Prompt for July 8, 2016

Complete the short story/flash fiction, that has the following opening:

The wind was cold, not just cool, but damned cold. I was dressed for warmer climes and the biting wind tore right through me, making me wish that I had worn that extra shirt. Yeah, if I owned an extra shirt. I was traveling the country, searching for, well, something, I’m not quite sure what, and over the course of the past nine months my wardrobe had been reduced to a single pair of pants, one clean shirt, some underwear, shoes and a coat.

Yeah, it was pathetic, but I still didn’t go home. I couldn’t go home, not after what I had told my Dad. It had almost been a knockdown fight, but having Mom in the room had stopped it from getting that far. I said some things that I shouldn’t have, he said some things that he shouldn’t have and like the hotheads that we are neither of us apologized. Neither of us bent.

My mom had a saying, hell, she had a saying for everything, that while you may admire the oak for its strength, when a strong wind comes it is more likely to break than the willow. I never really understood that until about twenty miles from home after I started my walkabout, but it was too late to go back. Just like it was now.

My concern right now was making sure that I could get to the youth hostel about five miles away. Oh, god, five miles in this freezing weather. My teeth were chattering so loud that it’s no wonder I didn’t hear the car behind me. I couldn’t. The wind, my teeth clattering together, the crunching of snow underneath my shoes, all of these things combined to make me oblivious to everything except my own pain.

The car whipped by me, going much too fast for the conditions, the lights from the car illuminating a small area in front of it. The snow was coming down too fast and the wind was blowing it around so much that it was impossible to see much more than fifty feet in front of the car. The jackass didn’t seem to care. As he started to go around the bend in the road ahead of me I saw another figure on the road, a woman, and I could have sworn that he hit her, but I didn’t hear the crunch of someone hitting the vehicle or the swerving I would have expected if someone had actually been there.

I couldn’t help myself, I ran for the bend in the road just to make sure, just to satisfy myself that there wasn’t someone lying on the ground in pain.
I looked for footprints in the snow, but there were none. The tire tracks ran straight and true around the corner with nothing intersecting them. It was so cold that I was hallucinating. Maybe this was the end of the line. Maybe this was what I had been searching for, my own death. Maybe my Dad was right after all. He’ll probably never know.

I collapsed onto my knees, the cold of the snow and asphalt leeching into me with the quickness of a rattlesnake. I fell forward and turned as I did so, landing on my back, staring up into the snow as it fell. My eyes seemed to be frozen open, I couldn’t blink, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t breathe. I stared as I felt my life fade. The darkness closed in and I prepared to find out what was on the other side of the wall.

But as my vision faded I heard a voice say “Not yet, my champion, not yet.”

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