How much snow there was hadn’t been a thought until I hit the ground. It immediately soaked my shoes, but I was thankful it softened my landing.

            The hardest part of escaping was going to be passing the windows both the living room and kitchen shared. The wall between the windows was so narrow that I couldn’t stand behind it from the outside and remain hidden, so my only option was to stay low.

            Another part of my plan the snow was screwing up.

            I dropped to my stomach and pushed my backpack out in front of me so they wouldn’t see it sitting atop my back. I considered laying it on the back of my legs, but I felt more comfortable keeping it in front of me. Sliding across the snow soaked my shirt and slid it further down my chest. I hadn’t expected to be this cold this soon, but I figured someone would help me once I was far away enough.

            Pushing my backpack across the snow gave me little to no trouble, and the sounds from inside made me forget about my chest’s cold burn. I was almost at the end of the house when the window above me shattered. Glass fell on my head and back, but I couldn’t feel whether or not it cut me. I looked to my right and saw a marble candle holder sticking out of the snow.

            With a hole in the window, I could now clearly hear what was going on inside. It was worse than it was before I jumped, but it wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard before. I continued my crawl towards the front of the house. I had no urge to get up and look through the window. If anything, I now felt better about my decision to leave.

            Once I was sure I could get up and remain out of sight, I stood up and tried to shake off the snow from my shirt. Doing so made no difference because it was soaking wet. My shirt hung so loose on me that the cold wind hit my bare skin and froze my lungs. I was going to get sick, but if a little cold was the worst thing to happen, then so be it.

            Putting my backpack on deepened the chill in my body and reminded me I needed to find someplace warm before I could leave town. I shook and wiped off as much snow as I could. As I did, the front door of the house on the wall perpendicular to me swung open. My father’s hoarse yells were closest, but I could still hear my mother’s shrill screams. He barked a few more obscenities at her before he started running.

            I could hear how the cold affected him. His huffing and puffing were loud and lungs had to work extra hard. Having to hold the back of his head was only slowing him down.

            My mother’s yells were getting closer. I turned around to see if I could run back the way I came, but I didn’t want to risk her seeing me through the windows. And I couldn’t crawl beneath them fast enough to get away

            I crouched against the side of the house with my arms wrapped around my body and jaw clenched. I closed my eyes and took the deep breaths my father and I practiced, but a looming presence broke my concentration.

            I opened my eyes and saw my mother looking down at me with her familiar sinister expression, but this time, she was holding a bloodied marble candle holder.

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