Alone on a sidewalk, a young girl dances slowly through the silent snowfall. She raises her arms, arcing them together, fingertips touching like beaks kissing. Warm grey flakes settle on her hands. She finishes with a pirouette, waiting for applause, but the world is silent.
Soon, she will start coughing.
Chip Houser’s short fiction has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, New Myths, Every Day Fiction, and elsewhere in print and online. He is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop and is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.