With this book being shared across so many posts, I thought it might be useful to create a Table of Contents with links to each chapter.
Nathan moved in halting starts and stops, an anger-fueled jerk forward for a few yards, followed by some new calamite that would steal his inertia and make him throw his hands into the air in frustration. The long, loose ropes he pulled would slip free from his gloved hands, Chase's sled coming loose behind him, woven cords dropping harmlessly to the ground. Or, Nathan would catch a rock with the toe of one of his boots, some hidden obstacle buried under the piles of frozen water that stretched out before him, a ocean given solid form, tripping him and sending him tumbling forward. More commonly the sled would just veer one way or another, slipping sideways despite the steady pull of the younger DeWitt brother, its long skids catching the snow instead of sliding over it, fighting his pull, refusing to move.
Joelle panted into the inside of her facemask, the thin paper shield already wet with the labor of their climb, the clouds of her breathing cut into the tiniest of shards through the fabric that covered her mouth. She could have lifted the mask, rested it on her wool hat, but the mask's long, thin straps were holding her hair in place, keeping it from whipping and snapping in the wind, so it stayed, trading one comfort for another.
Dave’s eyes fluttered open, a thick splash of stars filling his vision as his pupils stretched and squeezed to find focus. He was on his back, he realized, the pull of gravity heavy on each of his limbs, only his eyes able to move, picking out constellations he thought he knew while also trying to find sense in the way that some of the stars swayed in front of his eyes, pinpoints of white that dipped and spun, dancing around the field of his vision.
Stacey bounded over the edge of the ridge, sliding as much as she stepped, as she moved down the side of the mountain. The space she traveled over was rocky and stark, as barren and inhospitable as what they had left behind at their home on Rollins Pass, but the slope of the mountain was covered with several feet of snow, left smooth and featureless by the endless blanket of white. As she pushed through it large and small clumps of snow slid with her, gravity pulling her and what she kicked up at an equal speed down the mountainside, more clumps coming free with each jumping stride, the snow catching her again after each time she took flight.
No one spoke. Instead, they just looked at the bottom of their enameled mugs, pushed their spoons around the inside of them, searching for more, perhaps just searching for a distraction. They were all tired in a way that felt consuming, that felt powerful and heavy in their empty limbs, their newly-filled bellies growling and gurgling, their stomachs unwilling to share what they had with the rest of their bodies.
Pat offered a weak, tired smile, and then added a thankful nod, as Owen helped lower him down to the snow, the lanky man barely providing enough weight to counter balance Pat's bulk.
"Thanks, kid," Pat groaned. After catching Owen's annoyed expression at being called “kid” again, he raised a hand and added a quick, "My apologies."
Owen's frown turned, slipped free and disappered, replaced by his own weak smile as he stood over the man.
Stacey lifted her ski goggles to rest the padded plastic visor on her forehead, her face immediately hit with a blast of frozen air that made her eyes water and clouded her vision. She stopped moving, turning to look behind her, her gaze falling on the line of her fellow members of Camp Corona, blinking to clear her vision, her vision only filled with the glare of sunlight reflected by the snow.