Keep Going

“I can’t not do everything I could to see my daughter,” she said. “I can’t just stay here.”

“We’ll rest a moment, then see what we can do, okay?”

He kissed her forehead then, nothing more than a soft brush of his lips against her skin.

“We ready?” he said.

She was chilled to the bone, but she wasn’t going to stop. She wasn’t going to let this take her.

They helped each other to their feet and took a tentative step away from the ravine edge. The wind hit them full force and the shiver sunk to her core.

They walked. And walked until she was so cold. She couldn’t tell if they were holding hands anymore.

When she fell, she stayed in the snow a long cold minute, relishing the way it supported her weary arms and legs.

“Judy,” Stud said, pulling her to her feet. “We gotta keep moving. If you hold still, you’ll die.” He swallowed once, then said, “I’m not leaving you.”

She groaned and put her arm around his waist. Not that there was any warmth to be had from his body now, but just so she’d know they weren’t alone. Just so she wouldn’t wonder whether he was still holding her hand.

The light changed. The overhead sunshine came through the clouds and snow. A lighter grey in the terrible smudge of their world.

She wouldn’t have even driven in this. She’d have pulled over and wrapped herself in a blanket, turning on Roscoe long enough to get a little warmth, then wrapping up again, to save gas to last the storm.

When he finally tripped, there was little she could do to help him. He was too big for her to move and in her weakened state, she just crept next to him in the snow and rested her head against his chest.

“I’m sorry,” she said again.

He reached his head down and kissed her forehead again. “I am too.”

She shivered once, then gave up and held on to him in the snow, waiting for a spring thaw to reveal their demise.

She hugged him one last time and closed her eyes, giving in to the cold and the snow.


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