Tree Line - Chapter Forty

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.


Tree Line - Chapter Thirty-Nine

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.


Tree Line - Chapter Thirty-Eight

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.


Tree Line - Chapter Thirty-Seven

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.


Tree Line - Chapter Thirty-Six

Dave leaned over the bandaged boy, using his free hand to steady himself, while grabbing some of his thicker clothes from a pile on the other side of the tent. He lifted them over Chase and stuffed the handful of sweaters and flannel into the bottom of the cavernous backpack he had positioned between him and the door, trying not to disturb his guest.


Tree Line - Chapter Thirty-Five

The younger DeWitt brother looked shaken. His eyes moved in fast jumps from face to face, like a rabbit darting from hiding spot to hiding spot, predators everywhere, but the boy was surrounded only by his fellow survivors at Camp Corona.

It was mid-day, the sun high above them, the group collected in their cooking area. They stood in a circle, the fire pit they used for cooking in the middle of them, a few pieces of charcoal still glowing in some places, still warm, but dying out under the steady assault of the cold. A wisp of smoke spun up from the burnt out hole, getting lost in the blue sky above them.


Tree Line - Chapter Thirty-Four

Stacey rolled the tiny vial of morphine in her hands, trying to drink up the last remaining drops of medicine with the tip of her needle, the bottom of the glass jar dry except for just one, stubborn drop that evaded her. Again and again it dodged the hungry end of her syringe, her eyes filling with frustrated tears as she struggled.