The fair-haired, tanned lady jolted awake, her instincts telling her something was amiss. She was certain she had woken earlier than usual; her alarm had not gone off, and the room was shrouded in darkness. The first faint hints of dawn began to seep through the sliver in her bedroom curtains, and their light held an unfamiliar, unsettling quality.
Something wasn’t right. It was that feeling you get when you wake up from an unnerving dream, only to realise a few moments later that everything is okay, you are safe, and the world is as it should be. But only this time it wasn’t. She clutched the sheet around her, suddenly aware of an icy chill seeping into her bones. It was the coldest she had felt since her days in Alaska where the winters had been incredibly harsh.
Straining her ears, she noticed the absence of the familiar hum of the air conditioning unit. In the scorching heat of Stovepipe, the constant sound had become a part of her daily life. Yet, its silence only deepened her confusion. If the air conditioning was broken, why was she so cold?
It was getting lighter now. Glancing at her digital clock, she read the time - 06:19. The brightness intensified, urging her to open the curtains and greet the clear, blue sky typical of the arid landscape, dotted with cacti and creosote bushes.
Instead, she gasped in disbelief. Before her eyes lay a breathtaking sight. A thick, symmetrical cascade of snowflakes gracefully fell from the sky, transforming the once-parched desert into a vast expanse of whiteness.
It was snowing in Death Valley - one of the hottest places on the planet.