Patent fear rolls down my spine. Like ice water. No, straight up ice. I can’t even swallow. Geese erupt across my flesh like an allergic reaction, hot spots abruptly forming beneath my skin. I can’t tell if it’s my body’s acute recollection of the previous crop’s parting gift or the anticipation of what’s to come with this new one.

The one I feared the most.

The image of the appropriately-named slapper crop sits in my direct line of view, displaying the crown from which it begets its cruel title.

Oh God…

My pulse beats so hard in my throat it’s a wonder he doesn’t hear it. Frost doesn’t say anything, just looks down at me, his face still blank save his ever-icy eyes. Like he’s waiting for me to say something.

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