“The wagon lumbered along the mountain path, its rickety wheels bouncing and jerking as it ran across uneven stone. Blinding snow and wind whistled through the pass, coating the ground in a thick layer of white powder. The storm had worsened, and the two horses pulling the cart were now mere silhouettes as they trudged along.
He had been driving for almost the entire day, hoping to reach the other side of the peak by midday before this storm rose up and slowed his progress. It was getting colder and darker now.
He would have to hurry.
“Come’n, Buck. Come’n Len.”, the driver shouted over the wind, giving the reins a heavy downward flick to spur the horses.
The sky darkened slightly, like the shadow of a cloud moving overhead.
The merchant pulled his collar upward, coaxing the heat of his body to stay within the confines of his coat and pulled his hat tighter upon his head. The wind whistled and shrieked. The wagon wheel suddenly lurched upward, slamming down upon the hard stone as the wagon shuddered.
“Whoa there!”, the driver shouted.
The horses slowed and stopped, puffs of white breath emanating as they whinnied and shook their heads in agitation.
“Damnable weather. Bet not have thrown a wheel.”, the driver muttered, as he tied the reins off and dismounted from the pilot’s seat. Thick boots sank into the snow as he moved about the left side of the wagon, bending low to inspect the wheel. It was still attached, but a large crack wormed across the axle, threatening to snap under any additional stress.
The wind howled suddenly, and the wagon lurched forward a good ten feet, throwing the driver to the ground. Muttering, he picked himself up and brushed snow from his coat. Turning toward the front of the wagon, he took two steps forward to see the mangled remains of the neck yoke dangling from shattered wood.
The horses were gone.
Taking another step forward, the driver put a hand atop his head to keep his hat from flying off in the violent winds, shouting out the names of his horses.
“Buck! Len!”, he cried2E
He cupped a hand to his mouth and began to call again when he came across a bright red stain upon the snow. “What…?”
Kneeling down, the driver touched the fresh blood and glanced back toward the fury of the storm. It was getting colder, and darker.
He would have to hurry.”