The teams were already playing, but Alice’s curiosity was piqued. She took her mug with her and went through to the sunroom. In the summer she’d have been taking her coffee here, with thewindows open and cool evening breezes washing away the heat of the day. At this time of year the room was mostly unused. Frost ran in spider-web patterns across the windows, but she couldsee enough.
The snow is green!
The game still blared in the front room, but she wasn’t about to let the opportunity pass her by.She went to the main door and started the process of inuring herself against the weather – snow boots, coat, hat, scarf and gloves.She opened the door thinking she was prepared. She’d left her right glove off to turn thehandle. As she opened the door some green-tinged snowflakes landed on the back of her hand.They immediately started to burn, like cinders from a fire that had been poked too vigorously.She withdrew her hand quickly and pushed the door shut. Her hand stung and she had to grit her teeth against the pain. She ran to the kitchen and ran cold water over the affected areas – fivesmall holes bubbled as if acid had fallen there.The water didn’t erase the burning. Looking closely she saw points of green deep down in thesmall wounds. They seemed to be burrowing deeper, the green areas spreading as if it wasactually eating her flesh -- and growing as it did so.
What is this shit?
There was only one thought in her mind – to get rid of the pain. She scrambled in the kitchendrawers until she found what she was looking for.She managed to light a series of matches and, while the heads still burned, poked them deepinto the wounds. Each burning brought a fresh scream from her, but five matches later she wasable to study the back of her hand. There was a ruined mess of burned tissue, and the pain wasalmost unbearable.But there were no more green spots.John Hiscock only just got to safety in time, but he had already spent most of his adult life preparing for this moment, and was not surprised it had finally come.
When he was younger he’d thought it would be a nuclear event that he’d have to hide from.But in recent years it had become more obvious that it would be either a biological or chemicalattack – that was the sneaky thing to do.He’d bought this cabin high in the hills above Saint John nearly fifteen years ago, and hadspent most of his spare time building his defenses and ensuring that he would be fully stocked inthe event that his fears came to pass.They’d laughed at him long and hard for years down at the garage. Jake Forbes in particular had ridden him constantly, calling him a paranoid freak, and taking every opportunity to ask whathe was wasting his paycheck on this week.
But who is laughing now?
He almost hadn’t been given enough warning. It was only by luck that the storm didn’t startuntil he’d got home from his shift. The first green flake had fallen as he walked from his truck tothe front door. Old Ben loped over to welcome him home and a flake landed on his nose. The olddog yelped and started to run in circles. It was only by sternly ordering him to stand still thatHiscock was able to get his training to overrule his pain. He examined the dog’s nose closely.Something green and bubbling festered in a weeping sore.A second flake landed next to the dog’s left eye and immediately started to