringing in her ears. She did her best to pull herself together. Her greatest fear had finally come to pass, her grandmother’s prophesy was being fulfilled. School had been cancelled and there would be no escape from her four, young children until it reopened.
She was sleep deprived and emotionally drained, but she knew she had to find the strength to make it through the day. She slowly made her way to the kitchen where the children’s excited chatter bounced around inside of her head like nails in the spin cycle. She reached for the coffee, she knew caffeine would be her only ally. Her heart sank as she realized the coffee tin was empty. Grandmother’s grim warnings could have done nothing to prepare her for the true horrors that were unfolding . . .
Crystal R. Cook