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I had no idea it was supposed to be this cold out tonight—I didn’t have anything warm on at all. It was a mercy that there was no wind, at least.

Only a few steps from the door my whole body was numb and stiff with cold.

There was no way I’d make it home like this. I made it as far as the corner… I had a kind of idea it’d be easier to catch a taxi.

I didn’t get as far as trying to flag one down, though, before I was overcome with a massive coughing fit.

It didn’t start out that bad—just a tickle at the throat—but very quickly it got to the point where I felt I was going to be sick just from the force of it.

And then it felt like I was retching for real, and then I coughed up—a spray of confetti, glittering in the night air.

What the hell?