âItâs not much farther,â he said, taking my hand again.
The mist was inching its way up, enveloping my legs in a smoky haze. An agonizing howl rang through the trees. Was it the wind, a wolf? I couldnât tell. This was beginning to seem like a really bad idea. But Vervain was almost impossible to find this time of year, so if he knew where to goâ¦ Anyway, it was way too late to turn back now. We were alone in the woods, out of screaming range, so if he ended up being some psycho, I was already screwed. Whatever secret he held behind those intense olive eyes, I didnât think serial killer was it.
We climbed up a steep rocky hill. It struck me as odd there should be something like the side of a cliff in the midst of a forest, but before I could say anything, something cold and wet landed on my face. And then again. I peered up at the night sky, expecting rain and was shocked to find snow.
âThis is crazy! Itâs snowing!â I had to shout over the howling winds. âHow can it be snowing?" Goose bumps traveled down my spine and I shivered. The snow quickly became heavier, and before long the ground was completely white. Since when did we get snow at the end of May? Drearyton Cove was in the midst of its mildest spring yet and while it was not unheard of to have the occasional hailstorm, a blizzard dropping three feet of snow was a record first. The temperature was plummeting by the minute. The winds were churning at a furious rate, gusting in huge gales, whipping a steady stream of flurries in our faces. My teeth chattered uncontrollably. Adrius seemed oblivious to all of it, pressing on like a man on a mission, he pulled me up the rocky slope.
âWhere are we?â I hollered. Adrius didnât hear me or he didnât know, either way there was no reply. He just tightened his grip on my hand, crushing my knuckles together in a hold which might have hurt if my fingers hadnât been frozen.
A gust of wind tore through the trees, sending flurries swirling into the night air. Suddenly, I was engulfed in a blinding whiteout. The flash blizzard blazed around us whipping my hair in frenzy. Every part of me was freezing, and I struggled to keep moving forward. My hand slipped away from his; numb from the cold, it took me a moment to realize he was no longer holding onto me. I squinted through the whipping flakes, searching for him.
âAdrius? Adrius! I canât see anything.â Ice pelted my face, stinging my cheeks and forehead.
âLorelei?â He sounded so far away.
âWhere are you? I canât see you.â
I took a step forward, but didnât meet with the ground. Instead I found myself falling, tumbling down the steep hill we had just climbed. My body plummeted uncontrollably, until I slammed onto solid ground, striking my head against something sharp. I couldn't feel my fingers or toes, and my lungs threatened to explode out of my chest. Panic rose in my throat, choking off any air. Freezing to death became a very real and terrifying possibility. I gasped for air, each chilled breath more painful than the last. Drifting snow blanketed me at an impossible rate, burying me alive in cold. The burning in my limbs subsided, leaving me numb from head to foot.
High above me, naked limbs curled and coiled in distorted knots, reaching for me through the wailing flurries. They slithered and wound themselves around the snow-covered trees, as though draining any remaining life from them. A pair of thick thorn-infested vines coiled around one another, piercing and ripping their flesh in a morbid tango. Was I hallucinating? Maybe this was what hypothermia was like. I wanted to scream, but couldnât.
I lifted my head and tried to look around, carefully avoiding the serpent-like vines moving deftly against the wind. Warm fluid seeped down my forehead, burning a trail to my cheek. Wiping it away with the back of my hand, I recognized the sickly
Glenn van Dyke, Renee van Dyke