Chapter 6 – February 9B

For decades, the power company had guarded the artificial lake’s shoreline jealousy, but eventually the allure of profitable real estate transactions proved too compelling. Development along the south shore, which Rune was approaching now, had lagged behind that of the north, across the lake, with easier access to county roads leading onto the state highway. The south shore developers feuded openly with each other — lawsuits were common. Rune heard his father’s voice, if those damn fools spent as much on infrastructure as they did on lawyers, we’d have a freaking resort down there.

Rune pressed on, stumbling between the dark trees, the tiny lights in the distance growing closer, the mechanical hum distinctive now. Generator. He let the sound, the light draw him closer, not appealing to him as things of themselves but rather as beacons leading him to the place he had wanted to find since stepping off the front step of his home. Lakeshore. He had no more idea now of what he expected to find than he had when he’d begun the journey, but being able to see his destination after so much time trekking through the snow and ice, the cold, the permeating darkness, the tangled maze of the bitter woods, after so much struggling to know he was almost there, a jolt of energy ran down through his legs, he ran faster and stumbled, gloved hands crashing in the white surface beneath him, but he righted himself without hesitating — a heavy low branch, he had to sidestep clear — he was in a tight clump of trees, go further to the right, he could see the vapor of his breath bursting from his mouth as he finally reached a clearing, now the walls of trees thinned in front of him and he could see it!, the black water of the lake. The shore line was no further than fifty feet away.

He coughed, again, held out a hand and leaned against an oak. Needed to catch his breath, before taking the final steps of his journey.

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