There was something about the mountains that called a wanted man’s heart. The breaks, the sheer drops, the white out snows, the snot freezing colds. The idea that the ground beneath their feet was just too terrible for anyone to want to follow them. Only the woman in black wasn’t just anyone, and she had been up to the spiny peaks time and time again to paint them red.
As the ground rose beneath the bay’s churning hooves the scrub grew higher, thicker, the smell of bruised sage cloying. There was water here, deep down in the sheets of misty grey bedrock, and twice the ground dropped and suddenly there was the cold rip rap of a snow fed stream rushing around them. The bounty hunter only paused long enough for to fill her canteens and the mare her belly, then leapt into the saddle to spur her on.
She ignored how the ribs had begun to push up against the bay’s hide like the first hills they rode over, ignored the way her own stomach scratched and clawed itself with hunger. The food in her saddle bags had run low, stretched over miles and miles of hot desert and cold stone, even when she ate only when she could no longer stand the high ache of starvation drilling against her bones, had pushed herself so thin the hollows of her cheeks had turned to ravines.