Snow fell over the mountain pass. Glistening white covered the valleys and kissed the endless evergreens. Bundled in a wool cap, thermals, gloves, and a down coat, Alex was not fazed by the winter chill. He heard the packed snow crunch under his boots as he walked along the pass, t...
<p>Snow fell over the mountain pass. Glistening white covered the valleys and kissed the endless evergreens. Bundled in a wool cap, thermals, gloves, and a down coat, Alex was not fazed by the winter chill. He heard the packed snow crunch under his boots as he walked along the pass, taking in its silent beauty.</p>
<p><i>Jill would’ve loved this</i>, he thought.</p>
<p>Alex continued, feeling the wind on his cheeks as he walked. He had been to this forest many years ago, back when he and Jill were newlyweds spending their honeymoon in the most remote place their meager budget could bear: Wodan’s Pass.</p>
<p>This time around, Alex had reserved a room at the same bed and breakfast where they had spent their first night as husband and wife fifteen years ago. The place looked the same, with its heavy curtains, pink wallpaper, and green comforter. He went to bed the night he arrived thinking about how Jill used to snore lightly in her sleep.</p>
<p>The following morning, Alex sat at the window in the inn’s main room and nursed a cup of coffee. Once again, his mind returned to Jill.</p>
<p><i>She hated it when I drank my coffee black</i>, he thought<i>. She would always snicker and say, “What’s the point of drinking coffee if it actually tastes like </i><em>coffee?”</em></p>
<p>This time last year, Alex might have spent his morning enjoying a snow-shoeing excursion or a good book. Now, one look down at his bleak cup of joe was enough to remind him why he no longer made plans. He certainly did not plan to be a widower at thirty-nine. He did not plan to buy a house and work sixty-hour weeks from a basement office while his pregnant wife died in a hit-and-run.</p>
<p><i>Years of trying</i>, he bitterly considered, <i>and then whatever bastard of a higher power takes the love of my life </i>and<i> my unborn child in one afternoon</i>.</p>
<p>Suddenly, Alex decided the inn was suffocating. He returned to his room and suited up for the cold.</p>
<p><i>A nice walk sounds good</i>, he thought. <i>When I’m done, I’ll come back to the room and do the deed.</i></p>
<p>He pulled a small, heavy box from his suitcase. In one, fluid motion, he opened the box’s latch and hefted the item inside. It was a Smith and Wesson .357 revolver. The weapon came equipped with a weighted barrel and an old-school...