Friday, February 11, 2011

Wintersland Take Two

I'm reaching the point in this story where I had to stop before. In a few days, I'll gallop past this point and head for the finish line. Looking forward to it.

Katie and Treyga are caught out in a snow storm. First draft, please don't quote or repost. Thanks!


Snow and wind became something that conspired to hold her back no matter how hard she struggled to move forward. Memory of the abandoned town she and Treyga had visited rose in her mind's eye. She could feel the malice in the wind that blew in their faces, nearly drowning her in snow.

The wind whistled and moaned like a live thing. The cold pierced and bit, savage and searing. It became conceivable that she and Treyga and the dogs would die out here, lost, within shouting distance of the Winterlord's Hall.

"Oh, God, somebody please help me," Katie whimpered.

And, in the midst of the snow and the wind, someone grabbed hold of her upper arm and pulled. Katie could see nothing except the snow coating her eyelashes. Katie followed, pulling in turn at the dogs. The tug at her arm persisted for several long moments, until she stumbled onto a set of steps that led upwards into white nothingness.

With a cry of relief that was immediately snatched from her lips, Katie wiped the snow from her face and eyes. When she could see again, she saw a young boy, unmoved by the storm. His eyes were the pale blue of frozen water. As she watched, two tears coursed down his cheeks. The boy stretched out a hand and touched Katie's parka just above her heart. A fragrant odor wafted to her nostrils. Startled, Katie realized his hand touched the sprig of holly in her inner pocket. Without words, Katie somehow knew that she had been given something that would save the life of the little girl that lay near death in the Hall behind her. The boy nodded and faded away.

Katie turned to see Treyga and the dogs nearby. Treyga said something, but the wind snatched her words.

"Steps!" Katie screamed at Treyga.

Treyga nodded her head. She reached down and unharnessed the dogs, moving slowly and stiffly. The dogs stood, heads down, tails tucked, waiting on her signal. She waved them upward, and they sprang up the steps, quickly out of sight.

Moving against a wind that tried to push them off the steps, Katie and Treyga struggled up to the top of the steps, where the dogs waited, and searched for the doors with fumbling, frozen fingers. Eons later, Treyga found a latch and the doors fell inward, dumping them on the floor. The dogs crowded in around them, shaking snow from their fur in a fine spray.

People surrounded them at once. A couple of them forced the doors shut against the wind, and the howl immediately reduced to a low rumble.

"Did we make it?" Treyga asked, confused and exhausted-sounding.

"We made it," Katie said in a hoarse voice.