Kyra pulled the blanket tighter around her shoulders as if the gesture would keep her teeth from chattering. Her face, like Von’s and Em’s was pale, drawn, grim. Together they had agreed. To have the power to make one transmission, one hundred and twenty seconds, it would cost them twenty degrees of heat over the next six days, at which time all power would be exhausted and heat and cold would no longer matter. So, they sat huddled in the numbing cold and looked blankly at the transmission screen as sailors stranded on the open ocean look at their last flare.

The switch stood, firehouse red, stark in the haunting blueness of breath frozen in mock witness to hope tumbling in a freefall of inevitability. Kyra’s trembling hand reached halfway, and then, as if the invisible hand of fate itself held court, she stopped. Looking with listless eyes, incapable of conveying the gravity of failure, Von, and then Em, nodded their heads. Her gloved hand continued its journey. Contact. 120, 119, 118, yet words were stuck and panic knocked on walls thin with fatigue and hunger.

“John, this is Kyra. Do you read?”

Categories: Story, Kyra, Von, Emy