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She awoke to the smell of smoke, coughing.
It was so bad that she turned on her side and continued to cough, trying to expel the smoke from her lungs. There was no heat associated with the smoke; her mind immediately supplied that it was the haze. In an odd sort of mind loop, she found herself surprised that she could make such an association, then she realised she had just wanted something to take her mind off the efforts of her body to cough her lungs out.
“Misha?” her partner spoke, awakened by her coughs.
“I’m… ok,” she choked between coughs, then gave up and got out of the bed.
She stumbled somewhat towards the kitchen and poured herself a cup of water. It soothed her throat somewhat, but she still felt like coughing her lungs out. She heard her partner come out of the room, but did not turn. Warm arms enveloped her shoulders, drawing her close.
“Nightmare?” a soft, loving voice near her ear. She shook her head and leant back, grateful for both the warmth and company. Her mind asked her again, what had she done to deserve such an understanding partner?
“No, just this bloody haze,” she finally looked up towards the window.
The city in the valley was covered in a soft grey blanket, like a thick fog. The only difference was that fog was usually cold, not hot. And she felt very warm now.
Though not warm enough to leave her partner’s embrace.
“No running today,” her partner whispered, looking out towards the city.
“Assuming we get water today,” she sighed.
They stood like that for a long time, watching the sun rise over a haze-covered city.