This is a one shot story for the Roman Eagle Fanfiction Contest of February
Bethy stumbled through the valley of snow, her breath quick and fast. "Jack!" She cried out in exhaustion. "Jack can we take a break?" She clasped her hands together, as if praying. Her cheeks were rosy, and her eyes were duller from when they started out. Jack glanced down indifferently at his little sister. Really, she's so pathetic. He thought to himself. Through narrowed eyes, he replied harshly. "No, we keep going. No more whining." With that he turned on his heel, his long legs striding easily across the field of snow. Bethy nodded dutifully, but inside she was so cold. Her hands had long since lost feeling, and her lungs found it harder to breathe the thin air. But despite her miserableness she was also excited. Bethy's eyes glowed in excitement. Finally she glanced up and saw Jack had already pulled ahead. She hurried after him, tripping onto her face now and than.
Jack glanced backward, to see if his sister was keeping up. He sighed as he noticed her face plant into another snowdrift. Taking large steps, he reached her. Jack pulled her up gently but firmly. As much as she annoyed him, he didn't want her to get hurt. He felt how cold she was and her hair was frozen in clumps. Groaning inwardly, Jack debated on giving her his jacket. The angel on his should get eventually out debated the mini devil on his shoulder. He stood Bethy in front of him. Placing his hands on her shoulders, he said sternly. "If I give you my jacket, promise to be very careful with it. Ok?" He frowned down. Bethy nodded seriously and reached for the jacket. "Promise.." Jack said, quietly this time. The jacket was the last thing his mother had made by her own hands. Right before she died. His breath turned foggy in front of him, just like the morning of her death. After that people were always telling him how sorry they were. Jus empty words rang in his ears all year long. Empty words empty phrases. Bethy warned up quickly, and was soon laughing merrily. "C'mon Jack!" She beamed and ran ahead. Jack raced after her, his legs easily closing the distance between them. Jack glanced up, noticing storm clouds. He sighed. "Just my luck." He muttered under his breath. Bethy was struggling to keep up- but she ran the entire way. Soon they reached the top of cliff edge. Jack halted and spun around. "Bethy" he said seriously. "Stay close to me and away from the edge of the cliff- you could fall." Without waiting for an answer he sprinted along the canyon. As he raced along, his thoughts did too. He remembered the emotions of his moms death. Adrenaline, confusion, rage, and mourning. Quiet tears trailed along his cheeks as he thought of the attack. He angrily wiped the snot and water off his face. He remembered that cornered look, and the shriek that escaped her lips. Her mouth open and eyes wide as she reached for a hold, arms swinging wildly. And what had he done? Nothing- absolutely nothing. He panted from the running, and memories flooding back. He saw Bethy a good half mile behind home. Jack sat on the cliff edge and thought some more. His fingers tapping his pant leg, and lips pressed in a line from concentration. --- The village was starving. All game in the woods was dead, and the vegetation was wiped out from the frost. All water was frozen, and difficult to drink. His mom, was leader of their village. But she decided it was time to travel somewhere safer- a place their father had lived. She had only mentioned it a few times- that of a.. Soldier camp? Jack winced as he remembered the journey in search of this camp. The wind was howling, and snow bit at his eyes and cheeks. Vulnerable skin was left to suffer the harsh conditions. They forced their way through the blizzard. Finally, after many miles of traveling and starving, they came upon smoke. Immediately, Jack, Bethy, and his mom raced for the smoke, because where there is smoke there is fire. They saw a soft glow, and warmth from the distance. It lit slowly, and blew with the wind. Figures Croat out from behind the fire. And his mom stumbled forward, as if expecting them. "Lupa!" She had cried exhaustedly and tearfully. The figures snarled, and Jack realized they weren't human. Than came a terrible voice, "Your mortal eyes deceive you, woman. I am Lycone- King of the Werewolves!" After a mighty howl, and Bethy stopped trembling, the king gave a grin. "What can I do to help?" The other wolves snarled, agreeing. (Sarcastically) Jacks mom paled, and put her arm protectively in front of her children. "I am afraid I'm mistaken, and we must be going." She stumbled. Bethy and Jack were shocked, their mom never stuttered. The werewolves grew in the waning moonlight, and began howling menacingly. Jacks mom grabbed Bethy into her arms and grabbed Jacks hand. "Run!" She screamed out, terrified. They only made it so far into that blizzard. The wind pushed against them, and