Well, holiday celebrations at our house went very well. The kids got presents they like, as did my husband and I. We all ate too much, except my nine-year-old who's grown an inch in the past three months and needed a midnight lunch to be able to sleep. And Hans Gruber fell off Nakatomi Tower, which means it was officially Christmas at our house.
Yes, at our house it is a Christmas movie. It takes place during an office Christmas party, and has Christmas carols as the majority of the sound track. (Granted, the carols are slowed and the keys changed so they're suspenseful, but I'm an action flick nerd who kinda loves Die Hard has that as their sound track.)
I can't even imagine how many New Year celebrations I'd be shocked to have happen after two months of squishy time. One week throws my schedule into havoc! Lol. This year my husband is working for a few days between holiday events, however, so I'll have his schedule to anchor my days to. I hope you're staying safe and well this weekend!
17. Friends and Enemies
Justin snapped to a stop, his left shoulder jerking painfully as it took the brunt of ending his momentum when his hand gripped the bar. The center of his chest slammed into the angle where the top of the cage dropped to the side, his right leg hanging over nothing, and right hand closing on nothing. Justin closed his eyes against witnessing the crushing failure he’d just committed and waited for the screaming to start.
Cheering rose up from below him a moment later and he felt vibrations throughout the cage under him; a roaring of sound that was nearly like applause as hundreds of hands slammed and slapped the bars. He forced his eyes open and looked over the edge to see Tam dangling from... a shadow? She looked around, gasping, and then reached up to lock her hands around the elbow of the black-skinned man holding the shoulder of her coat in his fist. Justin sagged in relief as more hands reached out to hold Tam, but his plan to remain reaching over the side so they could raise her high enough for him to pull her up to the top of the cage was interrupted by multiple impacts of guards landing nearby him.
Justin rose to his knees slowly as the four guards who’d jumped down levelled their swords at him. They stomped on the hands that tried to trip them without even looking down, as if they were practiced at it. A steady pressure dug into the side of his calf. He reached back slowly, keeping view of each guard as they advanced on him, and wrapped his hand around what was being offered. The weight was too heavy to be a blade, and the hexagonal shape was bare metal.
“That’s my son holding the girl,” a deep voice said from right under Justin, the tone cutting through the cheering and jeering. “I’m giving you this so you’ll take him with you.”
“What?” a younger version of the voice barked the question. “Pop, no!”
Justin glanced down. The man talking to him was head and shoulders taller than everyone else in the cage, except his son who was nearly as tall, his skin weathered and just as dark as his son’s. The fist holding the other end of the crow bar was too thick to pass between the grid of the bars. In a glimpse, Justin saw his own father in much too similar a situation.
“Agreed,” Justin answered, and the big man released his hold on the bar.
Justin surged to his feet, bringing the crowbar up through the grid as he did. The heavy steel hummed as he spun with it, gaining the needed speed with the long bar so that it wouldn’t matter if the hits were blocked or not. He started to step sideways as he was facing the rock wall, turning it into a forward lunge as he faced two of the guards and extended his reach. Too far! He ignored the scream of muscles in his left shoulder and focused on holding tighter to the crowbar with his right hand. The weight of the steel took most of the impact and both guards were knocked sideways to tumble away into the pit.
Justin pulled the crowbar closer to his body, stopping the spin by slamming his good shoulder into the rock wall. It left him facing the next two guards. He didn’t bother trying to fight fancy, the bulk of the tool wasn’t suited for fencing, so instead he fought to win as quickly as possible. Three movements later, aided by hands grabbing and slowing the guards’ feet, both guards were screaming their descent into the mine.
Justin looked up to see if there were going to be more guards dropping down, but the ones watching him were backing away from the edge. He could also still hear the exchange Tor was having with however many other scouts were up there. Justin set the crowbar on top of the cage and dropped to one knee. The big man who’d given him the tool clasped his offered right hand firmly when Justin reached through the grid.
“I’ll get you out,” Justin promised. The big man smiled sadly and took a limping step forward so he wasn’t reaching uncomfortably far.
“I’m too slow since I broke my leg some months ago,” he stated. “Take my son. Let out everyone, but be certain you take my son.”
“No,” Justin growled out the reply between gritted teeth. “I’m not leaving you here to –”
“Yes,” the big man interrupted. “You are,”
Justin shook his head to the negative and his arm was pulled effortlessly and suddenly up to his elbow into the cage. The steel bars dug painfully into his elbow and knees. The angry continuation died in the father’s throat and his sad smile came back as he studied Justin’s face.
