The friends had hunkered down into the snow covered grass, bracing themselves against the chill wind that came up from the north of them. It smelled of wood smoke and burning gas. The trees that surrounded the area looked like ancient guardians protecting their small treasures. They were far enough up on the side of the hill that they could see the entirety of Jenton spread out below them. It was a good way of watching the fire spread. It had started to snow again, this time, small bits of ash fell with the white flakes.
“Benj, got a plan?” Deck asked, his words muffled under the patter of snow. He had pulled a hunting mask on over his face to cut the chill.
Benj prodded at leaves in the snowy tundra. “New York.” Sun Hee leaned against his arm, her hoodie pulled over her beanie.
“New York?” baffled, Nat asked. He watched his friend carefully, or rather, the pain that ran under his skin watched the man. The nerd had been made fun of for his clothing style and straight A’s and the way he spoke sometimes. The teasing had stopped when Deck and Yeller took him under their wing. That was after Benj had let into the side of Deck for making a pass at Sun Hee. Benj practiced Muay Thai in an underground ring on a weekly basis. That was how he was able to afford most of his expensive little electronic toys.
Nat gazed at the rest of the group. His stomach pinched at the realization that his home would soon burn with the rest of the town. The wind played with his hair and tugged at his warm coat before dying down once again. His ears pricked up. A tree limb snap. He shrugged it off as the cold breaking a corroded joint. His mesmerizing green eyes returned to the scene in front of him. He bit his chapped lips against the cold and brushed at his ears as grainy snow flew into them.
The pressure in his head had not ceased. He shut his eyes against the pain. An itching deep in his chest, subtle, almost a tickle, prickled his skin. He coughed once to see if he could discourage it.
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