When she moved, her fingers made tiny tendrils of foggy yellow smoke. In this suspended state of dreamland, nothing else mattered except the smoke.

Twirl; smoke. Dance; smoke. Stretch; smoke. Everything she did created more wonderful smoke. At first, she thought it was beautiful, and it was. Wisps made shapes, and shapes became words, and words formed stories.

But soon, story combined with story, overlapping, creating voids in the thick. She began to cough, choking on all the fog surrounding her. Swatting would only make more smoke, adding to the problem.

Each breath she took burned in her lungs, until the fire consumed her. She looked at her hands, which were on fire, and finally felt the searing pain. She looked, and with her last breath, screamed long after her lungs gave out...


When she awoke, she faintly remembered, but shrugged it off as a dream. Finding herself in her normal surroundings, she got out of bed and began her everyday tasks.

Wake up Kliff, her brother, and work together to bring in firewood, start a fire, and cook breakfast. Watch as the tiny flame melts the thin sheet of ice on the stove. Kliff would always point out the ice right before it disappeared into water. That was when the intricate, crystalline fingers were most visible.

Together they would stare at the cracks, as if trying to decipher some hidden message. Sometimes she would notice a slight glimmer, a shift, and was instantly filled with dread. She dismissed it as shivers from the cold.

Once all the ice was gone and the water evaporated, she knew the pot of boiling soup was done. Always soup, every day, every meal. There were different flavors of broth, but it was still soup all the same. The hot steam cracked her frozen lips. She smiled grimly. Everything could always be counted on to be the same.

Then she remembered the smoke. It's just a dream, she thought. I dream every night. But there was something different this time. This dream left a new taste in her mouth when she woke up. She couldn't decide whether or not she liked it. It was almost a burn in her throat.

All this thinking made her miscount the number of steps to the creaky floorboard, and as she stepped on it, the familiar gunshot sound made her jump and spill some of the soup. Now this was something different.

Maybe things can change, she thought. But it seemed as though things would not change for the better.