“This is what dads do,” the big man said quietly. He reached up and clasped Justin’s forearm. “Looks like you already know that, son.”
Justin fought the memories and emotions threatening to overwhelm him and choked on the frustrated yell, swallowing it before he could utter a sound. The big man nodded once, approval glowing on his features, and then released Justin’s arm. As with his own father, Justin didn’t look back once he turned away.
He studied the cage as he stood, seeking the weak points and loose joints, the places that from inside were only hopes, but from out here – with a heavy crow bar – were opportunities. Once he found the places he was looking for, it was a matter of brute force applied in the right ways. Rivets and welds sprang apart to either bludgeoning or prying, as was required, and soon a section of the cage wall and top was being pried and shoved back, the adjoining grids bent over and away by the people inside who were determined to kick their way out.
Guards started dropping down as imprisoned slaves started climbing out. People in the lower cages screamed for their own freedom as escapees mauled and overpowered guards, hidden tools and weapons appearing in their hands now that they had cause to use them. Many slaves climbed down to the lower level and started freeing their friends and loved ones. Justin stood out of the way, catching his breath, and let the evacuation proceed without his input. A few criminals surrounded him.
“He looks tired,” someone with an Islander accent stated.
“That bar’s likely too heavy,” another Islander answered, his tone mocking pity.
“I think we should have it so he can rest,” a familiar voice that Justin knew originated in Tenet Mik added.
“Try it, Cobb,” Justin invited him. “I’d very much like to see you, Archie, try it.”
Archie Cobb had sailed with Montrade, the company that Justin’s family owned, up until a year ago when he’d staged a mutiny. Half the crew had been killed when Cobb stole the ship and cargo. He hadn’t been smart enough to take a fast ship, though, or one that was well armed. Justin and his uncle had chased him down with the Gem. Cobb had not expected Justin’s alter ego to be such a distant relation to the fashionable fop he thought he’d stolen the ship from.
“How’s he know your name, Archie?” a fourth voice asked, completing the small gang standing around him.
Justin lifted his head and stared hard at the man he’d personally thrown overboard just off the Opat shoreline. Cobb ramped up from cocky to blind rage in the span of a heartbeat, recognition jolting through his entire body, but stood rooted to the spot as the instinctive part of his mind wrestled the anger down using arguments of self-preservation.
16. Running Late
The commander chuckled at the newlywed scenario Justin and Tam presented to him. He insisted they keep the supplies and clothing as gifts while Justin argued over the needed amount of chips he wanted to return payment of once they’d reached Tam’s imaginary family. Almost as an afterthought, and with Justin and Tam both animatedly refusing, the commander pushed a sword and knife each into their hands, cautioning them against bandits in the area.
“This is too much, on top of everything you’ve already given us,” Justin said, trying to hand the weapons back.
“I wouldn’t sleep well knowing that I’d sent you out unable to protect yourselves,” the commander said, preening at his own graciousness. Justin smiled at the new weapons and the commander as if unable to believe his good fortune, while privately hoping the Fengus twit knew the difference between the good steel and the decoys.
“These weapons, you have to allow me to send payment for them,” Justin argued further, holding up the ruse as he clipped the knife to his belt.
“Not required, not required,” the commander announced, beaming at them and waving his hands as though batting at a moth. Tam snapped her weapons to her belt and smiled at the man, blinking as if she was holding back tears, and then hugged him.
“Thank you so much,” she whispered, so genuine that even Justin almost believed her.
“Of course, of course,” the commander said as he patted her back. “I’m always ready to help those in need,” he added when she stepped back and brushed a real tear off her cheek with the back of her hand. Justin smiled down at her as he clicked his new sword to his belt and then wrapped his left arm around her, reaching to clasp hands with the commander as she hugged his waist.
“We owe you our lives,” Justin stated, holding the commander’s hand firmly. “I can’t thank you enough.” The gearblocked commander praised himself and his own generosity as they stepped outside, warm and dry, to start on their way again.
The nearest guards complained about the wind picking up for what looked like another storm as Justin and Tam stopped to wave and call more thanks at the foot of the bridge, hiding the exhaustion of even the small exertion of walking this far when they beamed smiles at the commander. He waved back, and then they turned and crossed over to the side where Justin could feel Tor waiting.
