Yup this is the start of the story that will be part of the Author’s Choice anthology.  The name of the anthology is Reflections of the End and I have both a short story and a poem in it.  Should be out for publication by the end of the month I am told.  I will put up the link once it is

And here is the opening


On the dark streets, snow slowly drifted down, covering the small forms there.  Both were tow headed, one a scruffy boy, the other his smaller sister.  Too tired to go any further, they huddled in the dark and cold.  Against the fallen wall, they watched the dark form as it trudged toward them.  Too tired to be afraid, too hungry and weak to run, they watched.


As the snow covered shoulders came closer, they could hear the shrish of the cloth brushing against itself and the muffled thud of a staff in the snow.  Shivering harder they clutched etch other in fear.  Within a few breaths the figure stopped before them and pushed back the enveloping hood.


A kind, tired face smiled down at them and she spoke in a soft, musical voice.  “My poor little ones.  This is no fit night for man nor beast to be out.  Come, let me get you out of this storm and into the warmth.” The children huddled uncertain.


Her voice brought to mind soft arms and the smell of cinnamon, of a mother barely remembered.  The small girl child broke from her brother’s arms to try running to the woman.  The cold and lack of proper food had sapped what strength the child had.  Before she could fall she was scooped up in strong arms and cuddled to a warm full breast.  The woman moved the girl to the side holding her staff and held her hand out to the boy.  “I know it is hard but trust me.  I will bring you to safety young one.”


The boy stood uncertainly, memories of others who hit flashing in his large eyes, but with glance at his little sister, her thumb now in her little rosebud mouth, he took the woman’s hand.  She smiled and moved them toward the road, letting out a high-pitched whistle.


The snow swirled as the wind picked up. Soon a doglike creature appeared out of the whiteness.  As large as a pony at the shoulder, the white furry form trotted forward then dropped onto its haunches in front of the woman.  With a wolfish grin it let out a muffled bark and then nudged the boy.  He climbed aboard slowly.  Cold fingers curled in the warm soft fur and the boy leaned forward, resting against the great beast’s shoulder.