Hide and Seek
The day began early. The sun not yet arose from its bed as the moon cast a soft silver light on the white landscape in front of Martin. The first frost of the season never failed to awe him and here in the mountains, it was simply majestic.He closed his eyes, allowing the bite of the morning air to filter through him. His boots crunched as they moved across the ice-laden grass beneath them. He walked to the edge of the campsite, bordered by a wooden fence, and turned around.
The mountains rose behind the cabin, a sea of white against the pink just beginning to bloom in the sky. The cabin itself was unconventional for this area, and stunning in its design. It reminded him of a church he’d seen in Ukraine once with its rotundas and vast open space. He breathed deeply, wincing slightly as the pain of cold hit his nostrils. Here was a quiet place, peaceful. Here was purity and innocence, a place where evil couldn’t reach, no matter how much it tried to invade. He would memorize this moment and file it away for use on a bad day. The only thing missing was Kate and Malcolm. Only they could have made this moment any better.
A glimpse of red played hide and seek with his eyes and he moved toward it. It eluded him, seeming closer than it actually was, then too far away at all the same time, too. He followed no trail, only keeping his eyes on the prize and his ears alert for trouble. It led him deeper into the woods, flashing him its beauty in gaps until he reached the river. It was there, on a high branch of an evergreen, that he discovered it was a cardinal.It watched him intently before taking flight to another tree a few yards away.
He crossed the river, not feeling the icy water through his boots, and followed. It hopped from limb to limb, tree to tree, sometimes disappearing deeper into the woods, still playing hide and seek with Martin, until it led him to a small cottage in great disarray, the frost revealing gaps in the roof that wouldn’t be seen otherwise. Martin watched as the bird took flight, soaring in through one of the openings, and he waited. A small plume of smoke filtered out of the chimney, a gray cloud in a world of white and brown. The dilapidated door opened and a woman stood there. Startled, Martin turned and retraced his steps back to his cabin.
As he recrossed the river, he heard a drone coming from the sky. He stopped to watch for the plane, expecting it to be some charter craft taking someone on a joy ride through the mountains. He watched as the plane came in sight. His legs pumped ferociously as he caught sight of its UFO shape, and the tattletale W of its tail that signified that it was a bomber. In the same instance the warning left his lips, the plane released a missile. Before the warning could reach the cabin, it exploded in a burst of flames. Martin was thrown to the river as the trees nearest the cabin caught fire. He retreated into the woods as he realized he should be toast. Whoever ordered the hit on the cabin wanted them all dead. He knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that they would be back to make sure no one survived.
Suddenly, the cottage in the woods looked inviting.
This week we were instructed to write a piece, non-fiction or fiction, in which your character is experiencing first frost of the year. Try to add feeling and descriptive detail by focusing on what your character’s senses are picking up. It could be a smell (or lack of), the chill on their skin, or even the way the landscape changes under the cover of that frost. Have fun. Use your imagination.
How did I do? Constructive critique is always wanted and appreciated.
This is another snippet from my NaNo project in progress. How do you like the story so far?