Silently I walked, my hood pulled over my head. The night was cold, but it was always like that nowadays. I had my hands shoved into my pockets to keep them warm, but it wasn't doing much good. The horizon was dark over the crest of the hill. The sun had gone down over an hour ago, and the night was quiet.
But suddenly a surprised cry tore through the air. I started and turn, looking from where the sound came from. I saw a strange glow from over the crest of the hill and slowly walked towards the hilltop. When I got there, I saw a building on fire. I saw Neit there, Freya's little brother. He was jumping around and I saw his sleeve on fire. He scuffed it out and then ran off.
Neit set the stable on fire? That didn't seem right. Neit was thirteen. He helped his sister with the army ranks and town meetings. He couldn't have set the stables on fire.
Freya arrived about three minutes after and ran inside.
"Freya!" I yelled. Was she trying to kill herself? If the flames and heat didn't get to her, the ashes she was breathing in would. A horse ran out of the stables just then, and reared. Neit ran and caught the horse. I ran down the hill to help him.
"Margo?" he shouted. "Is that you?"
I pulled my hood down and ran over. "Yeah. What's up with Freya? Is she okay?"
"I don't know," he said, pulling the horse down. "She went in there and hasn't come out."
"Alright. Stay here, I'm going in there." I ran into the stable and saw her crumpled in the straw. I pulled my hoodie over my mouth and started coughing--not just a small cough. A deep, hacking cough that sent shivers through my whole being. She seemed to have breathed in too much ash and fainted from lack of oxygen.
"Freya?" I couldn't tell if she was breathing or not. I took her arm and pulled her up. "Come on, stand up. Your brother needs you."
At the mention of her brother, her eyes fluttered. "Where...?"
"Outside, come on." I could tell she was trying to walk, but the best she could really do was not resist. I pulled her as fast as I could and dove out the front door just as the building collapsed.
Then we sat there in the grass, dry coughs sending shivers up our bodies.