They stuck to the road ringing the top edge of the pit, Tor pacing them through the trees from a distance. Justin made sure to thank every guard they passed, and only glanced into the mine as much as typical curiosity would allow when a couple of guards muttered about the bad weather halting work and then yesterday tromping through the woods to bring people back after a few slaves escaped into the storm which had just passed.
The door to the next outpost burst open just after they walked by and Justin didn’t even have time to look why when Tor’s thought for them to run blasted through his mind. They staggered four steps on legs which were aching and cramped from shivering for so long before the silent command switched in frustration to fight. Justin unsheathed his new sword as he spun around to face whatever was coming, hoping the blade was good steel, and barely ducked under the swing of the scout who was attacking him as the sword in his hand snapped off cleanly where the scout’s sword struck it. Tam stabbed over his head and surprised the woman in the black uniform by burying a badly made sword in her chest and pulling Justin clear of the back swing that broke the hilt off the decoy weapon Tam had been given.
Justin lunged forward and grabbed the scout’s wrist as she stumbled to her knees. He ducked around her arm and twisted her hand, forcing her to drop the sword into his waiting palm. He stabbed her again to be certain she was dead before turning his back on her to face the little outpost building. Two sets of long planks with boot caps in the middles and curves at the top ends were leaning against the nearest wall. “Scouts use skis” Tor had said, and these looked exactly like what he’d described.
The second scout hesitated in the door, clearly not wanting to make the same mistake of rushing into the fight that her partner had just made. Then she simply stepped out of the way for six mine guards to rush out of the cabin past her.
Tam pulled on Justin’s pack to lead him into a position closer to the trees, and then abruptly changed direction as swords clanged in quick succession where Tor was. Guards poured out of the next outpost and pounded over the bridge as the first six started their attack. Justin fought as well as he could with the unfamiliar curved blade, and was rewarded with a lucky stroke that took off a guard’s hand and gave him a straight blade he was familiar with. He quickly procured a sword for Tam the same way.
Yells and cheering from behind him – in the direction of the pit – created a confusing mix of hollering until Justin realized that the slaves in the top cage below could see the guards running and hear the fighting. Tam killed the last of the first six and then turned so she was back to back with Justin, each of them facing the next force that was arriving from both directions. They dropped their packs as the scout in the nearest outpost rested her hands into her pants pockets and leaned her shoulder on the door frame to watch the next wave of guards arrive, waiting casually to see how events would unfold.
Justin wasn’t sure if he admired or loathed her for acting exactly as he would have had their places been reversed.
The cheering below grew louder as he and Tam were forced closer to the edge of the pit and the slaves in the cage below could see some of the fighting. Justin marked the distance to the edge of the road in his mind’s eye and tried to push the fighting closer to the trees… which worked as well as pushing water uphill with his hands. It seemed like two guards arrived for every one that they were able to kill. The edge of the pit loomed closer as they were driven toward it.
Tor crashed out of the trees, swordless, obviously having been thrown, and rolled into the back of the pack of guards around Justin and Tam. He came up to his feet holding the curved blade Justin had dropped and cleared a swath of guards as he stood, opening a space around himself that gave him a good swing radius simply by killing everything within it. The scout in the doorway took her hands from her pockets and nearly stepped out, but stayed put when whoever Tor had been fighting with charged out of the trees and attacked.
Justin’s internal warnings clanged loudly about the edge of the pit as he swung and blocked, Tam’s shoulder digging into his ribs as she did the same. Then suddenly she wasn’t there. He twisted and dropped, ducking under the incoming blades, and reached over the edge. Tam was already too far down for him to grab. She spun and curled in the air, the short distance she was falling giving her almost no time to prepare to land, and crashed into the top of the highest cage in an awkward roll.
Justin dove off the edge after her as she sprawled to stop herself. Her ass and legs met with nothing but open air. Her sword bounced off the cage and spun away into the pit as her hands slipped over the smooth bars, unable to grab on to anything because of the angle she was reaching from. Justin threw his sword as he landed on the cage and lunged to grab her.
He was too late.
The trees are up and decorated, the stockings are almost finished being made (only the fuzzy trim left to sew on and then press on the names), the mock fireplace is drawn and colored and hanging under the window, and my husband is making a 4-stockings hanger with some scrap metal from work. We might just pull off this one-house Christmas thing! :)
The biggest things that help me off an anxiety spiral are regular eating and sleeping. Regular eating helps because I stop eating during anxiety, it's where my eating disorder lives, and crashing blood sugars do not improve anything. Regular sleeping helps because sleep deprivation makes for fuzzy thinking, and my anxiety thrives on confusion. Eliminating confusion and hunger starve my anxiety and help me regain control.
