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Below 32

It’s so cold. So cold. It’s so much colder than I had expected.

My teeth chatter and my skin is starting to change colors—from a porcelain to an unflattering ice blue. There’s frost forming in my long hair that he had always praised me for. Raven black like the night.

Changing my appearance really didn’t help anything. They say when a girl is heartbroken a new appearance can make you feel better.

It’s not true. At least it wasn’t true for me. He left me and the baby.

The baby… I am so sorry for having to do this.

A rustle sounds in the bushes. I’ll be gone soon anyways so it’s fine if something sees me. They won’t be able to save me anyways. I’m too far in the lake.

A black cat materializes out off the shadows. Its fur immediately reminds me of my own hair. Its eyes, like ripe pumpkins, glimmer in the moonlight. It handles itself almost delicately, picking its way down the path.

This momentarily takes my mind off the cold. But then the cold crashes over my frail body again.

How much longer before it all ends?

By focusing on the cat, I can forget about the wintry water for less than a moment. It’s better than nothing, so I try to watch the cat. It glides over to the lake edge, taking silent, deliberate steps. The eyes—they pierce me. Orange like candles—warm and flickering softly.

Cold. It comes over me again, washing over me—constricting my body with tendrils of frost climbing up my arms like a trellis.

I never imagined dying would be like this. The books always said it would be warm and a golden light would shimmer its way down from the sky. And someone with a kind face would stretch out their hand to help me.

Thank God I wore my life-vest. Suffocation was the last thing I wanted for her. When they dragged my body out of the water, I want him to know about the baby.

Verity—that was the name I wanted to call her. We’d often daydream of the names we’d give our children. He liked the name Caroline. We would have called her Cait for short. I preferred Verity—the Latin name for truth.

I beg my mind to keep wandering so I won’t think about the cold. Each time I start to think about cold again, the frost has creeped farther up me, ensnaring me.

The cat—it’s been there for a while. Watching, waiting. When the moon appears from behind its ebony veil of clouds and the moon shines upon the cat, I notice the slight bulge of its stomach. It’s female. And it must be having kittens.

My mind grapples for something to think about. My insides are on fire with a cold searing at my sides.

I can only formulate one last thought before I start to lose control of my mind.

Cold.




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