There will be a lot of things that seem like mistakes or coincidences, but many of them are actually intentional. Try to figure out why.
The clock was still when Alene picked it up. It didn’t answer when she knocked it a few times, hoping the gears would start working. It didn’t move as Alene set it down, now even more worried than before.
She tried to convinse herself that she didn’t care about the clock but deep down she did. Now she had noway off knowing how long Saben had been out, out in the snow, out in the cold… Alene didn’t want to let her mind wander, but it was hard. Out there anything could happen, and she could do nothing about it, not in this condition.
Why? It wasn’t fare. What had she done to be like this? What had Saben done to die out there? Finally, after who knows how long, the sadness turned to anger. With a scream Alene shot up, throwing the clock acros the floor. As it hit the wall she stumbled and fell on the cold floor crying out in pain. Slowly crawling together she tried to rewrap the blanket around her when she noticed something under the stove.
She couldn’t remember it being there earlier, they must have missed it when they searched for things to use as firewood. Freezing she reached for… for the book?
Pulling it out and blowing of the dust she didn’t notice that her anger had died down. An eerie feeling came over Alene but she opened the book anyway.
The first pages were black, empty and slightly charred as if someone had tried to burn them, unsuccessfully that is. Then something started to emerge from the black. First strange stripes and dots, then symbols, and lastly letters, words.
Flickering through the book Alene stopped suddenly to look around the room, it seemed darker. How much time had passed? had the sun gone down? Saben wasn’t back yet. She rose to walk to the window… but she didn’t. Instead her hands continued flipping through the pages before finally stopping.
Half the page was covered with an intricate symbol, nothing special, like any other symbol in the book. But the words beneath caught Alene’s eyes. They spoke of warmth, of safety, of help from… from something not human.
Alene hesitated. Growing up she had heard the stories, of gods, spirits, and other things, children’s tales really, ramblings of crazy people. Right? There was no way they were real. But if… If they were real, then that just might save Saben.
Alene found herself looking around for something to write with, something with which she could make the mark, but they had used everything that burned to keep themselves warm. She was about to forget the whole thing, but if… If what the book said was true then… She had to try.
Leaving her blanket behind, she grabbed the poker from the fireplace and started carving into the wall. But her lines became long and crude. She would never manage to carve the intricate mark from the book.
Defeated she dropped the poker and began crying, there was nothing she could do. Wiping away the tears she suddenly stopped. The tears were black. She was about to scream when she noticed her fingers were black as well.
The book! The first pages were charred. In a hurry, Alene ripped out one of the pages and started painting on the wall. She started using both hands, only stopping to rip out a new page.
Darkness had fallen when she finished. She couldn’t see the mark, though she knew she was done. She felt an approval somewhere, somehow, then nothing. The cold gripped her like a hungry predator, and she fell to the making her unable to think about anything else, and she couldn’t concentrate. She tried reaching for the blanket…
The clock was still when Saben shut the howling wind outside. It didn’t answer when he called out to Alene, apologizing that it took so long. The parts didn’t move as Saben stopped, tears stuck in his throat for what he saw.