Josie Moor whimpered as she looked around at all the snow. What didn’t help was the fact that she was also covered in snow. Freezing cold, soaking wet, and wondering why on earth she thought of trying to find whatever it was she was looking for, here in the middle of nowhere. She couldn’t even remember the last time she’d seen a sign for anything.
She was starving and angry, and in all truth, terrified. This was not something she planned on. According to the forecast, it was going to be lovely walking weather. Not a cloud in the sky. Yes, it was going to be cold, but that was to be expected in the height of winter.
She was freezing cold, and it wasn’t fair. She didn’t want to die on this vacation. No, this was to reassess her life, reevaluate what was important, and to just … find what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. At thirty years old, she found she was no longer happy.
Life was about work. Nothing else. Work. Work. Work. Work.
There were no friends, no boyfriends or husbands, not even any children. Certainly no pets. No dogs or cats.
She woke up thinking about work.
She went to sleep thinking about work.
Work on the weekends.
Work in the evenings.
She was an artist at an advertising firm. Having worked her way from the ground up, she had earned her spot as being one of the best in the company. Her only problem—she was dying inside.
Josie didn’t even know what happened. One moment, she was happily working away, not caring that she had nothing and no one, only to end up stumbling into a park one day to eat lunch. Her cell phone died, for no good reason, and it took her a moment to realize it was her thirtieth birthday, and she … had nothing.
Sure, she was a wealthy woman, and lived in a nice apartment, but there was nothing else to her life. When your work colleagues remembered it was your birthday before you did, well, that was just laughable. In fact, it had been a wake-up call.
Her life wasn’t meant to be all about work, only it had sunk into that with every passing day. So, she’d made sure to finish all pressing projects, and then taken some much-needed vacation time. The plan had been to find herself, or to find something.
It had been going so well. She’d been staying in a beautiful cabin with wonderful views of the countryside, the world. Peaceful. No sounds of a honking horn, arguing people, the somewhat static that came with city life. Here, she heard the birds, nature, the simplest majestic sound of the wind through the tress, the sound of rustling leaves. Sounds she had forgotten were so calming and beautiful.
There was nothing beautiful about this snowstorm. It had been a long time since she was terrified, but she was more than making up for that now. Her heart raced and she had a horrible feeling she might have sprained her ankle. Not too bad, but it was making walking uncomfortable.
“Help!” she yelled.
Even her voice seemed to get swallowed up in the storm. Panic completely consumed her. She rubbed at her chest. The temperature had plummeted so damn fast. She continued to scream for help and as she did, she couldn’t see where she was going. Stumbling in the snow, which had already started to cover her feet, she knew it wouldn’t be long before she lost any sense of calm. Squinting through the darkness, she didn’t know if it was her imagination or if someone was coming toward her with a torch.
“Anyone there?” The loud booming voice was a huge relief.
“Help. I’m over here. Help. Please. I need help.” She had no idea what to do. She didn’t want to risk moving, but the man who’d come to save her looked like he was turning in the opposite direction. “No, please, stay!” She started to move and as she did, she stood on her leg with the sprained ankle and a shot of pain rushed through her body. She screamed and fell to her knees. In that moment, she was thankful for the snow cushioning her fall. Her knees were much better with the snow than the hard solid ground.
Another wave of panic rushed over her, but suddenly the light shone in her face. She couldn’t quite make out the man.
“Are you okay? Are you injured?”
“I don’t know. I think I sprained my ankle.”
“What the fuck are you doing wandering around here?” he growled out the words. Considering how loud the storm was, it was a shock to her to hear him complaining.
Why did he care what she was doing out here? She wouldn’t say that. He might leave her there.
Josie was about to ask him what they were going to do, when he suddenly wrapped his arms around her legs, then another across her back, and she was lifted up from the snow. No one had been able to lift her in a long time. She wasn’t a thin woman, not by any means.
“What are you doing?” she asked.