April and May were twin thirteen year-old girls who lived on a remote data farm on the coldest quadrant of the planet Inshi. Their father was a technician who moved the family to pursue research only possible in the constant cold the planet afforded. The only way to or from the farm was to take the airlift, and workers and family members were strictly forbidden from venturing beyond the therm-wall.
One day, the twins saw a boy they did not recognize lurking in the shadows of an alley. Perhaps he came in on the last airlift, they thought.
The boy saw them and ran. The twins turned to each other, puzzled. There was something strange about him. The girls were thrilled that something interesting might happen, so they sprinted down the alley and caught a glimpse of the boy as he turned a corner and disappeared. When they rounded the corner, they were both hit with snowballs. They shrieked as the snow melted in the temperature controlled air and soaked their hair and jackets. The boy doubled over with laughter.
"Where did you get those snowballs?" the twins marveled.
"I'll show you" he said.
He pushed a pile of boxes away from the wall to reveal a grate, which he opened. He squeezed into a hole in the wall just large enough to crawl through. The twins followed, and soon the trio found themselves outside the data farm and in the pristine cold of the snow fields. The twins squealed with excitement that they were finally beyond the wall they despised so much. They followed the boy further into the fields as they slid down hills and tossed snowballs at one another. They did not notice as the snow slowly shifted around them.
The boy disappeared behind a large snow hill. The twins realized they had been gone a long time, and they were hungry. They called to the boy to come out from behind the hill. They wanted to return home. He did not reappear.
A strong wind began to whip up loose snow and made it difficult for the girls to see. April and May stumbled around looking for the boy. They called out to him again and again, but it was no use. The girls were cold, exhausted, and afraid. They could see shapes shifting in the distance. The snow moved as if it was alive. Mounds quickly rose and fell. Some hills formed into threatening shapes, while the powder they trudged through nearly swallowed them up.
April thought she saw the data farm in the distance. She used the last of her strength to push through the powder towards the lights.
Just keep going, she thought, we can make it!
When she looked back her sister was gone. April cried out to May, but all she could hear was the sound of screeching wind. She crawled through the snow desperately searching for any sign of May. Exhausted and overcome with despair, she collapsed in a heap.
The twins were never reunited, and both were soon enveloped by the snow. The wind died out and the snow fields were clear and silent once more.