It was the time of the Icing, and the snow and razor-winds blew across the lands and before and behind them came the war and the war went across the lands worse than the ice, like a plague, and there were those who took in the plague and died by it, or were wounded deeply by it, and I was one of the wounded, and at first I wished I was one of the dead.

I lay in bed hour on hour in the poorly heated hospital and watched the night come, then the day, then the night, then the day, and no time of night or day seemed lost to me, for I could not sleep, but could only cough out wads of blood-tainted phlegm and saliva that rose from my injured lungs like blobby bubbly monsters to remind me of my rendering flesh. I lay there and prayed for death, for I knew all my life had been lost to me, and that my job in the war was no longer mine, and when the war was over, if it was ever over, I would never return to civilized life to continue the same necessary job I had pursued during wartime. The job with the children. The poor children. Millions of them. Parentless, homeless, forever being pushed onward by the ice and the war. It was a horror to see them. Little, frost-bitten waifs without food or shelter or good coats and there was no food or shelter or good coats to give them. Nothing to offer them but the war and a cold, slow death.

There were more children than adults now, and the adults were about war and there were only a few like myself there to help them. One of the few that could be spared for the Army's Children Corp. And now I could help no one, not even myself.

In the bed beside me in the crumbling, bomb-shook hospital, was an old man with his arm blown off at the elbow and his face splotched with the familiar frost-bite of a front-line man. He lay turned toward me, staring, but not speaking. And in the night, I would turn, and there would be his eyes, lit up by the night-lamp or by the moonlight, and that glow of theirs would strike me and I would imagine they contained the sparks of incendiary bombs for melting ice, or the red-hot destruction of rockets and bullets.