Whiteout
Rachel Simon

She looked like a leaf in the wind as she twirled against a background of snow. Clouds of breath rushed past her lips, coming more and more frequently as she twirled faster and faster.
A decision needs to be made.
Would she ever get tired? Would that mist all rush out of her mouth, then stop, her lungs burning and too exhausted to continue?
I need an answer. You can’t keep me waiting like this.
For a moment her breath did stop, getting caught as she suddenly collapsed onto her back, small crystals of snow floating up into the air as she did.

A feeling of surprise, and near-dread, fluttered in my chest for a moment as I tried to retract my previous thought, of her breath stopping, or even any other flashing thoughts: a broken ankle, hitting her head on the ground too hard, her scarf tightening around her neck. I hurried over to her splayed body.
Wherever the family goes, you must go.
I almost skidded into her as I reached her, only to see her giggling like a small girl, her chest spasming with giddiness.
“Guess I got too dizzy.” She looked at me with soft brown eyes that were framed by shimmery droplets of melted snowflakes. Her mouth cracked open into a toothy grin that accentuated her pink cheeks.
How could you stay with a girl who did something like that to herself?
I reached a gloved hand to her, and she gave me her naked hand, which was starting to turn red.
“You should really have worn gloves, you know.”
They should have left that bitch to bleed out.
“Well, if I did that I wouldn’t be able to do this.” She reached her hands around the back of my neck and down my shirt, laughing. I immediately reacted to what felt like a cup of ice being dumped on my back, and I grabbed her forearms to pull them away.
And if she was dead, we wouldn’t be having this discussion, would we?
I quickly let go of her arms, hoping I didn’t hurt her, and she let them fall and hook around my waist.
“Are you okay?” Her eyes looked into mine again, except they seemed to contain hints of sadness this time. “You seem a little distracted today.”
Make your decision. It’s her or the family.
“Yeah. I’ll be fine.” I hoped.