Author: Barbora Bartova

It was a late sunny afternoon. The freshly fallen snow was glowing bright. For a moment she wondered whether the glow was caused by the sun or the radiation of the nuclear fallout. After a while, she decided it was the sun, but still, she would definitely not lick the snow. She tried to remember how snow tasted. She loved to eat snow when she was a little girl. The cold on your tongue, the taste of fresh air, and maybe chalk? She was never quite sure, it tasted as nothing and everything at the same time. And then there was the crunch between your teeth if you could bear the cold. Nothing really crunched the same way as freshly fallen snow pressed tightly into a bite-sized ball…

She looked up from the snow and brushed some dust from the glass of her helmet. In the sun any dust could almost entirely blind you. She liked fresh snow, it made lookout duty really easy. Everything was visible on the endless white plane. And tracks were really hard to cover too, so you could easily see if someone was snooping around. Now everything was quiet and the bright white snow was intact. Not a single dark spot anywhere in sight. The sun was slowly setting, it was about time to go home. Nights were rough outside. She climbed down from the small watchtower, unlocked the hidden panel on the side, opened the hatch beneath it, and looked at the stairs going down, down into the darkness underground. She turned around to watch the last sunbeams on the sparkling whiteness. She closed the secret door behind her and then the heavy hatch and the darkness surrounded her completely for a moment before her sleeve flashlight came alive. She started descending slowly, there was no rush. Her head was still full of snow. And there was no one in the world going to eat the snow for a very long time.