Luminous moonlight from a silver crescent lances through the brittle branches of the forest. Disturbed by a brisk gust, a light dusting of the previous day's snow gently drifts from their withered surfaces to the ground below. Very little moves out here tonight. Mid-January this far north has always been a time of fragile tranquility, as if the sky, as well as the earth, is covered with a thin veil of ice. It is all too easy to disturb this peace, but, fortunately, there isn't much around to do so. Usually.
That fragile tranquility shatters when a spine-tingling wail rents the air. The breeze stills, as if it were a breath sucked in in trepidation, and the snow ceases its drifting for a moment. The world holds still, encased in a tight bubble of tension.
Rapid footfalls crack through layers of crusty ice, and another inhuman cry of rage swells in the tense world.
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