When I woke, I couldn’t open my eyes. They were stuck together and I had to pick at them with my broken fingernails. Pick, pick, pick, slow and patient, until they came unglued.
While I picked, I listened. I could hear the wind whining from outside the hill cabin, and the creak of snow and burdened wood. There was a heaving in my chest too, but I couldn’t hear the others’ breathing anymore and I didn’t like that. I didn’t trust it.
And the smell was still everywhere, a sharp, cold odour, like zips, like money. A whole mouthful of grubby coins. I didn’t want to swallow, but I couldn’t help it. My throat was rough and dry; my lips were cracked. I scrubbed at my face more vigorously, wiped my knuckles over my mouth, but the air went on clinging to me. A second skin of dirt and ice.
Then there was a new sound. I thought that it came from somewhere behind me, but I couldn’t be certain. A soft popping, no louder than the crack of a pulled knuckle.
All at once, my eyes were open.
For a moment, I saw nothing but pale blue light.
Your turn . . .