The Gap Between You and Me - Chapter 12
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It seemed like it had been a while since Hugo had left to call someone. What time was it? When she looked up, it was already getting dark.
In terms of distance, it was not very far from the village. But finding the right path might be quite tricky.
No matter how old-fashioned he was, Hugo was a young boy of only eleven years of age. Moreover, unlike her, who wandered outside when she had spare time, he spent most of his time indoors. Will he be able to follow the trail safely? As time passed, Herietta became more and more concerned about the well-being of her younger brother.
Hoot hoot. The owl woke up in the evening and cried sadly. As if implying that night was coming soon, the temperature of the air became even cooler. The riding clothes she was wearing weren’t that thick, so the warmth wasn’t great. She was shivering, so she wrapped her arms around her body, leaned against one of the walls, and sat down on the ground.
Although there is a fairly deep and dense forest around the village, Philioche was generally evaluated as a safe area. This is because most of the animals living in the forest were herbivores such as rabbits and deer.
Of course, this did not mean that wild beasts did not inhabit it at all. There are no large beasts such as tigers or bears, but sightings of small beasts such as wolves, foxes, and wildcats have been constantly heard. So, if she spent the night like this, there was a possibility of her becoming a target of those hungry beasts.
‘Come to think of it, one of the villagers recently said that he went into the woods at night and met a pack of wolves and was in trouble.’
Herietta paled at the ominous rumor she suddenly remembered. She hoped that the rumored forest wasn’t the one around here.
Shaaaa. The sound of the leaves brushing could be heard as if the trees were dying due to the strong wind blowing. Normally she would have passed it on without much thought, but today, that sound sounded eerie.
In the forest, where the energy of night had descended, the appearance of the forest during the night was different from that of the day she knew well. Herietta gulped nervously. No matter how adventurous and curious she may be, she was, after all, only a 17-year-old girl, just as Hugo was an eleven-year-old kid. To say she wasn’t afraid would be a blatant lie.
“It snowed on top of a misty ridge.”
Herietta started humming the familiar melody, hoping that she would be less frightened if she sang.
The blizzard was so fierce that she couldn’t see an inch ahead.
Did it say that winter would be colder than ever?
Thanks to the warmth from you, I thought spring had already arrived.
The day the whole world turned white with wrinkled snow.
They ripped through the darkness and came to us.
Try to remember. Seeing the flames burning in purple
Finally, we saw ourselves drinking wine together.
What has changed? I didn’t know winter could be this cold.
In the black smoke, the blue sky is covered with gray
In front of the fragments of the vow that we will enjoy spring together again
Only the cups you and I haven’t finished yet are lying around.
My dear spring,
After this long winter passes, will you come back to me someday?
Spring I loved,
Just as I remembered you, please remember me too.
Rustle. Herietta heard a rustling sound while she was singing her song. She shut her mouth at once, held her breath, and listened intently to it.
Drop. Thump. Above she heard the stomping of dry branches. Squash squash. She could also hear the sound of the soft bushes being trampled under the feet. Sitting on the ground, she quickly stood up.
Hugo had summoned the villagers. Herietta’s face was dyed with hope.
“Hugo? Are you there Hugo?”
Herietta hurriedly shouted upwards.
“Hugo! Hugo! I’m here! This way! Hugo!”
Her voice was loud enough to echo. But no matter how many times she shouted, the other person didn’t answer.
The sound had also ceased. A suffocating silence was spread between the gentle breezes.
Herietta bit her lower lip. Was it a wild beast passing, by chance? Her disappointment surged in waves when she realized it wasn’t the rescue team she had been waiting for. She waited patiently after that, just in case, but in the end they never came.
‘I can’t do this anymore.’
Herietta rolled up the sleeves of her clothes. Instead of waiting like this, she felt that she should do something. She limped up and faced the wall. Looking up and estimating the distance to the ground, she tried to climb up the wall using a groove in the wall. But this time too, she slipped to the floor, not even halfway up.
‘I need something to support me.’
Herietta thought intently as she was covered in dirt. In her eyes, a pile of bushes and branches that had fallen on the floor came into view. Most of them were thin and small branches, but some of them were thick and short. She soon picked up two of the strongest-looking branches and examined them.
‘If it’s good, I think it will hold up…’
Herietta found a soft place, and inserted the branch she was holding deep into it. After leaving only a branch long enough for her to step on, she shoved another branch a little higher than that. She repeatedly inserts the branches like that to make a stairway for her to climb.
It was quite high, so she couldn’t climb to the end with this alone. But Herietta was satisfied with it, thinking that she would be able to climb at least half way up. She took a few more of the twigs and put them in her arms. It was all or nothing. After taking a couple of big, slow breaths, she started climbing the wall slowly, using the branches she had stuck on the wall as a stepping stone.
Wobble. Wobble. She sprained one of her ankles and her shoes were full of mud, so her soles were slippery.
Still, Herietta did her best. For half of the day, she starved and had no energy, but her spirit was remarkably clear. After stepping on all the branches she had placed in advance, she took out the branches she had prepared from her arms and put them on the wall.
So slowly, she climbed up and up again.
‘Almost, almost there!’
Seeing the ground getting closer and closer, Herietta rejoiced. It was as if she could reach it if she stretched out her hand upwards.
She held the center of her body with one hand and with the other took out the last twig from her pocket. It was only a matter of time to escape outside if this succeeded.
Herietta looked at the branch in her hand. It was a branch with a rather blunt tip. It seemed that strong force was needed to stick it to the wall.
“There is no such thing as failure in my dictionary.”
Herietta, who had her heart ahead of her head, swung her arms wide. Slap. The tree branch stuck to the wall. Herietta’s expression brightened when she thought had been successful.
But just as she was about to celebrate her success, her foot, which was barely stepping on the tree branch, slipped due to the mud clinging to the sole of her shoe.
The collapse of her center was instantaneous. Her reaction was noticeably slow because of a sharp pain in her right ankle.
Her body was already falling down before the thought of falling down crossed her mind.
Her eyes turned black and her head turned white. An eerie feeling as if her internal organs were soaring upward against gravity enveloped her whole body. Her displaced hands whirled through the pitiful air, and she closed her eyes tightly in preparation for the shock to be inflicted on her body, which was soon to be thrown onto the ground.
Whoop! Someone grabbed Herietta’s hand. It was large enough to completely grab her wrist, and was strong enough to hold her full weight.
Startled, Herietta opened her eyes and raised her head. She could see a figure holding her with their back against the dim sky.
At first she only registered the silhouette. However, just as the shadow dispersed and the light illuminated the outline of his face which was hidden in the shadows, she finally recognized her savior.
Herietta let out a shriek because it was someone she never expected.
“Why, why are you here!”
Edwin frowned slightly.
“It’s pretty slippery.”
At Edwin’s words, Herietta looked at the hand he was holding. She could see her hand, covered in dirt, slipping out of his grasp.
“I’ll pull you up, so don’t struggle.”
At Edwin’s words, Herrietta nodded once to signify that she understood as she looked at him blankly. After confirming that an agreement had been established between the two of them, he pulled her upward with a strong force.
Her vision changed with the sensation of her body floating. She wondered if the dark surroundings would become brighter, and then she came up to the ground. It happened in an instant.
“Are you hurt anywhere?”