Frost

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The forest became a desolate place this time of year. Flowers and shrubs died from the cold, and the leaves on trees fell to the ground. Lacking protection and food, the smaller birds migrate to find new homes. The falcons and other birds of prey, now also lacking a food source, migrate in hopes of catching up with the smaller birds. The rodents that perpetually inhabit the tree trunks or holes in the ground go into hibernation. The result of all this was a forest that was seemingly devoid of any life for five months.

Despite the depressing atmosphere, Seph trudged on, allowing his terror to power him. He ignored the footprints his boots were leaving in the crisp snow. He ignored his hurting ears, numb toes, and the purplish tips of his fingers. It wasn’t long, though, before he began to feel weak, and his best efforts to keep his eyes open weren’t quite enough. He glanced up at the sky, and wondered how the sun could be so bright, and yet he could feel so cold.

He continued walking, although now he was moving no more than a few inches with each step. There were several points when he felt like just giving up and lying down in the snow. He had heard what it was like to die from exposure: that you actually felt nice and warm, that it was like drifting off to sleep, except you never woke up. But whenever he thought about giving up, he thought about what would happen if he were captured: sleep deprivation, starvation, torturing, and burning. He was now a traitor to the Supremacy with valuable information – he would be sought after tirelessly. If only he could make it to Bosley…

As a breeze moved through the dead branches of a nearby tree, he thought he could smell smoke; a good sign, for it meant that an obscure village was nearby. It would make the perfect hiding place for a day or two.

As he was considering what he would say to the villagers as to why he was out in the wilderness, he felt his neck prickle, and a moment later, he was suddenly knocked to the ground, burying his face into the ground. He struggled to get up to his knees, which was difficult with a mostly numb body, but as soon as he was halfway up, the same, mysterious force threw him back down, but this time, a large boot stepped on his back, pinning him to the ground.

“I’ve been searching for you for a long time,” said a deep, hollow voice.

Seph heard a metallic noise. A moment later, he felt a cold dagger at his throat.





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