Another stab at Master Class Monday at Our Write Side
Fiona ran through the forest. A stark landscape of naked trees and fresh snowfall kept her within full view of her pursuers. Her breath blew puffs of steam as her feet crunched the ice crusted snow. She didn’t dare look behind her. If she could see their eyes she knew it was the end of her run.
Her feet were numb, the boots not tall enough to keep the snow from soaking her socks. Bushes and fallen branches conspired to throw Fiona to the ground. Fear was her friend, it gave adrenal fueled strength to her tiring legs. But fear couldn’t change the landscape.
While Fiona scanned the ground in front of her, she failed to mark the sudden end of the tree-line. She tumbled down a steep bank and hit the frozen river hard. Scrambling on the icy surface, she regained her feet. Finally, she turned to look behind.
Most of the hunting party stood at the top of the bank. Two of their number carefully descended to the river’s edge and tested the footing before moving toward her.
She uttered a hopeless moan, then turned toward the opposite bank. She moved her feet in an awkward sliding run as the watchers laughed at her attempt to elude them. The two behind her didn’t move any faster. As she crossed the center she glanced between her feet and gasped at the view of running water only inches below the ice.
A groan sounded from beneath, ending her wide eyed stare and she pushed her body forward. Fiona threw herself across the ice as an ear shattering crack echoed along the river. The treacherous heaving of the failing ice propelled her forward. The water roared as the river broke through the frozen blanket. She raced the free flowing water across the ice. The small floe she stood upon tilted back toward the frigid depths. In terror she thrust her arms forward, grasping for a miracle, and found a low-hanging branch. She gripped the rough bark and dragged herself up the empty bank.
Over the sound of the rushing water she heard the screams of the pair that had followed her. Their cries punctuated by fainter curses from the other bank. She looked back as the river embraced the men and carried them downstream. She met the eyes of their captain across the gap, felt the hatred sharp as a physical blow.
Panting with exhaustion, Fiona broke the gaze and ran into the next forest of naked trees and fresh fallen snow.