-Best thing for a cold is to let it run its course, Alice’s mother told her.
–And, I’m telling you right now missy if you aren’t running a fever, I’m not running up here every five minutes. I’ve got this house to clean.
Alice heard her mother walk away from her door. The floor made its voice heard just before the stairs. Then Alice didn’t hear her mother. She just heard the murmuring like a crowd reciting the Pledge of Allegiance when you are too far away to make out the words. Alice didn’t have a cold. She told her mother that so she could stay in her room. She hadn’t slept except in snatches, but she was not tired. She couldn’t sleep because she had to plan for something and go somewhere to do it. She had to prove that they were there, the things inside.
Before it was anywhere close to light outside Alice fixed her hair nice, and put on make up then took her mother’s black fur coat out of the closet in the spare room. Just like she was told.
She started the car. Her father had left it out front because of the snow. Alice switched on the lights and eased into the street. She had never driven in snow before, and this was not just snow on the road, it was snow in the air too, a storm. They said it would be fine and for her to just do it. She knew she was going south. That was the word she had understood. On the highway south she gripped the steering wheel and stared into the snow storming in the headlights.
It came rushing at the car in a vortex of white faces. They spun towards her and were swept smoothly aside by the sides and top of the car. She could see the snow people screaming but their wind language was a whistling she could not understand. The voices inside were no longer just a murmur. They spoke in a mean, shrill frenzy, stacked on each other commanding, demanding, Alice to drive, to go there. They didn’t say where, but she knew, and she drove through the raging white.