The story so far:
Frigid cold penetrated deep, burning her skin. She gasped for air, feeling no snow against her face. Shallow breathing echoed in her ear as George fought for life still in her arms.
She tried to move. No such luck. Pinned under Lord knows how much snow, Renni couldn’t move. She could barely breath.
George whimpered. Renni longed to be able to pet him. She tried to move her hand but felt it pinned against the dog’s back.
Somehow the snow had left a tiny pocket of air near their faces. She sucked in a shallow breath, preserving as much air as possible.
A freezing patch of fluffy white fell onto her face as her body began to convulse in violent shakes. George also shivered, their bodies desperately fighting to survive under the heavy blanket. No light penetrated their frigid tomb. She smelled wet dog, oil, and blood, metallic and sickeningly sweet all at once.
Renni knew with sleep came death. This time, she knew if she closed her eyes, her life would end. She and poor George would remain forever encased under the white, perhaps to be found by some alien archeologists long after the Mongerers finished with Earth and left the world to rot. They would find her there, her leg broken beyond any repair, her hand burned, a loving animal and friend in her arms. They would find the rod, half in her leg, perhaps the other half buried not far away. They would wonder about it, wonder what it was and whether she had invented the strange device or perhaps guess that it had been a gift, that humans had not been capable of such technology when the end came to their home world.
Her mind drifted to thoughts of what the world would look like when they finally found her. Would it be barren, stripped by the Mongerers? Would it survive and revive, become lush and beautiful and wild once more? She hoped in her heart this would be so. Perhaps one day humanity might return. Perhaps they would have learned by then.
She had no strength to live beyond a few moments more. She could not dig. She could barely breath. Slowly, her good foot went numb from the cold. Then her calve and then her knee. Her ears, her nose, her fingers on her good hand lost all feeling. Soon, she knew all that would remain would be her mind. She wondered how long she could live, half in shock from the pain of her fight and being buried alive.
Another dusting of snow fell through the small pocket of air onto her eyes, blinding her momentarily. Not that she could see to begin with. She couldn’t use her hand to brush the snow from her face, nor could she shake her head. Renni felt for the first time utterly helpless. Had she any tears left to cry, she would have shed them upon George’s sweet hound face. He whined softly, the life slowly drifting out of him as the cold froze his body. She tightened her grip on the hound hoping what heat she had could help keep him alive a little longer. Renni didn’t want to be alone.
More snow fell covering her face completely this time. She shuddered. She didn’t want to suffocate. Panic nearly took her as the entire pocket of air she shared with George filled in. Renni gasped, sucking the white powder into her mouth. Sharp pangs erupted from her teeth and brain. She coughed but only managed to bring more snow into her mouth and down her throat.
Something touched her face. Suddenly, she could breath. Soft light illuminated the small hole where a rush of cool fresh air slapped her face. Renni shut her eyes against the light, pained by the suddenness of it. A gentle hand brushed more snow from around her face, clearing the space about her swiftly.
It lifted George from her and she grabbed hold tight, not wanting to let go of him. It carefully pried her fingers loose of the dog. Renni shivered from the sudden loss of heat. She opened her eyes but saw little. The world blurred as long fingers slid behind her head to cradle it.
“Little Harbinger, you know me,” a raspy voice spoke in her ear. Her eyes blackened completely as her body lifted from what was to have been her grave. “Little Harbinger, you are safe now.”