The sirens have just stopped, but their wails still tingle in my ears. Above me, the sky is a flat sheet of glowing grey-white. I know the terrain all around me as closely as I know the map of my veins, the topography of my own skin, so I know there is no cave or house or building near enough for me to reach before the snow begins.
The sirens give a two-minute warning, no more, sometimes less. The snow will melt my cotton clothes and leather coat and boots before I can even get in sight of shelter. Winter has never come this early, not in my memory.
The rabbit I caught, the one I chased all the way out here, wriggles in my trap. I release it, and let him run. May his feet bring him better luck than my empty stomach brought me. I can smell the sudden cold in the air, the death of everything that breathes and grows.
Off to my left, I hear a faint sizzle. A black maple tree has a yellow-edged hole in one of its leaves that is spreading slowly, burning the leaf into white flecks of ash.
From the corner of my eye, I see a snowflake fall.