Her appearance was totally unexpected and her surroundings, though vaguely familiar were at the same time unusual. Instead of her customary preference to soft pastel shades, she wore a long, black cape, buttoned to the neck. The fur trimmed hood, thrown casually over her head, was speckled with delicate, white flecks of snow, fallen freshly from above. A trail of dark footprints in the icing sugar path behind her, led back to a point, where I could just make out slender tree trunks, rising and bowing to form a canopy of oversized leaves, enclosing the pathway like a tunnel. They faded out of vision in the descending gloom as a fresh fall of fine snow began.
As she opened her mouth to speak, an icy blast of air whipped her words away, whistling through the trees, and bringing with it a further, heavier fall of snow. A whirling wall of whiteness obscured the entire scene.
I awoke, shivering, disorientated and confused.
Initially, I attributed the chill I felt to the dream and my sudden return to consciousness. But as the chill continued to bite, I realised that I was experiencing something I’d not felt these past three years; cold. Not the artificial attempts of air conditioners, but the bone gnawing grip of winter.
“I’m still asleep.” I said out loud, immediately realising I wasn’t. It was almost light, so I sat up to take a look out of the window and try to make some sense of my dream. Outside, a thick blanket of fog, restricted vision to a few yards and an eerie silence added to my confusion. I inhaled a deep breath, which felt sharp as the cold hit the back of my throat. As I exhaled, a jet of steam shot from my mouth. For a fleeting moment, I imagined I was back in England and lightning flashes of memory reminded me of those bleak winter days, when it never quite seemed to get fully light.