Back to the main event, here’s the next part of Frozen Dreams! Take a look at the archive if you need to catch up and happy Thanksgiving! It’s a short post today because I don’t have a lot of time, but work continues on my other projects, so stay tuned!
Frozen Dreams Part 2
Darya shouldered her rifle as she lit another cigar. The floor of the rough lookout post was littered with burnt stubs. She flicked the match away over the side. It fizzed briefly as its energy was extinguished by the snow. Darya inhaled deeply and held it for a moment, letting the smoke curl from the corners of her lips.
Her chestnut hair poked out from underneath her hat in angry tufts. She was wrapped in a heavy fur coat and thick soled boots. She could almost pretend that she wasn’t cold. Darya had been on watch for 3 hours and her eyes were sore from squinting into the wind and staring at so much white. The open structure of the lookout post did little to shield her from the biting wind. The fact that the boxy, wooden structure was elevated above the trees only made it worse. Darya frowned as she turned slowly, sweeping her gaze over the frozen forest. The thick pines were a double-edged sword. They hid the base from prying eyes but also served as a screen for would-be attackers.
But right now it wasn’t enemies she was looking for. It was friends.
Dimitri and Yanin had been gone for too long. Their patrol should have brought them back to base before it got dark. Darya glared at the swiftly rising sun. The fools were probably dead out there in the snow, victims of a Roxolani ambush. She swore and resumed her pacing. Three steps to reach the other side of the wood hut. Turn. Three steps back. Always returning to face the South, where she hoped to see a pair of mechs come loping into view each time. Each time she made the short circuit of the post and was disappointed her heart sank a little bit.
It was always harder not knowing what had happened. Most people would assume that seeing your buddies die right in front of you was the worst, but they were wrong. If she didn’t see them go, it was like it hadn’t really happened. She constantly saw the ones who just disappeared, the ones who had gone out on a mission and just never come back. Darya had lost count of the number of times she thought she saw the familiar face of a lost friend in a crowd. They haunted her at the base, in the taverns, in all their old hangouts.[A1]
There was always the stupid hope that they would come back alive or that they had been captured and would escape. Colonel Leja would puff up his chest and tell everyone to move on, to carry the fight forward in their memory. Darya chomped on the cigar as she turned around to begin another lap. Damn bastard would have them dead and buried before the official report even came in!
But Darya didn’t give up. In the back of her head she knew that most of those lost were already gone, the ones who had been missing for years. But that didn’t mean that they were all dead. A few of her friends and comrades could still be out there. They could even be waiting for her to come rescue them. She finished the cigar and dropped it onto the floor with its brethren.
“And now I’m waiting for you, you damn idiots.” She spoke out loud for the first time in hours.