A crack pierced the quiet of the woods, and inside the trees a startled pair of birds took to flight. My elbows groaned in noisy protest as I pushed myself upright, scanning the trees for intruders. “What was that?”
The top of Jin’s faux-fur lined boots peeked out from under the faded denim of his snow-damp jeans as his squat turned into a kneel. He pivoted, pointing to his right where a cluster of trees were still shaking off white dust from their overloaded branches.
“Frozen branch must have fallen.”
A pain in my ankle flared with heat as I crawled rather ungraciously into a stand, swallowing enough cold air to crystallize my lungs. “Right. A frozen branch. Sure. Let’s go back inside.”
Jin, who stood with zero urgency, laughed softly. “So, it takes the trees to get you out of the cold?”
“Not the trees,” I corrected. “Just what’s hiding inside them.”
– Riley, Find Me 4, © Trish Marie Dawson