Cold Heart by Rebecca Field

It’s been five and a half hours and the hospital still hasn’t called. They said it might take six, or more. Trevor was second on the list, but he might get bumped by an emergency.

Snow falls in sticky, wet clumps that drift like feathers shaken from the sky. The flakes alight on the edges of fence panels and plant pots, on the roofs of the outhouses and on the back doorsteps and window ledges of the houses whose yards adjoin theirs.

Jenna stares at the sill of her bedroom window from the warmth of the inside, notices how the snow builds up in tiny, almost imperceptible increments. First, one large flake lingers, then it is joined by another and another. Soon there are no gaps between them anymore, she can no longer see the greying plastic of the UPVC window sill. It is covered with a fresh layer of new snow; impossible to tell where one flake ends and the next begins.

She wipes the fog of her breath from the glass with the sleeve of her cardigan. It is April. It isn’t supposed to be snowing. She thinks about Trevor and his arteries, how long it must have taken for them to get so bad. She thinks about the pieces of fat, laying down one after the other, overlapping, piling up. Each one on its own insignificant, but over time creating a layer, taking on a shape. She wonders why they can’t simply hoover them out, sweep them out of the way with a miniature snow-plough, or break them up into pieces more easily dispersed.

This snow wasn’t forecast. The roads won’t have been cleared or gritted yet. The car will need digging out, and she will struggle to get it out into the road. When she gets moving, she will slide down the hill with no idea whether she will be able to stop at the bottom, or whether she will glide past the stop line into the path of an oncoming tram.

When the phone rings, it is a number she does not recognise. She lets it click through to voicemail, waits for the snow to stop falling.

Rebecca Field lives and writes in Derbyshire, UK. She has work in several print anthologies and has also been published online by Reflex Press, The Daily Drunk, The Phare, Ghost Parachute and Ellipsis Zine among others. Tweets at @RebeccaFwrites