Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Promise of Snow, part 9

She knew you should not wander into the jungle, late at night, by yourself, but her anger and guilt drove her. If she could have run away from herself, she would not have felt the need to run through the dark. But she could not avoid herself, or the thoughts that continued to heap themselves like a physical weight upon her shoulders.

All the things she had avoided thinking about. When Tomas had told her about the man and woman from his land who had disappeared, and when he'd gotten Matias to tell them more stories of disappearances at longest night--a thought had flickered through her. Why had her pack never met any of those who went through the gate? What had happened to them? She hadn't wanted to think of it then, too full of the excitement that Tomas would come with her. But now she thought, and the thoughts felt correct in her mind, the way she'd always instinctively understood the nature of the gate.

The gate would take someone from this world back to the lake on longest night, the coldest and most dangerous night of the year. She knew from experience how to treat such a night, how to protect herself. Even with a transformation, with fur and claws instead of skin and nails, could anyone from Tomas's world of burning sunlight possibly know what to do in burning cold? Worse yet, when she came through the gate, she came through into water. What if they had done the same, coming back perhaps even under the ice? They both would have died, trapped as the water leeched the life from them.

She had nearly killed them both, all because she hated this heat, was not willing to consider the idea of living with it for the rest of her days.

But she considered it now. There was no other choice.

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