Justin started the preliminary breathing exercises he did before any dive. Better to be prepared, he figured. There was nothing he could do about how cold the water was, but he could at least not drown if he was dunked under the ice. Tor said it was open water around the bend, and Justin could hold his breath that distance as long as he wasn’t frozen to death. He picked his first few steps and then narrowed his focus down to just this moment, ignoring the thinking part of his mind so that he could react faster, and set off after Tor and Tam.
A nearby crack interrupted the groaning river and reverberated through the flows as Tor, Tam and Justin leapt from one jagged edge to the next, using the snowshoes to bridge across the roughness of the ice sheets. Justin felt the change as a vibration before he looked up from his next steps to see where the cause of it was. The ice creaked and grated on all sides as it underwent a massive shift just ahead of him. Tor looked back, meeting Justin’s stare as Tam dropped from between them.
Panic flared in Tor’s eyes that all the ice around where Tam had been was now in motion. The place where she’d dropped erupted into a flurry of loose snow and then her arms clawed up and they could see her head.
Tor’s brain engaged his training reflexes before it remembered about his snowshoes and he sprawled into a fall as he tripped himself trying to turn too quickly. Tam slipped down and then caught herself on the edge of an adjoining sheet, pulling herself up so she was only half submerged, her arms stretched to full extension forward as she scratched for any handhold to pull herself completely free of the freezing river.
Justin stopped looking for safe footing and kicked out of his snowshoes into a run. The ice sheets behind the gap she’d fallen through were slamming up and twisting into a new configuration. A sheet twice as thick as Justin’s arm and as tall as he was above the water surged up, gravity fighting against the river to pull it down. Swinging slowly into the opposite direction than it had been pushed up, and pressed by the current and more ice from behind so that the circular motion was delayed, the heavy ice was scissoring closed on the gap Tam was in the middle of.
Justin breathed deeply, his lungs aching from the sudden cold, and leapt to the sheet of ice she was clinging to as he yanked his pack and coat off over his head. The sheet she was holding bobbed under his added weight and then tipped, dipping Tam further down. Justin threw his supplies toward Tor as he skidded into the gap, grabbing Tam and dragging her into the water as he slid off the ice.
The water was horrifically cold after the sudden dive, but much clearer than he’d expected. The cracking boom of the gap slamming closed above them was followed by screeches and groans of the ice adjusting while the current started to carry them away. He spun to face down and kicked deeper to get away from the floes. Even with only the dim sunlight penetrating the thick ice, he could see the jagged bottoms of the sheets. Everything was lit blue. He tore off the pack and coat that Tam was wearing so it wouldn’t weigh her down as she struggled. Justin clutched Tam to his chest, pinning her so she couldn’t hurt him as she fought the water, and swam with the current while looking up for a thin spot.
He kicked up to a shadowy gap in the overhead surface and grabbed onto the ice, wedging his elbow into a crevice when his fingers didn’t work to hold on. Tam coughed and gagged in the small space. There was no way of breaking through here to get above the ice, but at least there was air for the moment.
“Hold your breath,” Justin said, stuttering around his chattering teeth, forcing his body to breathe deeply again. Tam whimpered, but gasped as best she could. Justin felt her chest lock into an expanded position and gulped a final mouthful of air before diving back under. They needed to get out of the water or they were going to freeze before they had a chance to drown.
Brighter light caught his eye and he looked forward as he swam: three bridge abutments rose up from the shadows below and disappeared above the waterline. Justin kicked hard for the one he could angle to the easiest. He could see the shadow of a catwalk jutting far out in advance of reaching the abutment. That must be where they stand to break the ice …. He clawed up to the surface and hooked his free arm into the low railing. Movement and shouting assailed his senses as he pulled Tam so she had her head above the water.
“Help,” he gasped. “Our guide… everything fell through the ice …”
Rough hands hauled them out of the river, hard voices demanding to know who they were. Justin kept repeating the lie about having a guide and that they’d all broken through the ice, repeatedly thanking the guards for saving their lives. Soon they were bundled into blankets and taken up to the nearest perimeter cabin. With no way of verifying the story because Tam whimpered wordlessly and Justin didn’t change any details no matter what questions were asked, they were reluctantly given dry clothes and warm tea and left to sit near the stove.
