CHAPTER 3

As I walked into the snow ridden night, I could feel the weight drop on me like a ton of bricks. I wasn't hiding anymore. I couldn't hide anymore. He had found me anyway. I don't know how, and I didn't bother to ask questions. I acted as any man protective of his life would. An answer was a luxury that I could no longer afford. But he had found me nonetheless, and it only built the certainty that more would be on their way. Now I was out in the open. Engulfed by the white shadow of the snow, but still out in the open.
As I marched through the long night, my mind wandered to what I would do next. What my next move would be. Like a game of chess inside my head. I had to pay attention to the pieces remaining, I had to pay attention to the moves being made, and most importantly I had to pay attention to him. The player who was searching for that check mate. The King on the board. I knew he had been certain that his last effort was to be it. I saw the man who arrived in my cabin amidst the snowy night, and he was no pawn. He was the queen. The King had only played him in absolute belief that it would not go to waste. But he was wrong. For months I had been in that cabin alone. I had learned to sleep with both eyes open. I had become more aware than ever before, and my senses were more keen than they had ever been. His move had failed.
It was evident that I must run. It would only be a matter of time before others came to discover the fallen man. By then I would be long gone. Not even a shadow cast behind me to point them in the direction. They would not stop until I was dead... He would not stop until I was dead. I held something he wanted. These are the thoughts that stormed through my head, like the blizzard storming through the snow ridden fields I now traveled on. By the time I stopped to rest beside a frozen stream, the cabin was miles behind my feet, and further beyond my mind. The cabin was no longer as much as a ghost dwelling in the cemetery of my past, filled with the skeletons of times long since gone.
But the weather that ravaged the Korvain countryside was already taking its toll on me. I had been secluded in hiding for months. Now out here amidst a frozen desert my body was crumbling with every step I took. I was tired and hungry. Who knew how long I had been traveling for. I checked the time piece in my coat pocket out of sheer desperation. My mind was growing numb, and my body was aching for sleep. But I knew the longer I lay there, the less chance I had of ever getting up. I could barely see the ancient time piece through the snowy mist though it hung only inches from my tired eyes. "9:30. Making good time... I can go further though." Words spoken is a desperate attempt to wake my body into action. It worked.
I slowly stood and brushed the ice and snow from myself. Then I proceeded. Slowly at first as the blood struggled in its epic quest to circulate through my freezing veins, and instill me with a new sense of vigor and strength. I struggled much the same through the thick snow that lie under me. For hours I must have struggled... perhaps more than a day. I made my way across the ravaged country side. With all the might my weary body could muster I traveled on and on. Harder and harder with every ounce of energy I lost. The more tired I became, the more focused and stronger my will became. I was no longer human. I was a machine. But machines break. And just like that I stumbled to the icy ground scraping my face hard against the jagged ice that lay covered in a false and deadly camouflage of soft snow. It stung as it cut through the soft frost bitten skin.
And then I couldn't go on. I had to rest. That was just another of my foolish mistakes. The second I allowed my body to rest, it all came tumbling in. My mind gave way to the dizziness of my tired soul. The world turned from white to technicolor in the blink of an eye. The snow danced for me endlessly as my mind slipped from consciousness. The colors took my eye, and made my mind soar with amazement. Deep down I knew it was all just a deadly trick of delirium, but somehow I no longer had control. I struggled with the last ounces of energy I had in me to gain control. And with a snap my sanity returned. My mind came to focus on the snow... but it was no longer white. It was red with the oozing mortality that flowed from my face like water from a mountain spring... And once again I fell. Only this time it was to darkness.