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Rachel could hardly remember a time she had slept so poorly. Despite the tarps being hung and and tucked to keep out the cold, and irregardless of her close proximity to Anna and Kyla beneath it, the combined body heat of the three ladies in the company fell far short of overcoming the cold that had settled in after the rain. Sunrise promised a clear day, but around the tarp under which she had tried to sleep, a frost had formed on the ground.

They had camped at the edge of the forest that grew east of Water Town and Northford and up onto the plateau. Further to their east, however, the terrain was bear and open, and Rachel knew that, once away from the forest, the wind would assault them unimpeded.


Sitting up, Rachel realized that Kyla was already awake. The youngest member of the company lay beside Rachel clutching her blanket and staring at the tarp.


“We might as well get up” Rachel suggested.


“I’m keeping my blanket.” Kyla sat up and wrapped the blanket all around her as she crawled out from under the tarp.


Lansal was standing by the fire looking to the east, so Rachel and Kyla moved to his side.


Kyla strained into the distance. “What are we looking at.”


“Our future.” Lansal replied.

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Copyright 2018, 2019, 2020  —  Bill Snodgrass