Great black sentinels that were once trees stood watch over the cars. They were covered in a white shroud. It snowed last night. Several inches of dense, wet snow. The streets were impassable. The cars were stuck in their parking spaces. The city was shut down. No one ventured outside. No one except John.
John walked down the snow covered streets during the day. He saw no one. John walked down the same streets later that night. He saw no one. Everyone hibernated in their homes all this long winter’s day and night.
Lights along the street shed little light this night. Snow started to fall in feet, not inches. John did not feel the cold or wet. He was determined to reach his goal. Reaching that goal had blocked all out of his mind, his psyche.
He ducked into a shop door. The shop was closed and the door locked. But there was enough light to read the scrap of paper. John replaced it in his pocket and continued down the street, a solitary man in a city that was strangely quiet.
The police car took John by surprise. He once again ducked into a closed shop door and turned around. He hoped the car would pass him by. The car slowly drove down the snow-packed street. The car fish-tailed a bit as it slid around the corner. John stepped back out into the sidewalk. The city was now quiet again. The snow muffled all sound.
The solitary man continued his journey through the snow-locked city. The black night had now turned into a gray morning, but still the snow fell. John made a path in virgin snow. His clothes were now stiff with ice. His shoes were soaked as were his socks. John’s hair was coated with snow and ice. But he didn’t feel the cold. He was on a mission. He checked the scrap of paper again.
It was time for morning chores. But the garbage trucks did not go out this gray morning. The mail people did not make their rounds this snowy morning. The delivery trucks did not deliver their packages this icy morning, The buses did not run this stormy morning. The snow continued its fall unabated. People remained in their houses. They watched their small screens to follow internet news and weather radar. People were still in hibernation.
First the internet failed. Then the electricity failed. No cars were on the road and no traffic lights were working. John walked down the middle of the street. He paused under a non-working stop light. He looked left. He looked right. He looked left again. He looked right again. A stag walked up to him. It had oranges on the points of its antlers. In the oranges were lit candles. The oranges were the only color in a world of white. The candles were the only lights in a gray world. The stag waited for John to move.
The half frozen man chose right. The stag walked in front of the man and walked down the deserted street, like a beacon. John followed the stag. They passed cars under mounds of snow. They passed dark houses. They passed shops with closed signs in the windows. They passed dark sentinels that used to be trees, shrouded in white.
The stag stopped in front of a house. It waited in the snowy street. John read the wet scrap of paper taken from his wet jacket pocket. He checked the number on a house. John walked up to the house. He knocked on the door. The door opened. The door pushed back the six inches of snow that blocked the entrance. John walked into the house.
The stag turned and continued its walk down the snow covered street. Soon the brown stag with oranges on its antlers and with candles burning faded into the snowstorm.
A large candle on a table lit the entry. The rest of the house was dark.
“You’re late,” said a woman. She smiled at John.
John dripped on a rug. He smiled at the woman. “I got caught in a storm.”
Word Count 694