I wrapped as many of my things as I could in scraps of old plastic that I’ve acquired over the years, and loaded up my horse. Then Flecha and I set out.
We hadn’t been on the road long when the sleet started coming down. It soaked through my clothes, melted and dripped off my hat and trickled down the back of my neck. It wet Flecha’s coat as she plodded through the mud. At times it came down so hard we could hardly see, but most of the time it was just a steady drizzle of slush that was too wet and heavy to brush off, yet too cold to ignore. I kept looking for a place we could take shelter, but for mile after cold, soggy mile, I saw nothing.
We came to a fork in the road during the worst part of the day, with the sleet coming down so hard I could hardly bear to lift my head. Since there was no sign to mark the way, I chose blindly. I must have chosen wrong, because we continued on, still seeing nothing and no one. Was there no village out here, anywhere? Were we the last living creatures in this freezing gray world?
As if to mock me, the sky finally began clearing toward late afternoon. And that, of course, was when we saw a little cabin nestled behind some trees in a valley meadow. It looked to be falling to pieces, but it would have to do. By this point I could no longer control my shivering, and I could tell from Flecha’s drooping head and ears that she was as dejected as I was. With no guarantee we would find anything better by continuing, we had to stop.
It wasn’t much of a shelter, but there was enough room in the undamaged portion that Flecha and I could make camp. I even found some dry wood inside the cabin, so I was able to build a fire. But tonight, in spite of the fire and several cups of hot water flavored with manzanilla from one of my packs, I can’t get warm. My blankets are fairly dry, though, and I’m glad of that. I should’ve kept a better eye out for more plastic when I was in the city—it’s great stuff for keeping things dry in bad weather.
I’m going to add a little more wood to the fire and make some more tea. At least the weather is clearing. There must be some sort of town around here. I’m sure I’ll find it tomorrow, and whether there's sickness there or not, I'm buying coffee. And soup. And other hot things.
What wouldn't I give for my nice warm bed in Auntie's house right now!
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