They played a game, breath frosting on the path ahead as they walked, the ground beneath their feet crisping, creaking, crunching. A huff of air as Imogen exhaled.
‘A name for this,’ she said.
And he looked at the air as it mushroomed around her face, saw only the blue-iced glint of her eyes, and said, ‘hoarshimmer.’
‘Nice,’ she said and breathed out again, a long slow wisp of air. ‘And this?’
‘Cumulospiration,’ he said, and watched as she stretched out her hand and tried to grasp it. A small sigh as it vanished.
‘Gone,’ she said. And he shared her disappointment.
On a patch of grass, he shimmied his feet back and forth, the brittle blades cracking underfoot.
‘Your turn,’ he said. She stopped to listen, holding her breath as the frost scrunched its way towards her.
‘Crystalophonic,’ she said, then shook her head. ‘No, wait. Verdurglaciation. Or …’
A sigh again. ‘I never was very good at this.’
‘Come here,’ he said. She walked towards his open arms, fell into them, weightless, breathed out again. The grass underfoot, shattering, tinkling, glistening. Air surrounding them, appearing, disappearing.
‘Ghosts,’ she said.
And he felt the cold brush of her breath on his cheek. But said nothing.