Sometime before three, when the power went out and his alarm clock went dark, Gerard gave up on sleep. Sucking in as deep a breath as his back would allow, he rolled off the edge of the bed, careful not to wake his wife. Even through wool socks the floor was ice. He quickstepped from the bed to the window like a firewalker. The frost, crystalline fossils of ancient ferns etched into the pane, slid off in a brittle sheet, sticking to his sleeve. He licked at it, absentmindedly, like a child. The plows had passed twice in the night, and he had expected the damage to be worse. The bank that hemmed in his driveway was only two, maybe two and a half, feet high, and not nearly as deep as it would have been if he hadn’t gotten out there the previous night.

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