Once they’d changed, Justin pulled Tam into his arms and dried more water out of her hair with one of the towels they’d been given. She was shivering harder than he was, and he needed to maintain the assumption the guards had made that they were a couple. She curled against him, soaking up the extra heat he provided, so he shifted how they were sitting to keep her closer to the stove.
He picked up his cup of tea once his hand was still enough not to spill all of it and took a tentative sip. It was barely more than hot water, and was barely hot, but it was a lot warmer than he was. He took another sip, the heat warming his insides as pleasantly as the stove was warming his skin. He pressed the rim of the cup to Tam’s lips and tilted it for her to sip as well. She took small drinks as he gave them to her, finishing the tea, and was shivering rather than shaking when he set the empty cup down.
Justin heaped gratitude on anyone who spoke to them, loudly praising the guards who had pulled them out of the river as saviors when the commander came in to question them after lunch. Justin inwardly cringed when the commander started agreeing with him about how good and kind the guards were, but outwardly commended the man, stating the troops must have learned such grace by example when the twit gave them coats, good snowshoes, and packs of rations to serve them until the next town a week away. Tam assured everyone who asked that she had family there who would help them, and that the next town had been their destination before their unfortunate run-in with the river. She even sweetly blamed Justin’s ‘adventurous spirit’ for their situation, stating it had been his idea to travel off-road because he fancied himself a bit of an outdoorsman – something she acted as abhorring and adoring in even measures without having to actually say the words.
Oh hello! I am hormonal and grumpy, leaning toward whiney, and really shouldn't be spending any length of time writing in this personal blurb section as I'm pretty sure I'll end up have a "too much info" moment. (Aside stage whisper: it will not be info about me you want to know!)
Suffice to say, it was a pretty good week. Normal house cleanliness levels were maintained, some writing occurred, kids both made it into classes, and my hubby's job is continuing to be a good place to work. Is this... is this that fabled "rut" people speak of? Where life is semi-predictable and regular habits and routines can be maintained?
I know many people complain about being "in the rut" but, as someone who's never really had one, this seems almost okay.
14. Meek River
They set off in the dark, tied together by Tor’s rope so neither of the other two would get lost in the snow. When the black before sunrise gave way to the grey after, they were walking along the tree line beside an open expanse that could only be the winding route of a river. Tor had said there was a river feeding the workings at the mine, which was directed through a single canal around the pit to continue unharnessed on the other side. It ran past the guards’ town and then down the mountain. He had failed to mention that the river was this wide. Justin eyed the jagged blue peaks marking the top of the water, which spoke to him of the fast current beneath shoving up ice into piles on the surface.
The snow was still falling, but had lessened considerably. He could see further than a draughtside in the shadowy morning light as Tor brought the group to a halt and they untied from each other.
“We’re making better time than I’d expected,” he said, keeping his voice quiet as he started wrapping the rope into a coil. “The road into the mine is on this side of the river. The way out is on that side,” he pointed with his chin to the opposite bank. “I’d figured that we’d have to fight our way over the bridge, but if we cross now everything gets exceptionally easier. We might not have to fight at all.”
Justin frowned at the river. He could see the other bank approximately four draughtsides away, and could pick what appeared as a fairly safe pass to get there, but he didn’t like walking on ice on a good day… and this ice could be loose.
“The bridge is just there, around that bend,” Tor pointed in the direction they’d been walking. “It always has guards at both ends. This is the last place we can cross without being seen, and the last place the river’s fully frozen over. Around the bend they break the ice.”
“Drinking water?” Justin asked, keeping his voice at the same volume as Tor’s.
“Natural prison wall,” Tam replied. “The water is so cold that it even thinly ices in the summer. It forces people to use their bridge.”
“What about the perimeter patrols?” Justin reminded Tor. The last thing they needed was one of the guard patrols passing by as they were out in the middle of the river.
“We’re already inside,” Tor said with a quick grin. “We have ten minutes until the next pass. They’ll wave at each other across the river just back there,” he pointed with his thumb in the direction they’d come from.
“They’ll see our tracks,” Tam frowned.
“But they won’t follow us,” Tor pointed across the jagged ice. “They won’t cross the water. Too much superstition.”
“About what?” Justin asked.
