Jack was slowing down.
Beth was exhausted, too, but she kept going, tugging him after her. It couldn’t be much farther. There wasn’t that much left in the tangle of yarn in her hand.
“Beth, you’re sparkling,” Jack said, when they stopped to rest against a tree.
“You’re seeing things,” she said. Even still, she reached into her other coat pocket, and tugged her hat down over her head, glancing wide-eyed back the way they’d come.
After a few minutes, they started off again.
They quite literally stumbled upon the stream. Jack crouched down, splashing his face with the cold water. It cleared some of the spots from his eyes.
“It isn’t my eyes, Beth. You are glowing.”
Motes of light danced around the girl’s lashes, from the tips of the golden hair that peeked out from under her cap.
She pulled her cap off, shook out her hair.
The few motes turned into a shower of pinpricks of golden light, spinning and spiraling up in the air, dancing about like embers did at the bonfire.
“Like the — I thought it was just a trick of the sunset and the bonfires and….”
“It happens when you cross back,” she said. “As the veil mends, it fades.”
“But you weren’t—”
“I had to wake you up, Jack. I did it the only way I knew how.”
“You said you didn’t know how to go back over.”
“Well, I was desperate, and that seems to be when it happens to me,” she said, her voice catching. A shimmering line of gold traced its way down her cheek. She jammed the hat back down over her hair.
“Come on, we should get moving,” she said, sniffling.
“So, does this mean your pee glows, too?”
“If you didn’t have a head injury, I’d smack you!” She swatted at his hand as he held it out to her.
She started splashing through the water.
“Beth, that water is— you’ll catch your death of a cold from that!” Even still, he splashed after her.
“They don’t like running water. This will mask our scent for a ways.”
“So the Dark is afraid of water? That’s rich,” Jack said.
They sloshed along the brook until they came to the log they usually used to cross it.
“My toes are numb,” Jack said.
“A lot more then your toes will go numb if the Dark catches up!”
“Is it really that bad?”
“Haven’t you heard that sound, like the wind roaring through the trees?”
Jack stopped. Listened. Sure enough, there it was, the breathy rustling of high wind through the trees.
Except that the winds had stopped. The snow had been falling straight down all evening.
The stray motes dancing out from around Beth’s eyelashes weren’t just trailing along behind her before glimmering out. Now that they were standing still, Jack saw that the pinpricks of light were drifting back towards the darker tree line. No, not drifting. They were being pulled.
“Think you can make it?” she asked Jack.
They joined hands, running the rest of the way to the edge of the woods.