AUTHOR'S NOTE: This flash fiction piece was written for Three Word Wednesday and is cross-posted at Alice Audrey's Serialists. Although it is set in the same world as Steal Tomorrow it is part of a new series of stories centered around new characters. The "Extras" section of the sidebar has been updated to reflect this. Be sure to drop by Three Word Wednesday and The Serialists for more fun.
Mario poked his nose out from under the stack of blankets and immediately wished he hadn't. How could it be so cold indoors? He hadn't fully appreciated central heating before the pandemic but now with the adults dead, the electric and sewage plants shut down, and all deliveries halted, he understood what a paradise he had once lived in.
He braced himself for the shock and slipped out from under the covers, then he wedged his feet into his slippers, pulled a quilt around himself and went to the window. Outside, the skies were gray and sullen, promising another bitter winter day.
On the other side of the room, Tim and Cee still slept, their breath making white clouds as they exhaled. They counted on him to make the decisions for their little jazz trio, but today Mario wondered if their trust was misplaced. They had opted out of working for two days now, choosing the shelter of this abandoned apartment over the frozen streets. Now they were out of food and nearly out of water. If they wanted to eat today, they would have to brave the elements and either play music for donations or go foraging like the other survivors.
He looked out the window again. The wind had picked up, driving snow and bits of ice. Who could play music in such brutal conditions?
Shivering, Mario went back to bed and covered himself with blankets. He needed a plan but he couldn't think when it was so damn cold. After awhile warmth returned to his body and his muscles slowly relaxed. With the warmth came a renewed sleepiness. He snuggled deeper into the pillows and pulled a down comforter close against his body. Maybe the decision about what to do for food and water could be resolved later. Perhaps by afternoon the snow would be gone and the sun would be out. For now, Mario was comfortable. In this crazy world, that would have to be enough.
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