I wake open with a start. Something’s wrong, something’s different. I look over and find that Jethen isn’t wrapped in the blankets that he was in when I fell asleep. Where is he? I yawn drowisly and listen. Two voices. One Jethen, the other fimilar. But Jethen’s voice sounds different. It sounds serious. I suddenly recongize the other voice. Chase. I lick my lips. Why is he here? I strain to hear thier coversation.
“Just do it ok.” Chase mutters, he sounds angry.
“Ok. Fine. I’ll do it but…” Jethen trails off.
“But what?” Chase snaps rather loudly. I can’t see them, they must be somewhere in the trees. Their words echo through the trees ever so slightly.
“It just… I don’t know. They’re not bad people. I mean, I knew Koda when we were training. And Poppy may not have a sense of humor but, I don’t want to hurt them. They’re friends of a sort.”
“I’m sorry what? Friends? No. You do it or I’ll do it for you ok?” I can imagine Chase shaking his head, scowling
“OK. OK. I’ll do it.” Jethen starts to walk back to the dying fire and I slow my breathing and close my eyes. Then after a while, I fall asleep.
When I wake I find both Koda and Jethen gone. I panic. Chase’s words haunt me. “Do it or I’ll do it for you.”
“Koda!” I scream. I get up and start to walk through the snow, my feet freezing. Both horses are still here. “KODA!”
He’s gone. Where is he? If Jethen has hurt him… Just find him first Poppy, I tell myself. I follow a set of footsteps, running. Scrambling. He’s gone. He’s gone. I turn round and round. Tears stream down my face and I sob. Koda… Koda.. My Koda. Jethen, Jethen hurt him. I have to find Jethen…
“Poppy?” Jethen asks. He smirks a little. Koda’s not with him. In a second I push him to the floor and I’m choking him. “What… Are… You… Doing…?”
“Poppy. Let go.” A voice commands, a sweet voice that I know well. I release Jethen’s throat and turn around. Koda. His sweet brown eyes filled with confusion. “Just let go.”
“Oh my gosh Koda.” I run to him and hug him. He wraps his arms around me, confused. I sob into his chest. “I though he killed you. I thought you died.”
“Trust isn’t really a key word in this group is it?” Jethen sighs. Even after I almost killed him, he still makes jokes. I bite my lip, I can’t let him know I overheard him and Chase.
“Sorry.” I whisper, still clinging to Koda. We go back and pack our stuff. Then we get on our horses and start to go through the snow. Koda wraps strips on blankets on my feets as tempory shoes. I hold on to Koda and reassure myself he’s here. That’s he’s still here, with me.