Friday, February 14, 2014



It’s kinda weird to watch the world unravel. To witness people getting shoved into blankets of snow now dented and dirtied into gray slush. To see those people, men, women, children, babies--no one is safe against the wave--bodies pressed deeper into the wetness, mouths taking in gobs of slush and cries barely heard. What could be thought of as snow angels are in the ground but instead there are lumps of where people fell and struggled to get back up.

A hand squeezes mine, a faint squeeze, unsure, kind of like a dull heartbeat. I squeeze back to let my sister know I’m here. Her face is pressed against my coat. I refuse to let her see the worst parts. She can hear it of course. It’s not like the phone booth we’re in is soundproof. The glass is cold to the touch and the wind thrums against it at a steady percussive rhythm.

My sister says something garbled into my coat but I clench her tighter watching while a man kicks someone in front of him, not prompted or anything. That person goes down into the ivory blanket face first. The man steps atop the body and keeps moving, his next step pushing his victim’s head further into the snow and it’s almost like I can hear the crunch of his shoe on the skull that I need to shut my eyes.

“Mmmpfhh,” my sister says. Maybe my nails are digging deep into her down coat but I see the drops of rust seep into the ivory around the person lying on the ground. The opposite of a snow angel.

The herd moves past us. Not noticing the booth we’re in, how it stands out amidst the streets and trees and snow. Perhaps from yards away no one is thinking about two girls in there scared out of their wits while hoping they’re invisible for the first time ever.

Our parents told us to run. They shouted it at us while zipping up our coats and wrapping our heads in scarves. My sister with tears in her eyes and me trying to hold them back as we were shoved, tripping down stairs in our apartment building and then outside. Snow up to our ankles, more of it falling into the open crevices of my coat. In my father’s brown eyes his fear matched his voice. “Run and don’t look back,” he said. I did as I was told, my sister rarely ever does.

My sister squirms in my hold but manages to speak actual words.

“I’m hot!” she mutters, angry.

“Shush!” I grab her again but she pulls away. There’s not a lot of space in this booth but when she backs away her head hits the telephone and jars it enough to fall on her head. I almost laugh. She doesn’t find it funny and rubs her head with a mashed look on her face willing me to shut up. I do.

Not funny,” she insists.

“Sorry, moonbug,” I say. And just as her eyes try to focus on the outside I hear the crack in the air, practically splitting it. I hunch down and grab her with me so that we’re on the wet and dirty ground of the booth. I already feel the slush of snow we brought in seep into my jeans and the heat of my sister’s breath on my cheek. When I peek through the windows I see the smoking gun and the white clouds coming out the mouth of a woman holding it. The man who did the kicking before is laid out, arms spread, oozing life, just like the one he did in.

The woman wears a long skirt. She lifts it up revealing boots tied up her calves and takes delicate steps in the snow. She leans down at the man's victim. Her lips move, maybe saying a prayer, maybe a curse. She kisses the top of his head, bows hers, and closes her eyes. After a moment she rises. Other people have scattered from the sound. My sister and I remain crouched, invisible. That is, until her focus lands on us. She squints her eyes our way. I turn my head, cuddle up to my sister hoping the gray wool of our coats make us indistinct inside the booth, but it’s the booth that stands out. Red, tall, and imposing amidst the snow. I wait. Hearing the snow fold under feet, the swish of a skirt slide and bunch up the elements under her. Then there’s the whoosh of a breeze when the door folds in. When I look up she holds the gun, barrel down, and smiles at us.

“Ladies, don’t you know the end of the world is coming?” she asks like it’s the most natural question in the world.

I don’t say anything. My teeth chatter too much for me to even respond. I tremble so much I don’t know if it’s just me or if my sister is adding to it.

“Come on now.” She beckons with the nose of the gun as if it’s her finger and not a weapon. “C’mon. I don’t bite. Enough people out there doing biting for us. Us ladies have to stick together.” She winks at me. I don’t move and don’t allow my sister to move under me. We’re merged together and I’ll be damned if we’re headed anywhere with someone who’s packing.

It’s not until a shadow hovers over her, piercing through darkening the booth inside. It’s when the man lurches for her and, without a glance backwards, she flips the gun under her palm to face behind her and clicks with no hesitation that another body falls. He thumps right onto the ground with white powder spraying up under him. That's when I understand how true her words are.

“I’m Celeste by the way,” she says, tucking the weapon into a holster around her skirt. 
Story by: Jenn Baker 
Photo by: wintersixfour


  1. I like this! Nice imagery throughout, although the ending is such a tease!

    1. Thanks a bunch, Maria! I think this may be the beginning of something longer.

  2. I agree with Maria, Jenn, you could totally make this the beginning of a much longer piece! Nice job. I could see this scene so clearly.

  3. Nice! Like Maria, i love the details. The snow. The swishing skirt. The slush seeping into her clothes.