Days had passed since he had to return to the forest, winter was harsh and his family needed him now more than never. His younger sister was sick, the plague had spread across the land and it had finally found its way to the small residence. Odin didn't want to leave her side, but food was scarce and Olai couldn't look for game while he was still working as the smith apprentice. Odin had no choice. Fear lurked every corner of the house and it made his heart heavy, but he wouldn't let his family starve.
Things were as peaceful as the last time he set foot on those grounds, for a few precious moments he was too focused to remember all of his worries, or all the consequences he would have to face if he came back empty handed. No, this was just a walk in the woods, a little opportunity to stretch his legs and breathe just fine. He started by setting up traps and looking for tracks, any sign of a good hunt but the woods were as silent as always, this time wouldn't be easy, like always.
Ugh. The gods hate me…
He thought ashe picked up some pine needles and started to chew, his stomach was growling like a wild boar but he wouldn't waste his only meal on the first day. After going down the stream he finally spotted his first prey. A rabbit was a few feet ahead of him and it still hadn't noticed his presence, he carefully reached of his bow and an arrow taking silent steps closer to the animal. But before he could lock the arrow the animal suddenly sprinted away, and Odin immediately followed.
He could still see the rabbit's tail before he lost his footing and his entire body came down. There was only the sound of leaves and rope breaking, he had walked straight to a hole. The fall only lasted a second, he heard a crack and hit his head in the ground making his ears ring and spots dance in his vision, he tried to push himself up but his vision started to blur. He felt a trail of blood fall from his forehead and he fell down to the ground again, passing out.
When he woke up again the sun was already down, the sky had a beautiful shade of purple and orange. His head was pounding, he sit up slowly but even the slightest movement made him dizzy. He stopped to check on his wounds, his forehead had a gash on its side but the bleeding had coagulated long ago, he tried to get up only to find his ankle was also twisted. Desperation swept over him. He couldn't move, he had no idea how further in he was in the forest.
He lost track of time after he saw the sun set. He couldn't sleep, the sounds of the animals kept him awake and the constant fear of one said animal finding him kept him alert and quiet. How long would it take until the sun rose again? How long had it been, one hour, ten minutes since he saw the last remaining sun light? He wondered if someone would come after him, just to realize he already knew the answer. Olai couldn't afford leaving their sisters alone, not with Magpie's condition, and the twins were too young to go out on their own. No, they wouldn't look for him, only a few in the village were brave enough to wonder into the woods, but even so, they wouldn't know where to find him this deep in the forest.
He rested his head and closed his eyes for a moment. The rustling of leaves jerked him awake, not even realizing he fell asleep. The sun was still rising, and there was fog from the early morning.
He quickly sit up only to immediately regret it, the pain in his head made him still see stars and feel nauseous. Looking up slowly he noticed there was a small rabbit looking down at him. The sight of the critter made him laugh, even a stupid animal came to see what kind of idiot would fall for such a pathetic trap.
"What's so funny?" A voice suddenly paralyzed him. Before looking up he realized the sun started to shine brighter and the temperature rose. He looked up to see the same girl he had once met in the woods. She still had her white summer dress and her fur cape on, her legs were dangling over the edge of the hole and her deep red eyes were staring at him.
"I-it's you!" He got up suddenly and almost fell, his ankle throbbing in pain.
The reaction surprised the girl, only for a second her eyes took a different expression and she seemed to hesitate about something. But it soon came back to scorning, straitening up her pose and holding her nose high.
"It appears you got what you deserved, huh?"
"What?" He tried to move, only to flinch and fall in pain. "W-wha-Who a-are you?"
"I told you," The girl got up, ignoring his question "that you would regret if I ever saw you again." Her eyes were starting to get an ominous red glow in them, her iris turning from red to yellow.
"What d-do you me-mean?" Odin was growing tired of the way she spoke, "Answer m-me girl." He tried to sound as confident as possible.
"This is your punishment. For killing one of the spirits of the forest," She turned around and started to walk away "you shall remain here until your death."
The words echoed in his ears and he watched the weird girl walk away without saying a word. Was she serious? No, she could only be mad. Panic started to rise from his gut and he felt like throwing up, he was now sure help wouldn't come, she wouldn't help him, hell, she might as well be the reason he was there in the first place. Maybe he was the one that was mad, but one thing was for certain for Odin and that was the fear of dying alone in that hole, not ever seeing his family again.
He suddenly started to struggle and try to climb out, but his leg was not in its best shape and he didn't have enough strength to pull himself up. His face was soon soaked in sweat and hot trails of tears. He slumped in the floor and though of his sisters, his brother, his family he would probably never see again.