“Jolien! I brought a visitor!” Crys opened the door to the cabin, absent minded himself, Gela right at his side, only to find the house empty. No sign of his brother, his sister in law and his nephews. Worried he turned around in the open door, behind the pale young woman the sun was nigh the western mountain ridges.

Jolien and his family wouldn’t be out of shouting range to the cabin that close to sundown. Hoping that they would return shortly he pulled Gela inside and closed the door. After taking off all the warm clothes and snowshoes he led Gela to the fire place, she still was absent minded. Contrary to her initial fear of fire he had no trouble sitting her down next to the fire place.

Crys’ face was covered with worrisome wrinkles, the fire was high, meaning it had been tended to a short while ago, there even was kettle full of soup next to it.

He looked around in the cabin. No signs of struggle anywhere. “I will be right back.” he got up and patted Gelas shoulder. Quickly he withdrew his hand as his eerie guest was ice cold, not like a living breathing human that had spent hours in the cold, but like a log that had been out in the snow for days.

“Don’t go.” Gela slowly turned her head. “They might be out there.” she whispered, in the shining turquoise eyes of hers he saw nothing but fear. “My brother and his family are out there!” he leaped for the door, only to notice that their sleigh was missing. Irritated he backed away from the door. Perhaps someone had an accident, maybe Joliens leg got worse, and tgey rode the sleigh down to the village? Again Crys looked around, they would’ve left a corresponding note for him.

Nothing.

“They got to them.” Gela stared into the distance. “I hope they didn’t see us enter, avoid going outside in any case, if they see no one in a house they culled they’ll assume it still empty.” her gaze drifted to the fire.

Instinctively she jumped away from it with a loud terrified shriek. Afterwards Crys stared at her with a blank expression for several minutes.

“Why do you stare at me like that?” Gela had calmed down.

Blushing the young man shied away his eyes from her bloodstained body, the bearskin had fallen off as she had jumped up in terror. “Forgive me, but I have never seen a naked woman before.”

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