Happy Tuesday, everyone! I recently sent part one of SILENCE to my CPs, and have been doing some major editing since. The next week's going to be a little busy, and since I might not get a lot of writing done, I thought I'd give you another little teaser today. Enjoy!
I was running, my lungs burning as I sucked in the frigid November air. My eyes stung, and I couldn’t stop the tears as the wind continued to pummel my body. My parents were on either side of me, hands clenched into fists as we sprinted up Bridge Street, the rest of the rebels only steps behind. In the distance, the Guard called out to us, demanding our immediate surrender.
No one stopped.
I pushed myself even harder, arms pumping at my sides. My entire body ached. Snow stung my skin and turned it pink, and my feet slipped on ice as we rounded the corner. The bridge was only a few hundred feet away, swaying dangerously back and forth. I could see the woods beyond it and felt my heart soar. If I could make it to the tree line, I’d be safe.
But I didn’t. None of us did. The sound of high-powered rifles filled the night. Pop-pop-pop. I saw someone to the right of me go down in a spray of red.
“Go!” Papa yelled, shoving both my mother and I.
The driving force behind me fell away. I turned around just in time to see my father fall face-first into the snow. I opened my mouth to scream, but my mother grabbed my arm and dragged me onto the bridge. I stumbled, immediately reaching out to steady myself. The rope left a pink burn on the palm of my hand.
Mom had stopped to signal the others to disperse, but she was too late. Most of the rebels were lying in the snow, scattered across the clearing. The bridge was weighed down with bodies, barely moving now despite the gale. My heart dropped into my stomach as I stood there, my breath forming tiny puffs in the frigid night air.
The planks beneath my feet shivered as she came running back. “Run, Neva,” she ordered, propelling me toward the trees. “Whatever you do, don’t stop running.”
We took off in the direction of the trees. We were closing in on them, their branches like open arms. Safety was so close and I sucked in an icy breath, ready to make the final drive.
And I did exactly what I’d been told not to. I stopped. Right there, in the middle of the bridge. I was less than twenty feet from the tree line, but I couldn’t take another step. My mother lay in the snow, one arm outstretched as if she were reaching for me. I couldn’t see her face, but my mind created a picture full of desperation and eyes filled with fear. Red curls fanned out across the snow, long tendrils whipping back and forth in the breeze. Her coat was red, but it didn’t match the spray of muddy crimson around her. Something inside my chest tightened, and I forced myself to move toward her.
"Mom?" I whispered.