Lesser of Two Evils

I shivered and held my children closer. I could feel their involuntary shivering and hear their bellies rumble. Wrapped in every stitch of clothing we owned, huddled in the middle of a pile of threadbare blankets as thick snow flakes quickly erased the world outside into a blinding blank canvas, we waited.

“Where’s daddy?” one of the tiny, blue-lipped faces asked.
“Shh, hush now. I’m sure he’ll be back before the Grim return.”
“What if they got him?!”

I wove my body even closer to theirs. I listened to the wind howl around the eaves. This had been someone’s home before the Grim had ripped it apart, opening it like a clam to get the shivering, screaming meat inside. It sheltered us from the wind, but not the cold.

I heard one set of snores, at least the oldest could sleep. I moved my ear to the little one’s chest. I listened for a long time. Nothing. Tears froze on my cheeks. My baby.

If we didn’t freeze to death tonight, we’d starve to death tomorrow, or be found by the Grim. Bravely, I built a fire.

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