The cold air bites at her fingers.
It’s almost like Mrs. Richards’ little dog from down the lane, she thinks, because it hurts and nips at her hands and their exposed ends. She couldn’t search the snow well enough with her mittens on, so she took them off.
The town’s quiet today, because school-time is over and everyone has gone home. In a week it’s Christmas, and around here that means closed doors and happy, orange lights from the windows. She’s never particularly taken interest to Christmas, mostly because to her it’s a reminder of blue evenings and silence.
She can’t really remember what it was like before Mama was gone – but she can tell the difference between then and now when she looks at the pictures on the mantle. There’s a warmth in Papa’s face that she can’t find now no matter how hard she squints. Maybe she’s not good enough to make him look that way.
But she exhales a puff of white breath and continues searching, even though she can’t feel her hands.
She’s not leaving until she finds it.