A three-man skiing troupe moved jerkily down the powder-packed main street. The shops they passed were shut up, locked, and cold so that the only illumination came from a swiftly waning moon. The skiier in front, sporting a santa hat that slid around on her head when she talked, glided forward. Stopped. Turned back, making figure-eights that progressively moved down the avenue.
The Marquis de DVR puffed, pushing his weight into the poles to swing forward. He slid forward a few feet, doubled over to catch his breath, while the Duchey whip-whapped her skis, completely ignoring the concept and walking instead.
Archi leaned on her right leg, swinging left in a smooth arc. "Come on, peoples. You're the ones who made us leave the party, like, what? An hour ago?"
"Yes - hfh - but," the Marquis swung forward again, gunting, "that's no -pfth - reason for - hak! - torture."
The Duchey passed him, pumping her arms like an early morning jogger. Whip - whap.
"'S'not torture," Archi stopped a few yards ahead, "You're just doing it wrong."
The snow globe street rang eerily in the quiet.
"Okay," Archi shoook it off, "Move out!"
"I don't wanna!" the Marquis squealed, sinking on his poles, going red-faced.
"I will turn this troupe around!" the girl screeched.
"OK," the Duchey bubbled, passing. Whip - whap.
"Oh - if that's your attitude, then. What if we go sideways from here on out? Lift your ski - like this - I heard that, DVR."
The troupe moved along like this for another three yards. Puffs of breath rose in steamy waves, glowing briefly in the moonlight and whisping away above.
This one was undeniably closer and Archi jumped, her skis clattering. She looked around, eyes bulging. "Hey!" softer "Guys?"
The street was empty, swept in pristine blue-white snow banks.
She sucked in a breath, let it out slow, and pulled her hat closer over her chilled ears. The good old book slipped out from under her arm and landed with a wet whump in the snow.
"They wouldn't dare," she muttered, snatching up the bok in a sudden idea and wiping the melting powder off its front. Archi let it fall open to a random page:
The Marquis de DVR, a noble of misplaced lineage, know for his courageous soul and keen sense of -
Archi growled, noticing the woodcut of a red-cheeked Marquis clutching a surprised loking Duchey of Roaches by the arm.
"They jumped into the book," she said, slamming the cover, tucking it under her arm again. She snorted, shaking the cold out of her fingers, "Cowards."
Archi scooped up the Marquis' discarded poles, pushed off, and went off alone into the coming storm.