The world turned to ice one day.
Dinah woke in a bed that was distressingly cold and unyielding. The sheets that were stiffly wrapped around her were sparklingly clear and bits of it would shatter with every tiny movement. Keeping her body as still as possible, her eyes surveyed the room: ice dresser, ice chair, ice walls.
The skin on her back stuck a little to the bed as she got up, the movement shattering the fragile sheets beyond redemption. She swung her legs over the bed and stood cautiously. Fighting for purchase on a slick, bitterly cold floor, she walked gingerly on bare feet to the closet. She turned the doorknob with both hands as the ice melted and slipped beneath her warm fingers.
Inside the wardrobe were dresses, skirts, slacks, coats- all made of frozen water. She chose a sleeveless winter vest and a paneled velour skirt. Of her wardrobe, they were of the thickest material, which gave her an opportunity to make them serviceable.
After snapping off the parts of the coat hangers that stuck out, she coaxed the stiffened garments into the shape of her body, rubbing them in places and alternately pausing to let them refreeze. It was a very painstaking task but, eventually, she had clothes to wear. She slipped the jacket carefully over her head and slid her legs into the skirt.
Looking down, she realized with dismay that the ice was nearly transparent- her nipples and pubic hair were slightly visible through the thick fabric of frozen water. She mused briefly on the efficacy of taking her icy clothes off and rubbing a bra and a pair of panties into a shape that she could wear, but thought better of it. After all, she didn't want to be late for the meeting.
By the front door, her shoes were solid blocks of ice with barely discernible laces and buckles. She chose a pair of pumps as those she could just slip on. Painfully, she forced her feet into her ice shoes. Suppressing a shiver, she turned to open the door and leave.
The path to the front gate was treacherous, and she made a mental note to call her ex-husband later to thank him for finding an apartment for her that at least did not have stairs.
It was a beautiful day, the sun warm on her face; the sky bereft of clouds. She fretted for a moment, wondering whether her clothes would melt.
At the bus stop, she acknowledged her neighbors already waiting there for the number 157. They too were made of ice, and glinted beautifully in the sunlight. They moved slowly and stiffly as they turned to acknowledge her. She heard a loud crack when her neighbor's son, who worked at the post office not far from where she herself was headed, managed a grin in her direction, causing a fissure in his handsome visage.
A few minutes later, as she stood in a bus that slipped and slid on tires made of solid ice, she grasped onto a pole that made her teeth chatter from the cold it radiated, and wondered if she and Jack would do better now that one of them was made of ice- perhaps they should try, just one last time, at a reconciliation. After all, the divorce wasn't final yet.
Around her, through the misty windows, the world scrolled by, unfolding its secrets to her. The bus made its way through a white landscape dotted with huge cube-shaped boulders, their sides scarcely recognizable as the walls of houses, of buildings, with crystalline windows embellishing their surfaces subtly. A pallid breeze wended its way through the trees, causing the fragile, glass-like leaves to clink against each other, the sound like a thousand tiny bells, barely audible over the rumble of the bus.
To the east, the lake was visible in the interstices between the buildings, and for once it was peaceful. If one were to strain one's eyes, far-away boaters could be seen starting to make the long trek back to shore from their once-seaworthy crafts, which were now forever frozen static in the still surf.
If Dinah had been alert to her surroundings, she may have even caught sight of the man waiting to cross the street, who smoked a cigarette made of ice, his face gleaming wet from the droplets of water formed from the steam that streamed from his nostrils, his mouth.
But she daydreamed on, oblivious.
She closed her eyes thinking of Jack and imagined making love to a man made of ice. When her daydream inevitably progressed to ruminating on what to do with a blunt, thick icicle, she opened her eyes, blushing, and unconsciously shaking her head.
It would never work. He did love her, this she believed, but he had a roving eye that she did not want to deal with again. That kind of competition did not sit well with her. And no doubt his latest mistress, with her long, silky hair, would look even more stunning, made of ice.
She saw her building coming up and pressed the button for her stop. Exiting the bus, she walked slowly but deliberately towards the entrance, stopping every now and then to hold onto a light pole, a branch, the arm of a passing stranger, all made of ice, in order to steady herself on the slippery sidewalk.
Once she navigated the front door, she pressed onward into the lobby and cautiously stepped only on the carpeted portions of the floor. The fibers of the carpet crunched beneath her heels as she walked. Sometimes a piece of it would fly up, glancing off her ankle just above her shoes, and drawing a little blood. This was preferable however, to walking on the heretofore marble floor of the building which was now so smoothly frictionless that it looked like clear glass lining the sides of the hallway.
In the elevator, grasping the railing for balance, she examined her dim reflection in its shiny walls, fixing her hair as well as she could and resolutely refusing to look down. The last time she'd taken the lift, she had not been able to see through the floor into the elevator shaft, but there it was now, yawning below her, underneath the clear, slick floor.
A moment later, she was in the waiting area in front of room 1805, where she was late in presenting her proposal to the board members.
The receptionist nodded with a creaking sound at her entrance and, with a delicate motion of her hand, buzzed Dinah in. Delicately perhaps, so as not to cause any fractures on ten perfectly manicured nails, which sparkled like diamonds at the end of ice fingers. The doors to 1805 unlocked with a clicking sound.
Dinah held her breath for one last moment, mentally rehearsing her speech, and then exhaled as she made her way to the door. She dug her fingers into the doorknob tightly to keep it from slipping her grasp, and swung the heavy door on its icy hinges.
And so, the last flesh-and-blood in the world strode into the conference room to make her case.