a good sign.

There was a little woof as a reply and I turned to find that the wolf had taken the place of the man. His yellow gaze stared me down, almost as if he was warning me not to fall down anymore cliff sides. I looked away sheepishly and quickly nodded.

Id be safer this time.

Unfortunately when one is on an ice covered mountain, Safety is something thats easier to say than to do. Still I did my best, and when I failed I made sure not to let the wolf know.

My hand had little streaks of blood coloring my icy skin, and my ankle throbbed in protest every step I took. But it wasn anything I couldn handle, and I had already caused him enough concern for the day.

For a lifetime really.

We were strangers after all, and he was under no obligation to help me. Yet he had risked his own life to save mine. It was pathetic of me to beg for more than this. So I would follow him quietly.

My foot slipped out from beneath me a moment after my declaration. The clatter of rocks was louder this time, and the wolf glanced behind. While I wasn an expert at reading canine facial expressions, it was pretty safe to interpret his look as ”really? ”

”Sorry. ” I muttered again.

With a huff he turned back around. I took my next step and collapsed to the ground.

The wolf let out a groan of tired patience, and turned around again. I met his agitated gaze and felt my spine curving from its weight.

”Rest? ” I suggested more for the wolfs sake than mine. His eyes scanned the area jumping from shadow to shadow. Finally he snorted and started back the way we came.

The weight of my body had become too much, and the brilliance of the snow became painful to my eyes. I squeezed them closed hoping it would dull the burn. The snow was oddly soft under my body. And if you told me I was laying on a cloud, I would most likely believe you.

An urgent bark had my sluggish mind rolling back into position. We had to keep going. We were too far away.

There was a sharp yank on my hair and my eyes flew open. The bright white blinded me for a moment. My eyes came to focus on a small pile of little brown caps. On the other side stood the wolf with an expectant look in his eye.

Eat. They seemed to demand.

So I did. The flavor was dull and diluted, and really that was the only reason I could choke them down. It squeaked between my teeth, and clumped in the back of my throat when I tried to swallow.

Despite all that I ate it obediently, because I knew as well as the wolf that it was the only way I had a shot of making it to his den.

Back at home I hadn cared for walks or hikes. The thought of winter sports had never even crossed my mind. And that was painfully obvious now.

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