Icebound by clairechilton

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Chapter 1

A single snowflake floated past the windowpane, and Thea Jackson knew that it was the end of the world. They'd had warnings for decades, and they knew it was coming. No one had reacted the day the methane clouds had hit the atmosphere. No one questioned the turbulent weather. No one had taken notice of the change in the jet streams, and this was the result.

She stared down through her closed window at the street below. People were running from the apartment complex, some loading up their cars and others flagging down air taxis.

We knew about it, but we didn't believe it.

When the reports had come in about a glacier here or a drop in temperatures there, none of it had seemed real, not when she was sitting in the centrally heated offices of Devlin Corp, working her way up through the ranks for all the wrong reasons.

She'd been as blind as everyone else had, and her agenda had all been for nothing.

It feels real now. We're screwed.

She closed her eyes for a moment. Her life was a mess of secrets and lies, but none of it seemed to matter anymore. Why should it on the day the world ended? Nothing mattered anymore.


Her heart ached at the thought of him. Where was he now? Was he running for the borders too? Was he clawing his way through the crowds, trying to escape the inevitable?

She brushed a stray tear away from her cheek. She'd lost him the day she'd been sentenced. Fear had kept her silent. It was fear that had driven him away in the end, the fear that if he knew what she'd done, he'd forget that he ever loved her. She wanted to speak to him now, one last time before it was too late. There were so many things that she hadn't told him, so many things that he didn't know.

She shook her head. She couldn't wallow in regret right now. It was not the right time to lose it.

Watching the crowds below, she realized that there was enough insanity outside without her joining the ranks of crazy people. The concept of human decency seemed to evaporate as she watched a young couple mow down an old woman on their way to their car. They looked like a perfectly respectable couple. They probably thought they were, judging by their designer clothes and perfectly coiffed hair.

Not so respectable now that the world is screwed, are you?

In the wake of the announcement that an environmental disaster was inevitable and heading straight for them, people's identities were falling away, giving way to their animal instinct to survive instead.

Thea's pulse raced. She knew that if she didn't get out of here, she'd die, but it wasn't as if she had a choice. She couldn't leave her apartment. She helplessly stared across the vibrant city. The thriving metropolis of Carilona was lit up. In the distance, a vast line of headlights glowed from the many cars trying to leave the city and head south while industrial chimneys pumped smoke into the atmosphere behind them.

That's why we're in this mess. The cars, the shuttles, the fossil fuels, we made this happen.

Trying to stop herself from panicking, she clenched her fists.

Why this week? Why did this have to happen now?

She shook her head, her blonde bangs covering her eyes for a moment before she brushed them back. Her life hadn't been easy so far. This was just another unbelievably crappy event in it.

 You should be used to things going wrong by now. Of course, there's going to be an Ice Age on the week you're under house arrest.

She glanced down at the implant in her shoulder. The glowing blue dot flashed beneath the skin. When they put it in, she'd been told that if she left her apartment, it would activate. The judge had been particularly harsh when he gave her a heart-stopper. If it became active, her heart would explode in her chest, meaning she was stuck here unless she wanted to redecorate her stylish apartment with blood spatter.

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