The storm that sprang up and swept across the North Road from the depths of Gods’ Hollow caught me by surprise and drove me to ground. For ten minutes, I huddled against a stone wall and waited for the wind to abate, when it did, I rose to my feet only to be slammed from behind and pushed over the wall.
The storm increased in fury and mingled with the wind’s howls I could hear my mother’s screaming madness. Again, the gale hammered me against the stones, finally forcing me to crawl toward the center of the Hollow’s open field.
I burrowed through the snow with all the dignity of a cowering mouse, and I’d not gone a hundred feet before the wind stopped.
Cautiously, I rolled onto my side and peered up at the morning sky. Dark gray storm clouds swarmed across my vision, and when I dared to sit up, I felt a surge of anger sweep over me.
I was far deeper into the Hollow than I wanted to be. Especially without supplies.
When I turned to calculate the distance to the North Road, a chill settled in my stomach. Both the wall and the road were hidden by a churning mass of snow. In theory, the road was beyond the snow.
But this was the Hollow, and anything or nothing could await me.
It was then I heard someone call out to me. Not by name, merely greeting. Off to my left, a trio of men approached. They were snow-covered and heavy with ice. They spoke and it took me a moment to realize the language was a sort of bastardized Russian. It took me several moments to recall what little Russian I knew, and soon we were able to exchange pleasantries.
The men were eager for me to follow them, for the sun would be setting in a matter of minutes, and when it did, few could withstand the temperatures. Reluctantly, I followed them to what I thought would be a camp, but what instead proved to be an entire village, living in fear of monsters.
For the time that I was here, I would earn my keep with my guns.
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