The cold frosty air whips against my body as if it was trying to pull me down into the cold snow beneath my feet. My legs ache and burn begging me to rest. I know I can not, no matter how much I want to. Hunters were not too far behind, and I know a queen that would pay a pretty price for my head. Although I want my body to run, it refuses to listen. My feet drag leaving footprints in the snow so that I was easy to track. I couldn’t muster the strength to cover these tracks. I barely had the strength to keep walking. The slow ragged landscape is coated in a beautiful white frost, that lures my body to rest. I resist this urge with all my might, for if the cold doesn’t kill me, the hunters will. The air hangs with an eerie silence. The atmosphere is dense and wet, a blizzard is coming. I need to find cover before the wind sweeps me off my feet.
My father used to tell tales of how a long time ago dragons used to ride blizzards and would ride too long, and become ice themselves. Ice dragons, they were told to be one of the most powerful dragons. It was said they could freeze the hottest of fires. Those were just fairy tales, or at least that is what they told us. I smile at the thought of the old stories, they were the light of my childhood. Suddenly, one day the entire village stopped telling us these stories.
I don’t know if it was because the world was going into chaos and the weather started to change or if they were simply forgotten. Frost covered half the land that humans inhabited. The queen believed that the other creatures were the cause of the freeze on our part of the world. The once prosperous village I lived in, Bexely, is now plagued with blizzards and ice. Not a blade of green grass has been seen since the freeze 14 years ago. It was easy to blame the creatures that we knew nothing about. So we did.
The snow started to freeze my cheeks and made my nose run. My energy seeped from my body, and I crumpled to the ground. Upon falling I found a cold pillow instead of hard ground. A safe place. Finally, I can rest, and I’ll be able to dream that none of this is happening. I can escape. The wind whipped and whirled lulling me to sleep. Some part of me was resisting the urge to sleep, I had no idea why. Why can’t I sleep? I am safe. I. Am. Safe.
When darkness took over, I half expected to see my hometown as it used to be. Instead, I was brought back to the war. Back to when my brother Mark went to the breach and never came back. The last thing he ever told me was, “Don’t be afraid. Just ’cause other people believe one thing and make you an outcast, doesn’t mean you’re wrong.” with that he left me forever.
Mark used to tell me all types of stories about fairies, dragons, nymphs, and creatures of the night sky. His favorite story to tell was about Galaxy walkers. He told me that galaxy walkers were creatures that were created on earth that would take the form of cats with wings. The galaxy walkers fur was covered in stars and constellations that we couldn’t even see. He told them as creatures that could make your happiest dreams come to life for a moment, while the queen had told everyone that they were stalkers that stole your dreams and should be killed on sight. That woman destroyed all the childhood stories. Even when everyone stopped telling these types of stories, my brother never did. He would sit down every night and tell me a new story. He would tell them to me when everyone else was already asleep. I wish he wrote down his stories. I would’ve loved to read them over and over.
As a little girl, I always imagined that a galaxy walker was always following me, keeping me safe. Although my brother told me that a galaxy walker was a cat, I soon came to believe my brother was my galaxy walker. That he would always be there for me and keep me safe. He was the only one who told me that the creatures of the universe were not evil. I still believe this even after he was carried back to my family in a casket. I still believed he was there. That he was watching over me as a galaxy walker. Even though I know he was never one, part of me still likes to believe. Maybe it made me feel less lonely, but what is so bad about that?
My father, like most other people now, did not share my brother’s opinion on the creatures. My father beat the fact into my brother that the creatures were evil and that they had to be destroyed. Although, when my brother spoke to me before he left for the war I knew he still believed in the good of the creatures he read about. His smile was wide and his dimples round. His tan skin gleamed in the evening sun. Though I knew he had not much time I clung to him like a tick. I knew it was just a memory I swore I could feel his arms around me. Like he was gonna lift me out of the horrible situation I was in. I knew he couldn’t save me now. After all, when I was fifteen he was brought back to me in a casket.
Even though I knew this I could still feel him lifting me off the cold ground. Now I no longer have a cold soft pillow resting underneath my head. Wait he can’t be lifting me up. The realization surged through my body and I snapped my eyes open to see guards in their chain and fur armor lifting my body off the ground. Now I struggled to get free but to no avail. My whole body was numb. I kicked and tried to pull myself free. I didn’t recognize the guards, but I did recognize three faces.
My father’s broad face with a light amount of facial hair shares the same look as I remember. After my mother died, he fell into a deep sadness. Bags hang under his brown eyes, that shimmer with a glassy look. It looked like he would shatter if you so much as breathed on him. His build told me differently though. His body was strong and muscular. His hands were rough. He gained this body by cutting down trees and carrying heavy loads on his back. The only difference was the round gut that hangs off him despite being muscular.
Next to him stands my younger sister who seems to tower over me now. Her dirty brown hair is cut short and messy. The last time I saw her was when she had long hair that would always be braided neatly back. Even her clothes had changed. She always used to adore dresses, now she wore ripped jeans and an old coat. Her facial expression is all but happy. I could see the anger, sadness, and pain throughout her features.
