Tonight, I decided to blend two posts into one. Since I post an excerpt of random stories on Sundays and this is also the day I talk a little about Black Friday and/or Black Friday 2, I figure I may as well make them the same post this time. Makes sense and I can sit back to watch Food Network or maybe get a quick role-play in before bedtime. Either way, it’s much easier for me. Don’t expect this to happen every week. I don’t want to give away too much of the story.
With this being my last day of vacation, I thought I would make things simpler for you, my readers and friends.
Today’s excerpt comes from the last half what I’ve written for chapter nine in book 2 of Black Friday. They have just found the place both Karina and others have seen in dreams and visions. As tired as what they are, there is still work to do and Karina, her husband, adopted son, and their group’s ‘healer’, they prepare to weather out the coming storm.
Marcus’ look of surprised couldn’t be hidden. He stared at me, swallowed then started to ask, but I stopped him with a nod. “Yes, she did. Let’s go, now.”
“Okay everybody!” He clapped his hands together as he turned to face the group of weary shifters. “I need you to bear with us. Shelter has been found and it is a short distance from here. We can all rest there and avoid any other weather that is heading for us.” He then motioned to the building clouds then motioned to me. “Lead the way, my love. You know where this shelter is.”
I smiled at him then licked his cheek before giving my attention to everyone. “It’s only a couple of miles from here. If we support each other, we get there in no time. It’s all downhill, into a valley, and the path looks reasonably clear from what I can tell. Just stick close and don’t wander off without telling someone. If you get lost, we may not be able to find you before the storm gets here.”
There was a lot of grumbling and moaning as tired therians got to their feet. They only had a short rest and that didn’t do much for them. But, knowing they were going to be in a decent shelter, not some cold cave, they didn’t gripe too much.
Getting everyone moving, even the injured on their stretchers, wasn’t easy. Finding the path down into the valley wasn’t easy. It was an overgrown trail almost completely hidden by new growth from the years of neglect, but a few markers showed us the way.
The path wound about, seeming to go nowhere except to give glimpses of the compound below and how close we were getting. With skeletal branches intertwining over us, we could barely see the gray clouds blotting out the paler clouds above and what little sunlight we were getting. It felt like the trek down was taking forever and everyone was starting to mutter and growl their displeasure until at long last, we found the end of the trail leading out into the wide pasture.
It was open land, no trees to take cover in or to break the wind that was starting to whistle through the trees. Anything would be able to see us as we traversed the wide space of snow.
Marcus, Nahana, and I went first to make sure it was all clear. We kept low to the ground, moving on all fours as we were meant to be and keeping our bellies close to the ground. We split up to sniff the air and see if anyone was around before we stood and beckoned the rest to follow. The place was abandoned, not a sound or scent to be found that was recent except for wild creatures stopping by to make use of the pasture or the shelter of the buildings.
I kept an eye on the line of tired wolves, deer, and other therians behind us; making sure no one fell behind. Those that did fall, I rushed back to help Nahana get them back on their feet and offer words of encouragement. They didn’t have much further to go. They can rest inside and we’ll have a fire roaring to keep us warm.
Worry for them filled my heart as they all stumbled toward the building. It seemed so very far away at that point. But, I had to stay strong for them and keep them moving.
As I turned my attention to the building clouds, snow started to fall and the wind became colder. The shiver than ran down my spine raised fur and set my teeth to chattering against my will. Not wanting to leave anyone behind, I plunged through the snow to get the last two, both deer-kin, and helped them get to our new home. The last several feet, I was carrying them, both too exhausted to take another step.
Inside, it was cold. We could feel drafts coming from under the door and around the windows. There was debris all over the place that blew in from a storm sometime in the past. As cold as what it was, it was better than being out in the cold.
“Marcus, Nahana, Nick, we need to gather up wood for a fire and try to fix those drafts.” I looked from one to the other as I rested my hands on their shoulders. “Nahana, you and Nick go gather some firewood and kindling. Marcus and I will start working on plugging the drafts.”
“What about Takesha, Karina?” Nick looked, his eyes questioning and filled with worry for this rag-tag group of therians.
I shook my head and offered a little smile. “She’s tired. Let her rest for now and help tend to the injured. If she needs help, Marcus and I can lend a hand. Don’t worry about her, or anyone else. Just get us that wood and quickly. It’s already started to snow.”
Nick sighed then nodded. “Okay. We won’t be long.”
As I grasped his shoulder, I smiled at him, showing my approval. “Just hurry, son. We’re all tired and we need you to help lead.”
He hugged me; something he hadn’t done since we left First Home, then gave Nahana a gentle shove toward the door. It’ll warm up with all the bodies in there, but a fire will help keep the rest of the cold at bay.