This is a short story that I probably read about five years ago, certainly within the 21st century, as part of a collection. I think the setting was somewhere in the UK. Earth had frozen over, although I don't remember exactly why. It wasn't at the level of the air freezing à la "A Pail of Air", but just far below zero. The protagonist is male, at least college aged, and has a male roommate of a similar age.

He sends his roommate out for supplies and, when the roommate hasn't returned, goes out to find him. He finds his roommate dead, I think non-violently but just succumbing to the cold, with the body already looted. Lacking money for further supplies, he decides to just start walking. He happens across a building where there's a woman dancing in exercise gear. She's severely frost-bitten, I think visibly missing fingers and toes, but is dancing frantically nonetheless. I want to say the protagonist described her as being in her 30s and not very attractive even not accounting for the missing digits. But, with nothing else left in his life, he joins her dancing and the story ends.

Part of me wants to say that this might be by T.C. Boyle, but I've had no luck finding a matching story by the author.

1 Answer 1


Could this be Christmas Forever by Christopher Fowler?

Earth has frozen over:

What happens when global warming causes the shut down of the five natural pumps which drive the ocean currents? A chilly new story by Christopher Fowler.

The main character has a friend who goes out for supplies and dies.

Crystals of ice had formed over the corpse's eyes like luxuriant cataracts. Kallie cracked open its jacket and felt around for his wallet, but found nothing. Bennett had either dropped it in his drunken stupor, or had been robbed.

Near the end of the story, he meets a dancing woman with severe frostbite.

The dancer was a short, slim woman in her late forties. Her body retained the litheness and aggression of a professional performer. She swung and slammed and span, kicking out, punching the chill air with a series of guttural grunts.

  • 1
    You're on a roll today.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 18:45
  • 1
    I read "Personal Demons" several years ago, and that's in there.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 18:54

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