My eyes finally fell upon an old friend. Owen. Next, to all of the others, he looks like nothing. His back was straight, but cowardliness drew his features and shook his legs. His eyes trail over me once and now watch the floor with a sudden interest in the snow beneath his feet. I don’t blame his cowardliness, but he should at least be able to face his problems. Anger began to rise inside me and boil.
“You should at least look me in the eyes brat.” My tone was all but welcoming, but I couldn’t help but show him my anger. Show him what he did. His eyes shot up to look at me. Sorrow meets his eyes as tears threaten to spill. I want to see him cry. I lost everything because of him. Everything. I trusted him and because of him, I got on the list of most wanted. Although, only I know why. The queen doesn’t want anyone to figure out the truth about the creatures she claims evil. She doesn’t want them to know that we could actually get along.
“Do you really feel bad for me brat or are you trying to pretend to be concerned? Or….” a smirk filled my face, “…Are you scared that I’ll kill you for what you did to me?”
My father spoke now, after clearing his throat, “You have no right to talk” I know he meant to sound commanding, but it came out soft. Although it was hard to read him because his whole body spells tired I can’t see any other emotion. I’m sure that there is a bit of anger and sorrow in him. He flicks his head backwards and the guards lift me fully off the ground and we all begin to walk. The guards walk beside me and so does my sister. My father walks in the front and Owen at the back.
My sister’s eyes are different than all the others. Unlike the sorrow that I meet from both my father and Owen, her eyes are full of hatred. They burn a hole in my head as she watches me. Everdeen, my little sister, what happened to you? I know it must have been hard to lose our mother, our brother, and lose me all in one, but why was she angry with me?
“Don’t Everdeen me! You don’t have the right to talk to me.” Unlike my father, her tone is full of rage.
“Do you think I chose to leave? If you did you’re sorely mistaken.”
She is completely silent. Her gaze leaves me and watches my father. Her eyes soften. Even though she didn’t say it I could tell what she meant. I hurt our father. It was clear as day, it shows in his eyes, in his posture, and most of all in his voice. In the span of three years, he lost his wife, son, and me. When my mom died he cried for days. In his sleep, you would hear him mumble her name, Marlene… over and over again until he had seemed to forget about her. He never talked about the past, about her. Although, his eyes never forgot sorrow.
Then we all lost my brother Mark. We lost him in the breach. Along with all his stories. Yet again my father’s sorrow seemed to come back all at once. He really never got over it. His face was always tired of crying and he always sat with his head in his hands. The only time he didn’t was when I was being titled general. That was the last time I saw him smile. As for my sister, her gaze is fixed on him. She hasn’t changed. She was always worried about people, especially my father. She was the one who took care of him while I was gone.
Too lost in my thoughts and tripped over my own feet. The guards pull me back to my feet, but Everdeen doesn’t seem to be as happy about it, “What the hell are you doing? Can’t you watch where you are going?” Though I know she was just mad, I still can’t help but roll my eyes and smile lightly.
“What’s got you tied up in a bunch Eve?” Amusement filled my voice.
Instead of the onslaught of words I expected, she turns her head and looks away from me, with stiffened shoulders. Even my father stiffened his broad shoulders.
“What is the problem? Did I say something?” Silence. As they drag me along I could feel myself getting weaker and weaker. I can’t feel my legs anymore, let alone move my body. I must have been in the snow for a while because I could barely notice the cold anymore. I turned my head to look behind me from where we came, but instead of seeing the pure white snow tracks from all of us, I saw a red track coming from me. My leg is getting worse…
“ I need to wrap up my legs..” My words seem to come out slower than normal. No answer. “Please…” nothing. I keep trying but get no answer every time. Every once and a while I see one of them look back at me, but they do nothing. At this point, I couldn’t move, let alone speak. I know that even if I manage to somehow pull free of their grip that I will not be able to run. My legs will never work the same. Even if I convince them to let me go I know I will not make it far before I froze to death.
I just close my eyes and start to accept my fate. Although I wish that it had come down to something else, I can’t complain about the life I had. I got to see more than most people in this world. If only I had someone to share it with, someone that will not destroy it. I could feel the satchel press against my shoulder, suddenly with more weight than before. As if telling me that I am not done. I know I can’t escape, though my work was not done. I open my eyes and my gaze falls upon the necklace around my neck. This suddenly gave me the motivation to continue. I have to try. If I at least manage to get away, even if I were to freeze to death, at least my work will not be destroyed. All I have to do is get them to believe I’m dead. Then I can get out of their grasp, hopefully.
Now I noticed the change between the ground. I was home. My hometown Bexely. It is duller than I remember. Everything used to clad in vibrant colors. With the war came snow, but even without the warmth, it used to be full of color. Now it is gray. Even the people who peak out of their houses seem gray. The children in the street stared at our figures as we passed them. Some parents rushed their children inside, while others stood with them. The eerie quiet dampened my already low spirits. It is too late to escape.
I begin to try to pull myself free, with what little strength I had left. Though to no avail. They only tighten their hold, and pain shoots through my body. I suck in my breath, Everdeen just scoffs at my feeble attempt to free myself. Even though my mind was willing to go on my heart, growing sluggish, was not.
The realization hits me like a punch to the face. Now everything I’ve done will be for nothing. There’s nothing I can do. I am going to die.