English Girl in New York

By: Scarlet Wilson

He didn’t feel as if he was suffocating. The snow wasn’t tightly packed around his face. He just couldn’t move. And Dan didn’t like feeling as if things were out of his control.

The scuffling above him continued and then a few pairs of strong arms pulled him upwards from the snow. His head whipped around, instantly looking to see if the mother and child were safe.

There. On the other side of the sidewalk. He could see the flash of her red coat. Throwing them towards the street probably hadn’t been the wisest move in the world, but the street was deep in snow, with not a car in sight. People were crowded around them but they were both safe, if a little shocked. The woman lifted her head and caught his eye. One of her hands was wrapped around her son, holding him close to her side, the other hand she placed on her chest. She looked stunned, her gaze registering the huge mound of snow that they would have been caught under, the horror on her face apparent. Thank you, she mouthed at him.

He smiled. The air left his lungs in a whoosh of relief. Snow was sticking to the back of his neck, turning into water that was trickling down his spine. As if he weren’t wet enough already.

The elderly couple. Where were they? And why was his wrist still aching so badly? He spun back around. The elderly couple were being escorted across the street towards a sidewalk café. Thank goodness. He gave a shiver. He didn’t even want to think about the broken bones they could have suffered—or the head injuries.

‘Buddy, your wrist, are you hurt?’ A man in a thick wool coat was standing in front of him, concern written all over his face.

Dan looked down. The thing he was trying to ignore. The thing he was trying to block from his mind. He glanced at the pile of snow he’d been buried under. There, in amongst the debris, were some slate shingles. Who knew how many had fallen from the roof above. He was just lucky that one had hit his wrist instead of his head.

Darn it. His eyes met those of the concerned citizen in front of him. ‘I’ll see about it later,’ he muttered. ‘I’m sure it will be fine. Let me make sure everyone’s okay.’

The man wrinkled his brow. ‘They’ve called an ambulance for the other guy.’ He nodded towards the sidewalk, where one of the businessmen was sitting, looking pale-faced and decidedly queasy. Truth be told, he felt a little like that himself. Not that he’d ever let anyone know.

He tried to brush some of the snow from his uniform. ‘Who knows how long the ambulance will take to get here. We might be better taking them to be checked over at the clinic on Sixteenth Street.’ He signalled across the street to another cop who’d appeared and was crossing quickly towards him. ‘Can you talk to dispatch and see how long it will take the ambulance to get here?’

The other cop shook his head and threw up his hands. ‘The whole city is practically shut down. I wouldn’t count on anyone getting here any time soon.’ He looked around him. ‘I’ll check how many people need attention—’ he nodded towards Dan ‘—you included, then we’ll get everyone round to the clinic.’ He rolled his eyes. ‘It’s gonna be a long shift.’

Dan grimaced. The city was in crisis right now. People would be stranded with no way of getting home. Flights were cancelled. Most of the public transport was shutting down. How much use would he be with an injured wrist?

A prickle of unease swept over him as he looked at the streets crowded with people. He should be doing his job, helping people, not sloping off to a clinic nearby.

He hated that. He hated the elements that were out of his control. He looked at the crowds spilling out onto the sidewalk from Fourteenth Street station and took a deep breath.

Things could only get worse.

* * *

Carrie stared out of the window. The sun had well and truly disappeared and the streets were glistening with snow. Not the horrible sludge she’d trudged through earlier—but freshly fallen, white snow. The kind that looked almost inviting from the confines of a warmly lit apartment.

Her stomach rumbled and she pressed her hand against it. Thank goodness Mr Meltzer lived above his store. Every other store in the area had pulled their shutters and closed. She glanced at the supplies on the counter. Emergency milk, water, bread, bagels, cheese, macaroni and chocolate. Comfort food. If she was going to be snowed in in New York she had every intention of eating whatever she liked. It would probably do her some good. After the stress of last year she still hadn’t regained the weight she’d lost. Gaining a few pounds would help fill out her clothes. It was so strange that some women wanted to diet away to almost nothing—whereas all she wanted was to get her curves back again.

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