short story, story promptShe’s been on the run from the hunters who chase her for a few weeks now. She can’t seem to shake them loose – they are desperate to reclaim the item she stole, but she won’t let them have it.


I sleepily pushed my hair out of my face, quickly pulling my hand back into the warmth of the sleeping bag. A crisp breath of air brushed against my exposed cheek, bringing me more awake. Opening my eyes, I blearily gazed around my surroundings, momentarily confused. Where was I?

I took in the stone walls and the openings where there were the remaining shards of stained glass windows. Only one window was still unbroken, the one high above the pulpit. A few wooden pews scattered the long room, mostly upturned and broken. The gaping windows let in drifts of snow and freezing winter winds.

Ruined churches were not the best places to sleep, I decided, beginning to feel the cold seep into the sleeping bag. Even with my layers of clothes, it was no match for the draughty building.

I turned on my side, wincing at the stiffness of my limbs. Sleeping on the ground – or in this case, on one of the still-intact pews – was starting to get easier, but my joints were still sore and bruises showed on my skin. I missed my straw-stuffed bed back home.

I shook the thought away. Thinking of home was a bad idea at the moment. Instead, I pulled an arm out of the sleeping bag and poked at the small pile of ashes and charcoal that had been my fire last night. I sighed. No heat left at all. It would make it that much harder to restart it.

I started to climb out of the sleeping bag, but paused, tilting my head to the left. Holding my breath, I tried to listen over the whistling of the wind.

Voices. Lots of them. They’d caught up to me!

Shoving the rest of the sleeping bag off me, I hurriedly rolled it and stuffed it into my pack. I swept my foot over the tiny pile of ashes, hoping that it would look less like a fire had once burned there. After a quick glance around to make sure I hadn’t left anything, I kept low and headed for the back of the church.

At one of the windows near the back, I peeped around the window sill. I was fairly sure the pursuers were coming from the opposite direction, but it always paid to be careful. I pulled myself over the window ledge, avoiding the odd shard of glass, and landed in the fresh snow outside.

I inwardly cursed the gods of weather for sending snow last night. It was going to be so easy for the hunters to track me with my footprints showing them the way. The only good thing about the weather was the thick fog hanging around. The sun hadn’t had a chance to dissipate it yet, so it would at least provide good cover. I’d have to hurry and put as much distance between me and them before they discovered the prints and followed.

I carefully jogged through the snow, heading for the forest behind the church. Hopefully, the snow hadn’t fallen as thickly under the canopy and I would be able to lose them in there.

I patted the amulet at my neck to ensure it still hung there. I wasn’t going to let them get their hands on it again. I wouldn’t let them do that to the people of the realm. I had to protect them.

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