Snow. Nothing but snow fell as Coraline trudged through the heavy snows of that February snowstorm. She was wearing a heavy coat, two scarves, and an overlarge winter hat, along with large black boots and snow pants. At least February vacation was coming up. The sun had set about 20 minutes earlier and it had gotten dark. It was taking her ages to walk back to the Pink Palace apartments.
Walking up the street from a small store was exhausting work. Coraline wanted to lie down, but she couldn't. It was too cold. She had in one mitten a ticket that she bought with her own money, that her father helped her buy. Charlie was at the garden supply store right now, and after Coraline bought her ticket, he told her to walk home. Then the storm blew up when she was halfway there. The snow blew into her face when she turned the corner, icy shards touching her skin and blinding her.
Finally, she spotted the lights of the Pink Palace ahead. She walked up the porch and burst through the front door.
"Mom, mom, look what I've got!" she called.
Mel came from the kitchen.
"Coraline, look at yourself! You're dripping water all over my carpet. Get that wet jacket off."
"Yes, but Mom, look!"
"Jacket," Mel said firmly.
Coraline sighed and took off the winter jacket.
"Oh, and your clothes are wet too, great. Just go and take a shower."
"Looooook," she moaned.
"Fine, what is it?" Mel asked in an uninterested tone.
"It's a ticket! Look! If we win, we can go on a cruise!"
"Coraline, you know no one wins those things. And how'd you get it anyway?"
"Dad got it. But I paid for it! And besides, someone has to win, right?"
"Okay, Coraline, whatever you say. Now go and wash up."
After Coraline had washed up, they ate dinner, without Charlie, who hadn't returned from the flower shop. Mel had called him and he said that he was going to eat at a local place, then finish his shopping, then he would call so that Coraline and Mel could come and get him. Mel had made this supper, so it was actually very good.
After an hour, Charlie had not called saying to pick him up. Mel told Coraline she was going to get him. Coraline didn't care. So Mel left, looking for Charlie.
Driving through the snow was difficult, yet dream-like. Only the vague outlines of the buildings around her were visible, and the only thing she could see were white flakes in her headlights. The car was silent. She tried the radio, but only static came out of it. The storm was interfering with the radio.
The car made whining noises as she sped up and slowed down. The only sound were the occasional engine whine and the windshield wipers groaning across the window. Suddenly, thunder sounded in the distance. A few seconds later a flash of lightning illuminated the sky, followed by a second thunder clap.
She pulled up to the Gaarden Maart store. She walked into the fluorescently lit store. Inside there was a hot wind and a vague concrete smell. She found Charlie among the topsoil, clearly squinting to read the tiny label. "Charlie!"
Charlie jumped and hit his head on the rack. "Oh, hello Mel," he said quickly and quietly.
"Where's that call you were supposed to give me? And why are you even in soil? You were supposed to get some new shovels because the other ones rusted. What would you do with soil in February?" Mel demanded.
"Well, actually dear, you know those tomatoes we had at the greenhouse?"
"Charlie, you didn't."
"Er, unfortunately I did, and they didn't react well to the soil change, so I'm going to put them back on regular."
"I told you not to do that! I said-"
Mel's phone rang.
"Mom, mom! WE WON! We're going on a CRUISE!" her daughter shouted over the phone.
"Really?" Mel said suspiciously.
"Charlie, I believe we are in for a nice vacation."
Charlie, who was standing in a rather dejected posture, now stood straight up and said, "Then we ought to get packing."
Mel smiled and said, "Okay, let's buy your stuff and drive home."