The rain stopped and the clouds separated into bands, a great ribcage reaching over the foothills.
She could hear the freight train moaning like her mother used to late at night when she thought all her children asleep. There's only one way down the mountain now, he told her, shaking her shoulder. They're coming? Yes, he made a motion against the outlying bulwark of trees, the blue serrated distance carving the horizon behind them. I want you to take the boy and the pack and get going. She corkscrewed her neck through the folds of the damp blanket on her back. The boy sat crying on a log fifty feet from her, his leg tied to a tent stake loosely dipped into the wet soil. Why run? she grabbed his collar. We don't have to do it like this. He slapped her fingertips and she retracted them, hissing at the cold slice of pain. Godammit! he barked. Take the pack and the boy and get moving or I will leave you here. The knife appeared silver and liquid, mercurial death escaping the shadow of his coat and she held her breath as the blade kissed the skin just below her jaw. I understand, she whispered. I know you do. He shoved her from the lichen covered rock to her knees and set to limping across the meadow toward the trees. When she finally stopped crying and opened her eyes, the boy and the tent stake were gone.
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Unless noted, all pics credited to Skitz O'Fuel.