The roof of the old shack cracked under the weight from the average twenty-two inches of a Nicholas County snowfall. The wood stove was never properly fitted at the top, causing flames to shoot out and streak overhead every time a log was thrown on. And orange and blue blazes would dance perilously close to the pink fluffs of insulation that hung from the sagging ceiling. When Spring came, it would rain just as hard inside as out, and the smell of mildew would hang thick in the air long past the end of Summer. But for now at least, it was Winter.
The young girl swung open the screen door and dropped her head against the stinging bite of wind sweeping across her Fenwick Mountain home. A thin, tattered blue scarf hung loosely about her hand-me-down coat, and she pulled it close to her as if it alone might somehow stop the wind. She quickly dumped scraps of brown beans and cornbread for the latest stray that had wandered into the yard and wheeled around for shelter. She was stopped in her tracks, if only for just a moment, by the sight of the shack that stood in front of her. Or as she had always simply called it- home. And she couldn’t help but think, there must be more out there than this. But then the whipping wind picked up again, and she hurried back inside with only fleeting memories of a life that could be hers.