Camille drew shuttering fear-laced breaths. Pleading eyes locked onto Yussef, anchoring her. Her feet scribbled ragged lines in the snow. Lips traced words, but no sound came.
“I’m about out of patience.” The tracker pulled on Camille’s hair. “Tell me where my boys are.”
“We need food. We’re starving.” Yussef said.
“You took my children because you’re starving? Why didn’t you try talking to us?”
“It’s never worked before.”
“Don’t tell him.” Camille mouthed. She pulled against the tracker’s hand. Hair tore and she winced.
"If we don’t get food we’ll die. Most of our old have already gone…Gave themselves up so we could live.” Yussef’s stomach twisted at the awful memory. The things people do to see another day—another second. “We stole your sons because—” The shotgun blast shook his core. Realization, fear, and loss formed horrific shock. “No!” he screamed. “No, nonono, Camille.” Eyes full of rage, “I’ll—” A gun barrel jammed into the side of his head.
“No”—the tracker dropped Camille’s body—“you won’t. I’m going to find my boys. I’m going to take them home. And you’ll rot knowing you couldn’t save your people.”