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Winter's Song -- FWG Flash Fiction for 12/16/2020

This week's prompt is properly Winter-themed. My 300-word piece follows.

Sashi ignored Gram’s warnings about the weather and set off to Heather’s cabin. The path through the woods was well-worn and she knew every twist and turn, every rock and fallen log. Taking her time, picking the last mushrooms of the season, she sang to the woodland creatures, as she often did. In her imagination, she heard them singing in response.

The storm came quickly, turning the forest from green and familiar to white and foreboding. Sashi knew a particularly beautiful spot where she would watched the sunset. This evening’s was fiery red with the onrushing storm. She lingered too long, though, watching the fat flakes fall. When she turned to continue her trek, everything was different. The path was obscured. The light was failing. Sashi was lost.

With some trepidation, she trudged through the growing blanket of snow. Her confidence swelled, though, when she found tracks to follow, head down against the wind. Soon the single set of footprints became two. When they became three, Sashi’s confidence evaporated as she knew she was only following herself.

She spun in circles and her mind succumbed to a rising panic. The whipping wind howled through the trees its moaning rhythm echoed by Sashi’s sobs. Lost, desperate, with tears freezing to her cheeks,

she caught her breath and a susurrus settled over the wood. The whispering murmur grew, started by the trees, but picked up by the deer and squirrels and rabbits. The familiar tune broke through Sashi’s despair. It was the tune she sang each time she passed through the wood and her woodland friends knew it well.

Blindly, Sashi followed the song’s lure until she saw the cabin’s glow through the trees. Relief washed over her, and rabbits cavorted joyfully as she leant her own voice to the song.

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