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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2207042-White-out
Rated: ASR · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2207042
The sudden and unexpected appearance of so much snow.
White-out!

There's something about the sound, or rather the total absence of it, that should serve as a warning of what I will find. Instead I ignore it, let my mind drift through alternative explanations and settle on the most attractive of them. I've woken early; no one else is out and about yet.

The digital read-out on the clock by my side tells me that this is a lie. Even so, I snuggle back under the covers for a few extra minutes. It's cold; much colder than it should be, and I should know.

Finally slipping out from beneath the covers, I grab a sweater and pull it over my head. Even so, I shiver as I walk towards the window and pull back the blinds.

I blink against the assault of light. It looks like a bomb has exploded in the sky; not any sort of normal bomb, but one that was packed to the brim with snow.

It's everywhere. The trees, the cars, the streets and all the buildings are covered in a thick white blanket. The snow is six to eight inches deep, more where it has gathered in piles. It simply does not make sense.

There's no time to linger now. Snow or not, I'm going to have to make it across town and try to find what I missed. I'm going to be called to account for this error, this failure on my part to predict and give warnings.

Without even pausing for a coffee, I bundle myself up in jacket and boots. Gloves! I need gloves, but I'm going to have to clear off some of the snow first or they'll be soaked through. Stuffing them hastily in my pocket, I let myself out and boy, is it cold!

I can feel the icy chill of the air pricking my exposed skin like a thousand needles. My breath steams the air as, shoulders hunched, I feel myself sinking down in the snow to the ice underneath with every step I take.

Doing my best to clear the worst of the snow from my car without getting frostbite, I ponder on where I went wrong. Something this big, this cold, should have been visible days ago. Perhaps it's the satellite. If that has gone down, then there's my excuse, except I should have noticed that too.

Whatever way I look at this my head is looking like it's about to be sent rolling.

The car starts. I guess I should be thankful for small mercies. I'm not, though. If it had refused, I could have walked back indoors, left it for someone else to go and look for explanations and then point the finger of blame at me. Looks like I'm going to be condemning myself, after all.

The road is deserted of all other traffic. There's a weird sensation; finding myself alone in a city of millions. The image flashes through my mind of everyone else encapsulated in blocks of ice, with myself the only survivor. It's nonsense of course. They all just have more sense than me.

I can't go any faster than a slow crawl and even at that the wheels are struggling to find any grip. Slow and steady, I remind myself. Too much pressure on the brake pedal is going to send me slipping in to a sideways crash. I'm only too aware of the chrome, glass and metal that is buried beneath the white shapes either side of me.

I should be enjoying the lack of congestion, I guess, for I spend enough time cursing the all-too-frequent traffic jams I would normally be encountering. I'm not. By the time I pull into the car park, I'm feeling seriously freaked out. There's quiet, and there's too quiet; this most definitely fits in the latter category.

There are no other cars in the lot. I'm going to be alone then. I'm not sure if that is for the better or for the worse.

The door swishes open when I tap in the code, scattering snow as it moves. I step into the warmth, head off to the central office. There are some serious questions that need to be answered; there's no time to waste.

Powering up not just one computer but three, I maneuver my chair from side to side, reading what's shown on the monitors. My fingers tap at the keyboards and the screens are almost instantly full of scrolling data. I can see it, quite clearly; the weather bomb that sits above us. It's huge. Most of the city and surrounding suburbs are beneath it; the disruption caused is going to create havoc.

What I need to find out, is how I and my fellow workers didn't see it coming. Rolling back through the data it soon becomes obvious. We didn't miss anything, for there was nothing there that would have indicated a white-out was on its way.

The satellites are all on-line, streaming their readings through to the central computer. If I could only find just one little blip, one tiny disruption to the signals, I might be able to explain it away, but there's nothing.

What if... ? The thought of what I might find scares me, but now the thought has entered my mind I'm going to have to check it out.

Fingers tapping away, I move from one screen to another, feeling a chill that is nothing to do with the snow. Ours is not the only one!

There are hundreds of the things, all over the globe. What I am seeing is impossible! So says science, and as a meteorologist I deal in cold, hard facts. This... there's no logic to be found in what I am seeing, in spite of the data that is flashing across the screens at a rapid rate.

There's only one explanation that I can come up with but my mind revolts against it. I am a man of science fact not science fiction. How can I put it into words without coming over as crazy? But that's just what I'm going to have to do; I'm going to have to find a way to seriously say that the world is under an alien attack.

For I am a weatherman and it is the weather that somehow they have turned into a weapon to use against us.


(1058 words).

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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2207042-White-out