Author : John Kinney

Food. His stomach is a knot, coiling together tighter and tighter each day. Food. He has not eaten in almost a month, his blue eyes are sunken in his pale face, his scraggly black hair hangs down to his thin shoulders and his thick beard is long and full.

Food is all he can think about.

The world in front of Jack Stramm is ice and snow. Snow fell in torrents for months, covering the old world, trapping millions in their homes, all had hoped that it would end sooner, that it would go away with the summer. But the snow fell and didn’t stop for months.

Now Jack trudges across the snow in makeshift snowshoes. Behind him he drags a sled full of old camping gear. He is weary. Thin clouds of mist cover his view with each shallow breath, and he scans around the frozen tundra, knowing he will see nothing, but hoping for anything.

He comes across a body. A frozen mass heaped in the snow. Jack stands over it and sways, his sunken blue eyes wide. The body has blue skin, and Jack cannot tell if it is a man or a woman. Food, thinks Jack.

The camping gear behind him is covered in a thin frost, which breaks away as he unzips the small, front pocket and pulls out a pocketknife. He falls to his knees in front of the body and his hand hovers over its exposed arm, shaking violently. But it isn’t the cold gush of wind that sweeps light snow across the frozen surface that chills him to his core.

His eyes open again, and his daughter stands over the body that lies in the snow.

“Baby,” he says out loud. “Baby I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, baby”

She says nothing and stands there, watching him and watching his shaking hand hover over the arm of the body in the snow.

Jack weeps and closes his eyes. In a fleeting moment of despair he tosses the knife down, and he howls upwards toward the sun.

“Save me!” he shouts. “Save me now!” His eyes ache from staring into the light and he bows his head. “Why don’t you stop this?” he mutters.

In the darkness of his thoughts, he hears a soft voice.

“Come home, Jack.”

He sits on his knees in the snow, his eyes open but blank. He reaches down for the knife and cuts out a small chunk of flesh. Although it is cold, the body has been resting in the sun and is warm enough to slide a knife through.

“I’ll find you, baby” he said. “Don’t be afraid. I’ll find you and we can leave this place.”

He slides the cold flesh into his mouth and swallows it quickly. A cloud passes over the sun and he is enveloped in the shade.

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