A fine snow was falling, dusting everything with a light powder of white. A delicate border of rime formed on the remaining leaves on the massive oak in the quad and along its otherwise bare branches. It was a holiday scene encapsulated in a child’s snow globe.
Except that it was the middle of June when the weather should be sweltering.
The freak storm came out of nowhere. The day before students were outdoors in shorts and flipflops, picnicking on the student center lawn and playing disc golf on the soccer practice fields.
Temperatures dropped 50 degrees overnight, freezing the fountain outside the Undergraduate Library causing Europa’s bronze tail to break off. Pipes burst in Patten Hall flooding the first-floor common area, sending summer students running for dry ground, and all classes were cancelled because the air conditioning was still blasting cold air into the auditoriums.
Trudy sat huddled on her dorm bed wrapped in a blanket her mother insisted she bring with her to college. She pulled on a second pair of socks and crammed a ball hat on her head, hoping to hold in some of her quickly dissipating body heat.
The door to her room slammed open and her roommate, Holly, barged in carrying more blankets.
“Damn, Hols, where have you been?” Trudy took one of the blankets and draped it over her head.
Holly rolled up a second blanket and tucked it against the base of their window, which already had a strip of duct tape around the outer edge. Blowing on her numb fingers, she bundled up with the remaining blanket and climbed into bed.
“The line for blankets wrapped around the block at the Union,” Holly said. “It was crazy. Some of the people waiting got pretty aggressive with the campus cops. I thought there was going to be a riot.”
“This weather is crazy.” Trudy watched the puffs of white steam her words made. “What’s going on?”
“I have no idea,” Holly said, slowing getting out of bed. “It’s weird, there’s been a news blackout all morning.”
Holly grabbed her laptop and crawled back under her covers, trying to warm up the computer’s metal case. Logging on, she coaxed the laptop to boot up by rubbing it with her blanket warmed hands.
“Is there anything?” Trudy craned her neck trying see the screen across the other side of the room.
“Give me a second,” Holly said. “I’m trying to get a connection.”
Trudy couldn’t wait and joined Holly under her covers.
“Here we go,” Holly said, scooting over to give Trudy some room. “Oh, shit!’
“What is it?” Trudy tried to turn the laptop for a better view. “World War? Global Warming? Dr. Evil? What?”
“An honest politician has been found, “ Holly said, breathless with awe. “Hell has frozen over.”