Marking a first time for this blog: a direct sequel story. If you haven’t read “My Fingers Are Cold” then I recommend you do. Or none of this is going to make any sense.
And for those who have already. May I present:
My Feet Are Cold
My feet are cold, so I wrap them in the last of my bandages. I once had shoes. But I wore them out a long time ago.
So now, as I run up the hill and along the street, my feet are perpetually cold.
But I can ignore it for the view. When my hair doesn’t get in my way, the burned-out city sparkles with broken glass. It rushes by in a blur when I run. When I outrun.
I outrun everything, even death. I am fast. And spectating is the slow: the corpses in the city. The ones that mutter “cold” when the wind hits them just right.
Along with them the shattered eyes of the apartment buildings, and the empty cars that defy explanations also view me.
And I sprint past them all. I pump my legs with force I didn’t even know I possessed. For Kathy never ran. She was an overweight person—a desk worker, an enjoyer of milk and cookies. But I outran that name too.
And at the thirtieth mile mark a rock bites into my heel and I stain the ground with red. A breadcrumb trail of my life. I bleed out, my heart stops. I fall to the ground from this cut, and wake up a minute later, and continue to run.
If I stopped running, I would be even colder. Colder than death. I know from experience.
I run into the city proper, the deep areas, and weave between the automobiles. I clip one and my pelvis shatters, I stumble and continue to run. I will heal.
This world will not.
In the blur of motion something catches my eye. Not at the corner, as so many unexpected things do, but above me. In the sky. I slow down to a jog and look up at it. This light stretching across the skyline, and destroying the surrounding clouds.
Tentacles of fire. Whipping and crushing buildings. Failing to set them ablaze simply because of a lack of anything left to burn. They all come from the same source, the top of a building.
It feels like five steps to the base, and a breath to reach the top. I find a person, gender unknown underneath all the cloth, clutching an ungloved hand.
“Still cold. My fingers are cold.”
“So are my feet.”
He or she turns as fast as someone carrying that level of weight could, and looks at me.
“You can’t be. Everyone burned. And still I am cold.”
“I outran it.”
From in-between the twin barriers of hats and scarfs, I see a pair of brown eyes. There’s frozen drops of water and raw red skin surrounding those eyes.
“You are warm. Make me warm.”
His or her hands light with fire and the tentacles, smaller and tighter now, whip at me. They seem to move in slow motion as I walk over and push the hands back down.
“I outrun everything. And I can still make you warm.”
My hand slips through layers and layers, until it finds a chest, covered in gooseflesh. I vibrate my hands until they produce warmth, and lay it over a heart. His heart.
“It’s my fingers. They are cold.”
I retract my hands from beneath the layers and grab his hands. They feel normal. Not the skin of fire.
“Does that help?”
“…I’d forgotten what warmth was.”
“So have I.”
“Can you outrun it?”
I look at his face, and see the frozen drops now running down into the scarfs.
“Outrun this world.”
I grip his hands harder, and pull him towards the surrounding fence. I point at the sun rising across the horizon. With the clouds gone it’s blinding.
“We can try.”
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