Snow Was Falling pt 1

Kylie Rae
5 min readMar 14, 2023

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It was so terribly cold. Snow was falling, and it was almost dark. We still had miles to go before we’d reach the safe house. I wasn’t sure how much longer I could go. My feet ached and the tip of my nose was numb, even under the layers of cloth covering my face. But Damon didn’t let up on the pace, and the five of us kept trekking up the hill.

I looked over my shoulder and immediately wished I hadn’t. The incline we’d been climbing hadn’t seemed so dramatic, but the steep fall behind me turned my legs to jelly and I reached out for the nearest tree to steady myself.

“Mandy? You okay?” Steph slowed and looked back at me. She adjusted the straps of her backpack and took a few tentative steps back down the hill to take my hand.

“Yeah… Little vertigo, that’s all.” I took a deep breath and reminded myself not to look back again before grabbing her hand to follow her up the hill.

“I think we’re almost there.” Steph let go of me the moment she saw I had my balance again.

Up ahead, Damon slowed and knelt behind a rock. He waved us over with a finger pressed to his face where his mouth would be.

“Okay,” he said once we were in a small circle around him. “We have about fifteen feet of open field to cross, and then down the other side of the hill for about five more minutes and we’ll reach the safe house. But we have to hurry across the field so no one spots us. We’ll go one at a time. Stay low. Steph, you go first.”

Steph reeled back, but nodded. She didn’t look my way. But I hadn’t expected her to. Helping me up the hill had been the first time she’d spoken to me in days.

“Why can’t we go around the field?” Max asked. Sweat dripped down his forehead despite the frigid cold.

“The path around is much too dangerous. Only extremely practiced hikers and climbers can get around that way.” Damon looked Max up and down. “No offense, but I don’t think you’re up for it.”

Steph crept forward and peeked around the rock. “So, just straight across?” Her voice shook a little.

I would have asked why she had to go first. But she was fast, I wasn’t worried about her getting across. Max on the other hand…

“Yes.” Damon pointed. “See that tree with no branches around the bottom. Aim for that. Once you’re behind it, you’ll be out of sight from any towers and can sit and wait for the rest of us.”

Steph nodded and took a deep breath before she crawled further out.

“Keep low,” Damon said and patted her shoulder.

Steph only waited another second before she took off across the field. She kept her upper body doubled over and one hand over the side of her face. Our earth colored clothes and packs would help us blend in to the trees on the edge of the field, but her dark face and hair would stick out against the snow if she wasn’t careful.

She reached the edge of the trees and I let out a breath of relief. I hadn’t realized I was so scared for her to get across. But then Damon was waving Lillian forward. Max gave her a hug before she edged towards the rock.

Lillian moved slower than Steph and wasn’t as graceful at keeping herself low to the ground, but she also made it across without any issues.

“Okay, Mandy, you’re up.”

I inched towards the rock and looked out to the open field. I saw the tree he’d pointed out for Steph and took a deep breath. I couldn’t see Steph or Lillian, but I knew that was the point.

“It’s going to be okay. Just stay low.” Damon patted my shoulder and I nodded.

Then I dashed out and hurried across the field as fast as my legs could carry me. I didn’t dare look at anything besides the tree I was aiming for. Steph’s face peeked out from behind a tree further back and I read the anxiety in her eyes as she watched me. And then I was in the trees and I collapsed to the ground in relief.

Steph grabbed my arm and pulled me further into the trees and we sat down to wait for Max and Damon.

I thought this would be the time for us to have a talk. Lillian was further away, drinking from her flask and nibbling on the jerky she’d had in her pack. I wanted to make sure Steph and I would still be friends when this was all over. But before I had a chance to think of what words to say, a gunshot echoed through the cleaning and we all froze.

“Oh my god!” Steph looked around the tree and covered her face with her hands. “They shot Max.”

I looked too, even though it was the last thing I wanted to, and I saw Max twitching on the ground. He’d made it halfway across the field. Blood stained the snow around him, pouring from a wound in his neck.

“What do we do now?” Lillian asked.

Damon was still by the rock, I saw him moving. But he wasn’t coming across the field, he was moving away from us.

“Shit.” I pulled my scarves down to rub my face. “Okay, he’s probably going around the hard way. But we need to move away from here in case they send out a guard to check Max’s body.”

Steph raised an eyebrow at me. “When did you become a leader?”

I shrugged off her comment, not wanting to hope it had been a compliment. “Damon said the safe house is a little further into the trees. So, we’ll walk a little ways down the hill and find somewhere to hide and wait for him.”

Lillian nodded, glad to have someone telling her what to do. Steph didn’t answer, but I could tell from the crinkle around her eyes that she was smiling at me.

“Okay, let’s go.”

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Kylie Rae

Independant author | Book lover | Whiskey Drinker | Mother of two crazy boys | www.kylieraewriter.com