SHORT STORIES

Breathing in the Dark

A vapor plume billowed from a young woman as she stood shivering under the lone street light. As she waited for the evening bus, the heavy snow blanketed her in a cocoon of white. The chill of a December night cut bitterly through her coat.

Next to her stood a man, dark hair and glasses, with the collar of his coat flipped up to cover his face. Despite the frigid weather, he appeared unaffected by the cold. That’s odd! She thought to herself, how can anybody stand this? As if reading her mind, he turned to her and smiled.

 

“Are you cold?” he asked.

 

“What?”

 

“Are you cold?”

 

“Yeah of course, I’m freezing. Kind of a stupid question don’t you think?” Annoyed, she turned away.

Being in no mood to be hit on at the bus stop by some creep, the young woman watched as the bench across the street slowly disappeared under the falling snow. From his pocket the man pulled out his ungloved hand and held it out to her.

 

“Give me your hand” he said.

 

Irritated, she tuned back towards the man. “Listen, buddy I’m not here to date I’m…”

 

“I just want to help, touch my hand”

 

“Alright fine” she gave in, “I’ll touch your hand, after that just leave me alone alright?”

 

“Fair enough”

 

She slowly pulled her glove off her hand and stretched it out. Trembling in the cold, her finger gently grazed over his. Almost instantly she felt a calm wash over her body. As the rest of her hand followed, warmth pulsated through her.

 

“Wow!” she said, taking off her hat and scarf, the cold didn’t seem to bother her anymore.

 

“You’re welcome” he replied, drawing his coat in a little tighter, sounding tired and worn. With that he turned and walked off into the dark.

 

“Wait, that’s it? Wait come back!”

 

“I just wanted to help,” he said over his shoulder.

 

Within moments he vanished into the blowing snow.

 

A vapor plume billowed from a young woman as she stands, warm, under the lone street light.