The lanterns flickered in the night, casting strange shadows against the wall. She shivered and wrapped her cloak a little tighter around her. It was a bit warmer but did nothing to disguise her rounded middle.
She had been reciting regrets in her mind for so long that it had become a habit. It was to this rhythm that she hurried through the snow. Crunch...Should have...Crunch...If only...Crunch.
The hole was exactly where she remembered. The holly bush that covered it had grown tenfold since she had last been here, pricking her as she pressed her back against the wall and slid behind it.
She was free. How long had it been since she was outside the walls of her father's house? A snowflake fell, landing on her cloak. It was soon joined by several others. She clutched the cloak tighter.
Somewhere inside the walls, one of the king's horns sounded.