It was so terribly cold. Snow was falling, and it was almost dark. We still had miles to go before we’d reach the safe house. I wasn’t sure how much longer I could go. My feet ached and the tip of my nose was numb, even under the layers of cloth covering my face. But Damon didn’t let up on the pace, and the five of us kept trekking up the hill.
I looked over my shoulder and immediately wished I hadn’t. The incline we’d been climbing hadn’t seemed so dramatic, but the steep fall behind me turned my legs to jelly and I reached out for the nearest tree to steady myself.
“Mandy? You okay?” Steph slowed and looked back at me. She adjusted the straps of her backpack and took a few tentative steps back down the hill to take my hand.
“Yeah… Little vertigo, that’s all.” I took a deep breath and reminded myself not to look back again before grabbing her hand to follow her up the hill.
“I think we’re almost there.” Steph let go of me the moment she saw I had my balance again.
Up ahead, Damon slowed and knelt behind a rock. He waved us over with a finger pressed to his face where his mouth would be.
“Okay,” he said once we were in a small circle around him. “We have about fifteen feet of open field to cross, and then down the other side of the hill for about five more minutes and we’ll reach the safe house. But we have to hurry across the field so no one spots us. We’ll go one at a time. Stay low. Steph, you go first.”