She felt bereft, cold, as her arms instinctively wrapped around her body. Never had she intended upon scaring him away, to tell him of her troubles and heartache. As she looked back upon those moments of comfort, so selfishly sought during her confession, a niggling thought pestered her. He had a look about him when he left, one she recognized. One she had seen in herself.
A sense of urgency fell upon her, desperation a live thing clamoring within her, demanding she move. Rushing about the house gathering her coat and gloves, she bundled herself and looked over her shoulder at the clock. How could so much time have passed already, she wondered. Part of her hoped she was wrong, that he had gone to a shelter. found a place out of the elements to house himself – or was at least endeavoring to do so, but knew the optimism to be misplaced. That look had nothing of hope in it, no more compassion or strength, but spoke of a long born suffering. It was the pained look of the damned.
The headlights shot through the wind strewn snow now racing in front of her at a dangerous slant skimming over footprints now half-filled. She crawled along, following the unfailingly straight tracks along the vastly deserted road until they suddenly veered to the right. Her car slid and pulled as she applied the brake forcing her to let up and try again. Searching wildly to gain her bearings, gaze sliding over the snow in search of the tell tale sign of man, finding them, she flipped on the emergency blinkers and ran.
Her gaze blurred, tears forming in reaction to the stinging cold, as she moved quickly through the drifts. The snow was seeping through her clothes taking even the small remaining hint of warmth from her flesh. The snow, so beautiful in its hauntingly beautiful evening attire when viewed from her kitchen window, now seemed a cold and cruel mistress bent on brutality. Footprints stretched out before her for several yards, proving one could leave a mark, but for how long? It seemed as though blankets of the stuff was falling with the sole purpose of camouflaging any and all creatures; meaning survival for some and demise for the others.
But it was only one such being she was searching for, one such person who had her heart stammering with fear. She stumbled, knees hitting the cold ground forcefully, as though she had been shoved. Hope deserted her for a moment as she pushed up from the ground, eyes only seeing the blinding and endless white before her. Shivers coursed through her body, a ceaseless rattle of teeth she had no control over, as she once again saw the faint tracks leading to the woods.
Will she find Christopher? Find out on Tuesday in the next installment of “The Vagrant”!