Catching Her Breath

            Nalai collapsed at the cave entrance, landing hard on her knees. She winced in pain as her bare hands smacked down on the ice cold rocks; her mittens were still in her satchel. Her chest heaved as she gasped in the cold air, trying to calm down. She was dimly aware of Iquiuk’s concerned whining but for the first time since the dog had become hers she ignored her. She had more important things to worry about.

            I feel like I’m going to be sick…

            She sat up and put her mittens on. I have to get away from this place and forget about that sword. I don’t know what that was but it wasn’t pleasant.

            With Iquiuk still whining behind her she climbed down to the beach as fast as she could, jumping down the last couple feet. She collapsed to her knees and vomited violently into the cold sand. She waited for her insides to stop heaving before wiping her mouth on the back of her mitten. She got up and stumbled up into the snow bank that marked the edge of the beach and scooped up a handful of snow, stuffing it into her mouth to get rid of the foul taste. She gagged; in addition to the snow she’d gotten some of the beach sand. She spat madly trying to get it out of her mouth. Nalai went further into the snow and found a deeper patch. Being more careful this time she picked up more snow and put it in her mouth after scrutinizing it carefully.

            It’s not perfect, but it will have to do for now. She sighed. That will certainly teach me to be a little more careful. Sand is not something I want in my mouth ever again.

            She didn’t feel all that much better but she wanted more than anything to get away from that cave. Feeling weak from the vomiting, she kept on going into the snowy tundra, heading towards the domed city of Kuktaiqik.