Don't get me wrong. It gets cold in the Wastelands. There's only a handful of trees and some cracked concrete bunkers here and there to hold enough of that searing heat in when the sun goes down. I've got enough fur to make it by curling up in a crack with my fangs chattering like crazy.
But this is something else. The Crater is filling up with huge flakes of snow wadding up into blankets on the ground. I'm not hopping over sharp gravel anymore but my paws are digging into biting snow to keep from slipping into whatever hazards are still out here. I swear it's colder than Dad's freezer, and getting dark and colder still. We're going to die out here unless...
There. something glowing. Yes, I can make out the circle under the snow. It's Ash's power circle...thing. I have to dive my arm in, almost crushing my face against the snow. My fingers getting so numb I can't tell if they're still connected. Should I even be OW!
It's an electrical jolt jumping from my fingers up my arm and rattling my spine. I feel the hair on my neck standing straight up as I pull back, covering my eyes from this all this blinding green!
Wait...I'm feeling warm. I can still see the snow dumping down but none of it's landing on me. I look down and the snow's melting away. No, not melting. Evaporating. The ground's dry already!
We've practiced this for the sandstorms.
"SHELLLLTERRRRR!!!" I shout over and over while I hold the ring up high.
The kids pour in from all directions, crowding around me and still shivering. Most of them have frostbite. Hopefully not the kind you don't recover from.
I call a sound off. Everybody accounted for except Blue and Sprog. And Ryan.
"Did anybody catch that brain thing?" Silence. "Alright, we gotta find the others. Anybody know which way...?"
I felt the ring tugging hard.
"Okay! Moving huddle! THIS WAY!"
I don't know how the girls are gonna hang on or we even should be saving Ryan. But we don't leave our buddies behind.
"Is you gonna say some rhymin' words and make glowy stuff, Chief?" one of the kids asked me as he PULLED ON MY GODDAMN TAIL to follow me up an icy slope.
"What, me? No. I'm no hero. Just a survivor like the rest of us." I looked back and squinted at him. The ring was stuck to my hand so I shook my finger at him with the other. "And if you pull on my tail again I'll..."
"Chief? You're floatin'!"
And damned if I wasn't.
Back in the swing
10 months ago