When I opened my eyes early the next morning, the first thing I noticed about the new year was that it was extraordinarily quiet. I got up and tiptoed to the window — somehow it felt like I should — and was delighted to find while I’d slept my world had been transformed into a magical white wonderland. A soft thick blanket of sparkling fresh snow had changed the landscape into an unrecognizable terrain and muffled the normal sounds of morning. The winter storm I’d passed through in Central West Texas two days ago had made an uncharacteristic wide turn back to the northwest, depositing just over a foot of the white wet stuff across most of the plains above the Caprock. It had been cold enough the past two weeks that the snow was likely to stick around for a while.
Turning quickly and ducking, knowing a second missile could be on its way, I scooped up a handful and formed my own weapon, wheeling around to fire it at my friend. Halfway through my delivery, I stopped, frozen in place by the sight of a tall figure coming around the far corner of the building.