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Cold, Quiet, and Deadly
The frosty snowflakes whip into her face, burning. She tries her best to ignore them, turning her attention to the Mulassier (draft horse breed) beneath her. Her metallic spurs dig into the chestnut’s sides, urging him on. His nostrils flare – he is already galloping recklessly in the snow. His breath comes out in an icy fog that is quickly whipped away by the fierce wind.
She wishes she could bundle her clothing more, but she can’t let go of the reins. Instead, she crouches deeper, like a jockey, and burrows into her Mully’s mane. She cannot see the path in the snow anymore. She decides she must trust her Mulassier – he’s gone this way enough to know the path. His hooves sliced through the snow, creating delicate prints for such a heavy beast. His tracks were quickly erased by the bitter wind – the single positive thing from the onslaught. No one could follow them.
Her Mully’s gait slowed to a canter. She could feel his sides heaving, his breath coming in ragged gasps.
The pair entered deeper snow and the Mully slowed even further. The girl lifted her head and kicked him. He responded, but more slowly this time. His forelegs plunged into the deep snow, and for a fleeting second she was engulfed in a world of white. Terror struck her heart like a lightning bolt. It thumped unstably, and then the snow bank was gone.
She was back in the night, under the bleak stars and unrelenting snow. The wind whipped her hair back, towards the drift that was already re-forming. Her Mully snorted and pranced. Her sword, still sheathed but outside her cloak, swung violently. It slapped her Mully’s rump and he calmed down.
Finally, she could see it. She had been looking for this house for two weeks now. This storm, seemingly interminable, had kept her company nearly the entire way. But here she was. The cabin.
Suddenly her mind flitted to a million possibilities. In a moment of pure joy, she leaped off her Mulassier. Her foot caught in the stirrup slightly. She kicked in mid-air, wrenching it free at the last second. The horse stood awkwardly for a moment, then raced to the cabin, standing behind the walls for protection from the cold.
The girl ran through the knee-deep snow to the door. She grasped the knob and pulled, but the door would not budge. Anger flared up in a deep primitive corner of her mind. This would not happen now, when she was so close to him. Eventually she was reduced to ramming herself against the door.
When she felt as if there was not a single ounce of energy left in her body, the door unlocked. She forced the door open against the wind, and snowflakes rained down around her. She stepped inside and shivered – it wasn’t much warmer in the cabin. The girl closed the door hastily.
She dashed forward and turned right, into the only bedroom of the cabin. It was there that she found him.
A lone doctor was shaking his head mournfully by the bed. The body of a man lay on the bed, sprawled like a young culled buck. The girl ran forward, knocking the white-coated man aside easily. She crouched at the bed, its white sheets tainted with the red of an innocent man’s blood. His chest was unmoving, his body cold…
The girl whipped around to face the doctor. Somehow, he was responsible for this. In a fit of blind rage she found the doctor on the ground, screaming. She was kneeling over him, plunging her knife into his chest again and again. The man struggled for a while, and then became silent, unmoving – as lifeless as the man who lay in the bed. The girl kept stabbing, unaware of her cloak, which was coated in blood.
Gradually, the girl’s stabs began to slow. She finally stopped and looked at the knife, contemplating it. She turned it in her hands, overcome with emotions. Finally, she gripped the knife’s hilt and turned it upon herself.