Snippet of Lethean Shroud

The earthy scent of oaken decay clung in the damp night air. Hints of a disturbing odor wafted through the brush. Dank, feral. Rayanna ducked under a low branch and shuffled downhill, skidding a bit on the moss and leaves underfoot. She nearly collided into the officer as he slowed his pace.

He flicked a quick glance at her. “You really don’t remember a single detail?”

Her voice rattled on the surface of shallow breath. “Who would get lost in a dark forest on purpose?”

“Mmm. Exactly.”

The forest’s chill bit deeper and the fog rose in thickening layers. Rayanna grit her chattering teeth against the intense pain on her raw arms. “It’s s-so cold.”

He flashed the stinging beam of light into her eyes, then lowered it to her neck. “Sorry. I could unload my pockets if you need to borrow my jacket.”

Leafy swishes and a crackle snapped her attention to the shadows beyond their trail. “How far is it?”

“Another couple of miles or so.” The officer gently hung his jacket over her shoulders. “What should I call you?”

“I dunno.” Briny musk and sandalwood scents billowed from the coat around her. The satin lining chafed a bit against her burns. She stiffened at first, but her shoulders shuddered and softened in the embrace of warmth.  “What should I call you? You never said your name.”

“Oh, right.” He extended his hand. “Officer Grantham Bowery.”

She gripped his hand and squinted through the haze of misty darkness at the shadows veiling his face. “I’m, uh …”

“Lethean, like the river of forgetfulness in Greek myth.” Officer Bowery squeezed her hand. “But we could shorten it to Ann.”




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