My eyes snap open. I find myself looking at a dying fire with glowing embers, a thin layer of snow around it. I’m not on the horse anymore but I still feel Chase’s warmth against mine. I feel his arms around me and his breath on my neck. A fimilar sense of gulit washes over me and I sigh. I still don’t understand why I’m guilty. Tesla sees that I’m awake and she creeps over and presses her fur against mine. She shivers a little and I try to will my warmth to her. Even with her fur she’s cold. I shift in a more comfrontable poistion and Chase stirs and mumbles something in his sleep. Then I close my eyes and fall back into a much needed sleep.
“Hey Poppy, wake up.” I groan and blink the sleep out my eyes. I find Chase’s green eyes staring at me and his mouth has a little smirk on his face. I smile a little back.
“Let me sleep? for a little longer?” I mumble. I feel even more tried then when I fell asleep. Tesla licks my face a couple times and I give another groan and sit up. My leg is feeling much better, yes it still hurts, a lot. But it’s better. Chase hands me some letf over rabbit meat that’s a little cold but still good and I survey the snow. Only a couple inches fell and it’s stopped but it’s still chilly and if any more falls then we might be in trouble. I also inspect Chase’s face and a question forms in my mind. “What about the sitches, what happenes to them?”
“Hmmm? Oh we pull them out.” He shrugs. Then starts to turn over dirt on the fire. My mouth drops open and I wait for him to say it’s a joke. He doesn’t.
“You’re kidding…” I pause, “Right?”
“No I’m not. You have to pull them out.” His smile grows a little bigger as I stare at him.
“You can do it yourself right?” I can’t even think of pulling that ugly black thread out.
“Some of it, you’ll have to help me.” He looks so calm while I want to puke. I shake myself off and Chase helpps me hobble to Champ. He whispers something into Champ’s ear and the horse kneels. Then Chase lifts me onto the white horse and gets on himself. Then the horse stands up and plods in the direction of the rebel camp. We seem so close but yet so far. I listen to the sweet silence that the snow has brought and I’m beginning to realize that the snow isn’t as bad as it seems. Just a little chilly.
“Hello you two.” I scream and turn, ignoring the pain in my leg. A man with a wicked smile sits astride a black horse, a proud look on his face. I look at Chase, fear pounding in my heart. He gives me a gentle squeeze and turns Champ towards the man.
“Welcome Captain Madden. It’s been a while.” He gives a gentle bow and the man nods his head. I just sit there, dumbfounded. How does Chase know him?
“Well then Soldier Carver, let’s get our prisoner back to the camp.” I have a crazy idea of jumping off and running into the forest but I know, that I’ll never make it. I have to follow. I feel my lip quiver and I steel my emotions. Chase looks at me and I don’t see the little smile anymore, I see an evil grin.