Mrs. Bridge lit another one hundred dollar bill from the many stacks in front of her on fire. She felt she should see her family one last time. The light from the flame lit the dark room dimly. Across from her she could see the figures of her young daughter and husband huddled together on the couch staring at her. They’d been gawking at her, unmoving with slack jawed disbelief, for what she was sure was several days now, if not longer. She asked them how long it had been but neither answered. 

She laughed to herself. This house, with all its rooms and state of the art amenities; her husband with all his connections to the powerful elites in the area and the assets too large to know a precise figure; none of that helped. Like any common beggar on the street they were vulnerable to the weather, though they severely underestimated that fact. The storm had no trouble entering their gated world and literally froze everyone’s sense of reality and confidence overnight.

The temperature dropped from 10℉ to minus 60℉ in a matter of hours. She recalled how the three of them sat in the living room in disbelief that it was getting colder by a degree almost every five minutes. She wondered how many others denial cost them their lives. If anyone had taken the reports seriously, which were tame compared to the reality, they would have headed south. They easily could have. At least two of their vehicles were 4 wheel drive. All the tanks were full before the gas turned to sludge. Communication and electricity went, at least for them, within less than a couple hours. No goodbyes to anyone, only a few “Can you believe this happening?” calls. 

She never said goodbye to her husband or daughter. They simply stopped moving at some point. It was odd that she felt so little for them now. The cold must have frozen her emotions. She decided to give up on the house. She lit a match and a few more bills and stared at what was her family, until the light faded out. She went to the side door at the east wing of the house where the driveway was. She wondered why she was still alive for a moment, looked out into the freezing pitch dark, and muttered “Fuck it” to herself. She opened the door and slipped out in search of someone but deep down knew she was unable to understand or survive any of this and wanted to die alone wrapped in the layers of illusions of all she believed. 

Fred Vee