Alinara woke up just before dawn. The snow had been coming down heavily when she went to sleep, and the radio had said it was going to be just below freezing all night.
The chill in the air suggested the radio hadn’t been quite honest. She slid on a spare pair of pants before getting out of bed and dove into her fleece slippers. The cabin, with its thick, thick walls, didn’t lose heat quickly, but a hard freeze could hurt more than just her breath and joints.
She fumbled the matches twice before she managed to light the tinder, and then had to light the tinder three times to get it going. A strong draft kept whistling down the chimney, putting out her little flames.
The pipes hadn’t frozen, at least. She set a kettle on the stove while the fire got itself going, and washed her hair in the sink. She could take a nice hot bath when the drive was shoveled out.
She drank her first mug of tea while she got dressed in outdoor gear. By then, the cabin was starting to warm up, her breath no longer showing in the air. Reluctantly, Alinara stepped into the breezeway, shut the doors firmly behind her, and pulled the exterior door open.
The snow was hard-packed enough that it didn’t come tumbling in, which was both a good thing and a bad thing. Wishing for a flamethrower, Alinara climbed to the top of the drift, shut the door behind her, and started shoveling. With luck, she’d be able to clear her way to the bus stop with time left over for a bath. Normal back-to-nature sorts might be able to forgo day jobs, but she still needed to get into the office, rain, shine, or three feet of hard-packed snow.
When she’d gone out into the woods to find herself, she hadn’t imagined that the self she’d find would have quite so much upper-body strength.
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