Suddenly there was snow—hundreds upon hundreds of feet of white slippery snow. Connie and I tip-toed on the crest of the snow mountain—high above the rooftops and telephone wires—watching dingy white seagulls as they swooped downwards on shafts of descending wind. Above us, the cloudless sky was as blue as a robin’s egg and the yellow sun blazed brightly. Below us, foamy snow peaks in an ocean of white glistened. I heard the sound of white sheets flapping in the breeze, and the scent of laundry soap and clean cotton surrounded me. Gusts of wind warmed our faces and stirred the loose flakes of snow into swirling tornadoes of whiteness.
“Watch me,” I said as I removed my yellow day-glow slicker and laid it down upon the pristine snow. Clutching the collar with both hands, I plopped down upon my belly and pushed off with my yellow boots.
“Here I go!” I squealed as the slick coat slid down the slippery tunnels of snow. Behind me Connie gleefully giggled as she jumped on her neon-orange slicker.
Down and down the white spirals we sped. Our rain slickers were now as fast as bobsleds, twisting and turning through the snow funnels; then banking up the slopes of the snow tornadoes; then spiraling down again, faster and faster.
Wet flakes of snow sprayed my face and clung to my eyelashes. I laughed at the white world seen through my frozen veil. My cheeks ached from laughing and pellets of ice clattered against my grinning teeth. The snow tasted sweet and wet. Above me, around me, and below me was snow and ice and whiteness; and behind me laughter whistled through the wind.
Finally, my yellow slicker slowed to a stop at the base of the snow mountain. Connie, covered in ice and snow, slid beside me. The sleeves of her orange slicker were ripped and tattered. We rolled off the slickers and onto our backs and laid flat on the cold, white snow. We lay there for a long while, clutching our rolling ribs, and laughing… laughing…laughing.
After what seemed like hours but might have been only minutes, my stomach began to ache from the bouncing of the laughter and I gasped for breath. The joy subsided into restrained chuckles and I breathed a sigh of satisfaction.
Melted snow ran into a gurgling creek. I stood, looked upwards and felt dwarfed by the snow. Feeling very small and unimportant, and suddenly very young, I jumped into the ice-cold creek. My yellow boots slammed against the black water and sprayed geysers of white water around me. Connie jumped in behind me and together we followed the river to a green grove of trees that smelled of pine and moss and fertile black dirt.
We crawled out of the creek and onto the bank. We pulled off our wet boots and burrowed our bare toes into the soft black mud. A brown rabbit with a white cotton tail hopped by in a hurry to somewhere else. We followed him for awhile, then lost him in the shadows of the towering pines. I looked up to see that the tops of the great trees covered the sky and blocked the sun completely.
The world became dark, and green, and damp; and I was suddenly aware of strange noises coming from the shadows. I heard the rustling of leaves and the snapping of branches, and the scurrying of many feet. I was cold and shivered.
Connie began to run and this time I followed her orange slicker. My heart pounded furiously against my chest. The faster we ran the darker it became and I felt hot mist like dank breath seeping down my yellow collar. I pumped my arms and pounded my legs faster, faster, faster, and harder, harder, harder but I was not moving and the hot mist circled my body. I looked down and saw my bare feet sinking into thick, black muck. I twisted and turned and struggled to pull my ankles free, yet each movement served only to sink me deeper. The mud surrounded my calves, then my knees and thighs, then my waist, and my shoulders, and finally my neck. And when all that was remaining above the black muck were my pale-blue eyes, I looked at Connie and saw her blood-red mouth open wide to show her shiny white teeth: laughing… laughing… laughing.