Rough draft--please don't quote or repost. Thanks!
The road stretched out before him, lined by fence posts that stuck out of the snow like sentries standing at attention as he passed. He had encountered no other vehicles in the five miles he’d already come. Adam realized that the term “country road” used by the patrolman hardly described the isolation.
A mile or so further on, he passed a farmhouse, set well back from the road, and the tracks he had been following turned in at the driveway. Lights gleamed from the windows, penetrating the snow-engendered gloom, and a string of glowing Christmas lights hanging from the eaves gave Adam a wistful feeling. He’d lay odds that Christmas was going on inside that house. A real Christmas. He hadn’t seen what he considered a real Christmas in a long time. Of course, Tiffany would have been glad to spend Christmas with him. As a matter of fact, she would have been insistent on it, he thought wryly. He felt fairly confident that high-fashioned, high-powered Tiffany wouldn’t know what a real Christmas was if it bit her. Not a home-cooked meal surrounded by family. Adam thought Christmas to her would probably mean some party with friends where she could show off her latest outfit and give and receive expensive gifts.
Movement caught the corner of his eye. Instinctively, Adam slammed on his brakes. He caught a flashing glimpse of brown fur and antlers before his Mustang slid off the road and hit an embankment. The deer he had almost hit scrambled up the opposite embankment and jumped the fence, disappearing into the driving snow. He sat for a moment, stunned. What was a deer doing out in the middle of a snowstorm? Didn’t they hole up somewhere during the day?
The Mustang’s engine still ran. He pressed on the accelerator, and the back wheels spun in the snow. He moved a couple of feet along the ditch, but the car could find no purchase to pull itself out. Muttering under his breath, Adam opened the car door and stepped out into the snow. The wind immediately took his breath, and the snow, far deeper than his shoes, clutched at his unprotected ankles with icy fingers. The wind found every gap in his clothing, piercing like little knives. He waded the snow, moving around the car, looking for some way to get it out of the ditch. A quick check in the trunk revealed exactly zero help. He registered a resolve never to leave home again without sand or cat litter, and definitely packing overshoes when the forecast called for snow.
Adam slammed the trunk lid and slid back into the car. He fumbled for his cell phone, fingers shaking with the cold, and dialed information. Nothing but silence met his ear. He brought the phone away from his ear and looked at the screen. The words “no service” caused him to stare in disbelief.
“Really?” he said to the universe at large.