Ana Stark woke in a cold sweat at half-past six in the morning. Her dream, something to do with spiders and maybe school, was already melting away and she made no effort to call it back. She did not think it had been a nightmare. She was cold because it was forty degrees at the most and she didn’t have the heat on. The sweat was because it had been almost eighty degrees when she’d gone to bed and, trapped beneath the blankets, it had never dried. Here, in the small town of Oxtongue, just outside sunny Death Valley National Park, winter weather was prone to be schizophrenic and waking in a cold sweat was nothing new.
Ana got up and shambled out to the kitchen in the very adult morning attire of underwear and a t-shirt purporting to be from the Mordor Charity Walkathon (One does not run, the shirt advised), only to discover the pump in the coffee maker had broken. A dilemma: she could either take the time to fix it or take a shower. She fixed the coffee maker, only to discover she was out of coffee. It was going to be another great day in the life of Ana Stark.