“Aren’t you scared?”
She glanced at the boy beside her; he was so small, but his eyes were sharp. Untainted, yet unafraid. She, all the more, had no reason to be. “It’s okay. She’s my friend.”
His expression was curious. “Friend?” Jonas asked tentatively, as if trying out the word for the very first time.
Luella nodded, her gaze on the path ahead. Something – or someone – was out there, just behind the veil of mist. “She’s not gonna hurt us,” she said with the certainty of a seven-year-old.
He seemed to sense the presence, too, for he suddenly tensed, and instinctively put his hand inside his jacket. He was only eleven, but he’d been forcibly trained as a soldier of the mountains; his fight-or-flight instincts were kicking in.
But Luella remained impassive. If she was breathing hard, it was only because of the hike, and not out of…
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