Chapter Six

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I could feel the zip tie digging into my skin as Asten pulled me along through the snow.

His fingers were wrapped around my bicep. There was no point in resisting. I'd already tried multiple times and each time ended up with a face full of snow. My jacket was already filled with it, and I could feel my wet shirt pressing against my skin. It wouldn't be long before I started to smell like a wet dog.

Asten paused, and looked around us. The trees were the same as they had been five minutes ago when I'd tried attacking him. Now, I realized how bad of an idea that had been. I'd never taken any type of combat training in my life, and the extent of my fighting skills was being able wield a knife or gun. The fight had already been over from the moment it started.

I could tell that the forest was beginning to thin out, as the trees were separated by wider expanses of snow. We were getting close. Behind us lay a map of footprints leading towards our inevitable destination. The store was bigger now – a white blob in front of us. I had no idea how much time had passed. We didn't really have clocks to check that anymore.

At least, up here we didn't. At the Equator? Who knew.

But if we were getting close, I didn't have a lot of time to try to break away.

It was the only thing keeping me from going completely ballistic. My plan. I would find a way to fight back. Even if I wasn't nearly as good as him, I had a determination that he didn't at that moment. My life was at risk. His money was. At least that's what I assumed.

I would fight to death. I had nothing left to live for anyway. If I had to die to avoid being sold, I would do it.

Anything to save me from that.

He began walking again, his boots leaving deep imprints in the still newly forming snow. I knew I couldn't do anything too sudden, since he was on alert for that. With every passing second the store in the distance grew larger, and my panic increased.

And with panic, came loss of thought.

I didn't have time to plan or think.

I pulled back against his grip, shoving away from him. He turned his head in my direction, looking somewhat annoyed that I was trying this again. This had already happened multiple times. My boots dug into the snow, pushing back against him, and he grabbed my arm tighter. His fingers began turning white from the grip, as my face began turning red from the effort to pull away.

I sucked in a deep breath and pulled harder than before.

His fingers fell off me. In seconds, my hands grabbed his jacket, shoving him to the snow beneath me as I let out a feral cry. My fingers found the knife tucked in it, and I sloppily pressed the zip tie against it until it snapped, just before he managed to roll away.

I ran.

My eyes set on the open landscape in front of me, and my feet took me there. I could hear Asten curse from behind me, and then the sound of his own boots following mine. It felt like I was in a chase dream where no matter how fast I tried moving, I barely moved at all. The snow made it difficult. My desperation urged me on, and I stopped looking forward, to instead look down.

I had to avoid tripping.

Avoid mistakes. Avoid falling.

Anything wrong could get me captured.

I looked up just in time to see the one thing I was dreading. I felt my body slam into the person a second too late. My legs buckled as the weight of the person I crashed into fell on top of me, and I struggled to move beneath it. I could hear heavy breathing along with a loud gasp of surprise, as the unbearable weight was lifted off me.

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