It was dark.
The moon, a clear-cut crescent, was ivory against the night sky's velvet black. There were few stars tonight; they shone only feebly, as if frozen in their scattered places.
I watched them from the roof. I often climbed out here through the skylight in the attic, almost every night, in fact. It was therapeutic, sitting with my arms around my legs drawn up to my chest, my chin resting on my knees, surveying the serene silver and white landscapes. The snow had been softly falling for a long time now. This was the eightieth night of snow. The ploughs were sent out every twelve hours, and they disturbed the peace. There had been mild floods and a fair share of accidents caused by the snow freezing into solid inches of ice.
There had been a panic when the snow hadn't stopped after two weeks, and the supermarkets had been raided. Most families had retreated to their cellars, but some had preferred to stay snowed into their houses, where there was heating and electricity - at least until the wires were brought down by strong winds.
When it wasn't windy, I didn't find the situation a problem at all. Snow was beautiful, the flakes drifting calmly in their own spirals. There had been no rain and no blizzards, at least not yet, though the speculators on the news had said there would be soon. They blamed global warming for the never-ending winter.
I didn't know what was to blame. I didn't really wonder about it; I often wondered what life would be like once the snow stopped. It had gone on for so long that I had become accustomed to its presence. I couldn't fall asleep these days without being able to see the snowflakes scurrying past the moon through my bedroom window.
I brushed the snow from my face and damp hair with numb fingers, preparing to climb back through the skylight before I caught hypothermia. But as I was about to get up, I thought a saw a movement out over the snow-coated fields.
Yes. Squinting, I was certain there was a black shape coming over the crest of the field's sloping hill.
Now, who would be out at this time in this weather? Nobody ever went outdoors these days except to shop for whatever was left - deliveries had stopped after there had been an over demand. So, who was the stranger heading towards my house through the straggling streams of snow?