“Everyone who died in the water,” Tor said, grinning wider. He finished wrapping the rope and looped the ends to secure the coil from unravelling or knotting. “Some of us scouts may have played a few tricks over the years to strengthen those superstitions, as well. It made sure we didn’t have to worry about being followed whenever we crossed it ourselves.”
Justin chuckled, the thoughts flicking into his mind of how creative his own crew could get when they were bored. Suddenly anger and fear touched into his mind, the strength of it dimmed by distance, but the power of it drowning any further conversation for a moment. Tor and Tam both stared, eyes wide, toward the distant horizon in the direction of the ocean that neither could see.
Justin didn’t even bother turning around. The distance was much too far for him to try returning anything structured, so he just pushed back with safe reassurance followed up with wary determination. Justin’s mother replied with love, her emotions amplified by sharing the contact with her friend and trainer, Madam Isabelle. His mother’s anger ramped up considerably after he gave a feeling of imprisonment and of being alone, and he could feel Madam Isabelle’s touch turn calculating at the realization that Rourke wasn’t there... but she could sense someone else was.
Her feelings confirmed both of Justin’s worries; his friend had shielded his death to stop Justin from waking up to stop him, and as a by-product had successfully stopped any of The Ladies from knowing as well, and that Tam and Tor were talented but untrained. The siblings he was with turned their stares on him once his mother cut the communication, even her and Madam Isabelle’s combined efforts over this distance were too much of an effort to continue. Tor and Tam’s stares verified Madam Isabelle’s findings about them.
“What was that?” Tam demanded, her words reinforced as tumbling thoughts in Justin's mind – and apparently in Tor’s – which she didn’t know how to break away from sharing now that she’d accidentally been included in a contact. These two being untrained made it more important for him to get them out of Opat. It had been years since anyone talented had been found in this country.
“That was my mother,” Justin replied.
He quickly estimated how far he was from the coast, did a subtraction of the distance he knew his mother could communicate at that clarity when she had Madam Isabelle’s help, and realized she was already on the wet. He didn’t envy his uncle for having to participate in the conversation that had brought her off the estate.
“We need to get moving before the next patrol comes,” he added, bringing Tor and Tam’s attention back to the immediate situation. Tam shook her head, disconnecting the contact instinctively, while Tor brushed off his sleeves as if the lingering emotions were a physical thing.
Tor turned and studied the piled-up ice as he tucked the rope away. “We could be safe crossing there,” he said, pointing out a line of ice peaks near where Justin had been looking.
“I wanted to avoid that pile,” Justin said as he pointed at one of the jagged heaps on the path that Tor planned on using. “There are breaks in the snow already. The ice might have shifted apart. I was thinking that way.” Justin pointed out the route he’d seen, where the snow was piled from being pushed rather than broken from being pulled apart.
Both ways were a risk. On Tor’s, the breaks could mean dangerous gaps in the ice, or safe settling of ice sheets into solid positions. On Justin’s, the snow piles could be hiding gaps or the sheets could have been recently shoved up and still be off balance. Both had the threat of loose ice that would tip and drop whoever was stepping on the sheet into the cold river below, and the whole river was a groaning mass of rushing water that did not provide any level of comfort about any part of the ice being safe to cross.
“What about that way?” Tam pointed at a flat expanse of unbroken snow spanning from bank to bank.
“No,” Tor and Justin replied at the same time.
“If you can’t see the ice, you don’t know if there’s any there,” Tor explained. “The snow may have just piled up on the water and formed a shell after floes broke away. Come on. I’ll go first.”
“What if you fall in?” Tam asked, alarmed.
“Don’t follow the same path I took,” he said, grinning at his sister
Tam shook her head and chuckled ruefully at her brother’s rock headed joke. Tor shifted his gaze to stare at Justin.
“Whatever happens to me,” Tor started, “I want your word that you’ll get her out of Opat and keep her safe,” he finished, his tone heavy and quiet.
“I will,” Justin promised. Tor nodded and turned back to his sister.
“The ice can’t flip you under if you’re already on the next piece. You need to run. Whatever happens, just keep moving,” Tor instructed.
He didn’t wait for her reply before he turned and sprinted out onto the river.
“Don’t step on anything that moves after Tor stepped on it,” Justin advised her. Tam gulped a mouthful of air and swallowed the surge of fear threatening to choke her. She followed her brother at the same leaping run that he’d set.
A weekly blog updating on Saturdays with quick personal blurbs about me, as in what's going on during my life as an Author and mom, and that doles out my short stories and novellas in bite-sized parts for everyone to read for free!