they could not see. Many times Jack fell. They heard howled and scrambling of claws on ice and snow. Jack fell once more- and called to his mom. "I can't go any farther-wait!" He cried desperately. His mom was too far ahead. A cold feeling overtook him- and one silver claw caught his attention. Jack moved his head, and the clad ripped down his shoulder. He screamed and threw his arm for a swing at his leg- but managed to get a direct hut to the stomach. His arms and legs filled with adrenaline, he ran ahead of the wolf. He raced harder than ever before- running directly into his mother. She stood there holding Bethy, her eyes wildly looking every which way. A wast cliff spread before them- one more step and she would have fallen. The wolves entered through a sun rise assault- ganging up on all sides. They snarled and one leapt with its teeth bared and claws outstretched. Jack and his mother sidestepped, but the claws struck his moms arm. She groaned and released Bethy to the ground, and the attacker fell down the cliff. He howled as his body bounced off rocks- and his skull was brutally crushed. Bethy huddled onto Jacks leg- whimpering. Jack stood frozen, unsure what to do. The other wolves eyes glinted, and their bodies stood ready to pounce. His mom tensed, and than stood still. She turned to her children, eyes filled with tears. Jack remembered every word. "My Children, know what I do is an act of love. Keep each other safe- I love you both dearly." She gently held their hands and the three stood out on the cliff, hand in hand. The wolves drew closer- and leaped, one at a time. One struck Jack in the chest, so he grabbed its waist, flipping it over his waist and over the edge. Bethy fell beneath two wolves, and they snapped at her legs. She screamed and batted at their eyes. Meanwhile his mom did not fare so well. Her hand snapped off, and bleeding- she struggled to stay awake. Red tinged her vision, and her roundhouse kick was misdirected. The werewolf used the momentum of the kick to Knox her backwards. Jacks mom caught her self, landing on both legs. But she tottered precariously between the edge of the cliff. Her arms swung wildly, and Jack watched fearfully. His mom looked at Bethy with a pained expression, and fell backwards with a shriek. Jack leaped forward- but the sound of bone hitting rock answered his theory. He dove towards Bethy, and landed a kick to a wolves stomach, and punched a wolf in the eye with a stick. Grabbing Bethy into his arms, he leapt off the cliff. Down they went, Bethy crying and Jack confused. They landed in a pillow of snow. --- Bethy caught up- her eyes glinting as she parted some snowballs into shape. She threw one at Jack and he winced. "STOP!" He yelled and Bethy shrank back. Her lower lip trembled and she dropped her half shaped snowman. Jack grunted annoyedly, and turned on his heel. "Pick up the pace" he growled after shoving her a little. Bethy started to answer- "ok-" but than gave a sudden shout. Jack didn't turn around, but he gritted his teeth. He was so tired of being the adult. It had been a year since his mom died. He could have saved her- but he didn't know what to do. Bethy had been in danger too. What should he have done? Jack had to grow up fast, and he hated being the responsible one. Bethy was always annoying him. He turned around to say so to her, when his eyes opened wide. Bethy teetered of the edge if the cliff, her snowball she had dropped in hand. Shrieking, she almost fell over. Jack lunged forward, grabbing her hands. He felt himself being dragged over too- but he stopped gravity. He dug his shoes into the rocks on the top of the cliff, and icy but sharp surface. Bethys eyes watered, and she whimpered. "Jack" she whispered quietly. All the sudden you could hear the maturity in her voice, maturity way above her age. Her arms slackened. She knew Jack was strong, but he couldn't pull her up. Jack looked down at her, too afraid to speak. Instead he grunted from effort. "Jack, let go," Bethy spoke softly. He fingers untangled themselves, but Jack hung on. "Jack-LET. GO." Bethy wrenched her hands from his and free fell towards the 500 foot drop. Jack screamed her name once, but it didn't matter. --- Later Jack found her body. Her skull cracked, and lying in a fetal position. Her hands cuddled the half-way done snowman she had made, but even than a soft smile lay on her lips. Jack couldn't believe it. He cuddled Bethy- wishing he could go back in time. He screamed her name over and over. If he had waited, if he had controlled his temper. His mom- what had she said. He grew frantic. "Watch out for each other" the words echoed. Jack rocked Bethys broken body. He cried, he sang to her. He held her snowman. The snowman melted after a few hours. Water soaking the jacket Bethy was wearing. Jack lay with his head, on her chest, he lay there for hours. "If only" he whispered to no one. Empty words, empty phrases.