The subconscious understands

Dahlia waited, rubbing her arms. At the very least, even when moving was tiring, it was warmer than sitting. Now everything became colder and colder.

When the next group passed, one of the older men made her stand up. “He’s gone, darlin’. Let’s go.”

Dahlia left her father and all of his baggage behind her. This left her with nothing. Nothing but where all of the small ragtag groups of people ended up.

Castlehaven.

Taking the danger with you

They trekked along the road, westward. He held her by the wrist, dragging Dahlia along.

Occasionally Dahlia stopped moving her legs, letting his strength move her. She risked it only when he looked distracted. And when no one else was around, because there were the times when other people were around too.

All people fleeing the same thing. Dahlia didn’t know what it was. She was five and such disasters were beyond her. All she knew was that it had angered her father even more than he usually was. All she knew was that her mother hadn’t come with.

Dahlia sometimes thought she missed her mother, but other times had forgotten about her.

He stopped dragging her eventually, meaning Dahlia had to keep walking no matter what. That cough had caught up with him and their constant travel in the increasing cold. Only two times did one of their happenstance travelling companions ask if he was all right. Her father said he was, but Dahlia had never known him to say he wasn’t. Even when he’d gotten angry.

Then one day, he didn’t wake up.