“Tomorrow Will Be Warmer”
It was so cold. The icy air bit her face, brought tears to her eyes. They were going to die out here if they didn’t find shelter soon.
Better to die free than stay there, she heard Blair’s words in her mind, although his lips didn’t move. She wasn’t sure she could agree. They had been warm and fed, perhaps not safe, but not threatened by woid creatures like the bears and wolves that lived in these woods. She bit her lip and kept trudging down the path, determined not to slow their small group. They had been running for three days now, but Jamis assured them that the guards were no longer searching, had decided they weren’t worth the trouble. New slaves could be acquired and their gifts had been useless in the city anyway. The tightly packed buildings, the dark rooms and persistent beatings had drained them, left them barely functional. He was right, she knew, they would have all died there, kept locked up until their spirits were lost. The escape had been necessary, killing the sentries inevitable.
She heard Yalen, their leader, call out. There was a cabin ahead, empty. They could rest, warm up.
It was tiny, only one room, but dry and the moss-covered walls were solid, keeping out the freezing wind. She took a deep breath and relaxed her shoulders. Yalen found a few logs in the hearth, with some dry kindling. He held out his hand, palm up and blew gently. A small flame hovered and he tossed it gently into the fireplace where it immediately caught, warming the small space. She sighed. Yalen’s fire was back, perhaps not at full strength, but just being outdoors, breathing fresh air, walking through the maze of trees was rejuvenating the men. Why didn’t she feel better? Why were they stronger than they’d been in weeks, thinking straight, making plans to find their tribe, while she was still exhausted?
A few minutes later, Jamis headed back out into the winter with his bow and arrow, promising to bring back something to eat. He was the second-best hunter, but she just wasn’t up to it, not today. Blair took his fiddle from his satchel and began playing a soft, lilting melody. After a few moments, Yalen joined, singing the lyrics in a rich tenor as she drifted off to sleep, hoping tomorrow would be warmer.
Dottie at Tink’s Place, with the help of Carole Rae from Carole Rae’s Random Ramblings, is our wonderful host of the Monday Morning Flash Fiction challenge. Each Monday a new picture prompt will be posted and if you choose to participate you post your story on Friday – 350 words, give or take.
You can find today’s picture at Eflwood.com: Hold True by Adele Lorienne.