“Survival of the Chosen, 10”

by Brianna G. Harte

Hammering in nails to the splintering wood, I could not be found in a celebrating mood. “It wasn’t a complete success, and you both know it.”

“Calm down, Tristen,” Reen told me. “We know that. It’s easier to try to forget about it. Dwelling on it won’t change anything.”

“Neither will ignoring it.”

“Are you alright, Tristen?”

“Why?”

“You’re never this irritable.” Estan shook his head as he cut new pieces of wood, trying not to collect splinters with his skin.

Giving a glance to either side, Tristen sighed. He lowered his voice. “You would be too if your mother was on the list.”

Reen and Estan nearly forgot their work. “No,” came a breathless whisper.

I rammed the next nail deep into the wood.

Brushing his hair back and rubbing his neck, Estan’s face drooped. “No one’s safe then. Your mother has got to be the one of the most spiritual people in our community.”

“She didn’t sound like it earlier,” Tristen sighed, trying to keep his voice from wavering.

“Three! Thirteen! Eighteen!” A voice bellowed close by. “Shut your trap and get to work!”

Reluctantly, we resumed the tasks given to us. Once the instructor’s back turned, Johanna shuffled over to us, proceeding to dig into the icy ground as she had a distance away. Not a word came from her mouth. Her raven hair plastered to her wet wool clothes as though she fell into the snow not long ago. Though she could be clumsy at times, there was no way she would end up in the snow and get soaked from head to toe from the white ground. Wool was not something easily dried, especially in cold weather, and more than likely, she did not own another woolen outfit to keep her warm.

“What happened to you, Johanna?” Reen asked in a soft tone.

Johanna opened her mouth to speak, but quickly lowered her head and grit her teeth.

Copyright © 2016 Brianna G. Harte. All rights reserved.

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