Still propelled from his cliff leap, Ramone smacked face down onto a snowdrift only to look up into a maelstrom of flakes. Nothing but swirling white met his eyes. The sweat on his body froze into an icy sheen that fell in crackling shards as he moved. Ramone’s belly twisted. At least in that dreadful island prison he hadn’t frozen. Fifteen years, wasted, imprisoned for opening a portal into the wrong world. All he wanted was to go home.
Beneath him the ground lurched, tossing Ramone into the air before dumping him back into the snow. Earthquakes and freezing cold. What hellish world had he landed in this time? He brushed away as many flakes as he could and trudged forward. There were no more spell components, but he’d come too far to give up now. Eyes down and half closed against the biting wind, he continued moving. It was all he could do. All he had left was hope.
Something hard smacked his forehead, nearly knocking him over. Ramone looked up, his brow wrinkled in confusion. Behind him the storm raged, but in front, a bright open space. There was no rock, no wall, only an invisible barrier. He pushed against the smooth surface, moving along its length while his heart galloped. Step by step he broke trail through the snow drifts, stopping only when he reached a set of prints identical to his own. Tears streamed down his face, freezing as they fell. A rat, caught in a crystal cage.