Chapter One Sneak Peek
The air was calm, but I was restless. I had a decision to make so I did what I always do when push comes to shove––I shoved back, but not in the way one might think. Skiing had always been my release. There was something about being surrounded by fresh powder in the clean, open air that reminded me what it felt like to be alive. I could stand on a mountaintop with a world of trouble on my mind, and it didn’t matter. Every care I had dissolved just like the snow soon would and the mountain would be reduced to tiny patches of white, mere remnants of a ski slope that once provided the town’s entertainment for the season.
In a few minutes I’d get together with Audrey for lunch and do something that didn’t come easy––tell her the truth. It wasn’t that I lied to her; I was a master in the fine art of keeping things to myself. I always thought it was better that way. But I was wrong to allow her limited access to my life, and I wanted to change that. So I’d explain it all to her, and once I finished I would reveal my plan and hope she’d understand. She just had to.
I rounded the last narrow pass on the slope and traveled downhill through the trees. My tongue had gone numb over the past couple hours and every time my teeth hit against it I felt nothing, like it wasn’t even there, and my throat felt like a strand of lit matches were pressed hard against it. I wondered if I was getting sick. That would explain the unrest in my stomach. The flu had made its way around town so it made sense that it would make it to me, but if it was the flu, why had I lost all the feeling in my face?
I ran my gloved hand across my goggles, but it didn’t help––even when I squeezed my eyes shut and opened them again the trail in front of me was a blur. With what little force I had left, I jammed my poles into the snow and tried to stop, but the slope was too steep and I couldn’t bend my hands or even move them for that matter. My fingers felt like long shards of ice and in one simultaneous motion they launched a mass of frozen liquid throughout my body. What was happening to me?
In a panic I gasped for air, but there wasn’t any. I tried to cry out, but I was alone, and in my hysteria it hit me. I had felt a similar feeling before––like my body was giving out on me, and I knew what it meant.