Large open plain covered in heavy snow. Mountains on all sides. It is bright and sunny out. A perfect day to explore the world around me. Suddenly there is a loud crack in the distance as if god itself was splitting the earth in two. The sound echoed throughout the valley and I was afraid. The large pines swayed and every kind of creature scurried or flew away as far as they could from the impending echo of doom. I was planted in place. Fear overtook me and I could not move. Then another loud crack! It was not the earth that had cracked apart but a large section of snow at the top of the mountain, avalanche.
The sound was deafening. I regained my senses and began to run for home, but it was too late. In an instant the snow overtook me and it all went black. I could still hear the rumbling above me as snow continued to bury everything around me. Luckily I was near a grove of small pine trees that had bent with the weight of the snow creating a small pocket that saved me from being crushed, and created a little space where I was now trapped.
Hours passed. I could here no one, and nothing but the sound of the bitter wind above me. I curled into a little ball to keep myself warm, and slept. In my dreams I was free. I walked through the woods at night under a full moon. It was peaceful. The cool air caressed my skin, and I breathed it in deep, and long. When I breathed out I could see my breath. The cloud from my lungs grew large. Into a strange fog that covered the ground completely. Then the silence was broken by a single howl. Then another, and another. The sounds surrounded me, and in a panic I awoke from my dream to find that the howling had not ceased.
I could hear the sounds of large footsteps crunching on the snow above me. Creatures sniffed downward in my direction. They began to dig in the snow, but after a while of finding nothing they moved on. The sounds of their movement was a relief. They did not sound like wolves though. Not from their movement at least. More like giant bears, but they howled nonetheless. I sat there curled up in a ball for hours just listening. Off in the distance I heard what sounded like a deer approaching at full speed. When it was directly overhead there was a loud thud, and the snow above me rained down like a cracked ceiling. I did not move, did not make a sound. I held my mouth tight and just listened. Luckily the snow did not crack all the way through. It just crumbled a bit.
Then came the howls again, and the sounds of growling, and tearing. Something warm and thick dripped onto my face, but I did not move. The snow began the crumble under the immense weight and commotion above. I shook in fear and waited for my turn to be devoured. The creatures took their time with the animal. When they were done they seemed to lay down, and rest. I closed my eyes as well. Their fresh kill had created a little bit of heat. In that small pocket of warmth my mind drifted to another place. Being at home. Warm and safe at my grandfather’s cabin. In my dream I was sitting in front of the fire. My grandfather sat on the couch behind me telling stories of strange creatures that hunted in the dark. I just sat there staring at the flames, and sipping hot coco. To me they were just stories. Just something to make you wrap yourself tight in the covers at night. The crackling fire that usually brought me comfort made my heart race just a bit. I stared into the flames, and deep within the dancing fire there were red eyes staring back at me.
I was awakened by more snow falling upon my face and body. Much larger clumps then last night. I could tell it was daytime as a small amount of light shone through a dark red hole in the snow above me. I could see the base of one of the trees which curved over the pocket of air I was dwelling in peaking through the snow walls. I was shivering and a bit damp, but the sun light from above warmed me enough to give me some strength. Now was my chance. I shoved my hands deep into the snow, hugged the pine tree tight, and began to climb. One branch at a time I made my way up the tree as snow broke, and fell below me. I moved up the side of the snow wall slowly. When I was almost at the top I hung there like a monkey to catch my breath, and in that pause I heard voices, and the crackling of a fire. “Hello” I cried out. “Is anyone there?” After a moment of silence there was a reply. “Hey, who is that? Where are you” a man’s voice replied. “Down here” I cried out while starting to climb once more. When I reached the top I shoved my left arm through the hole and held tight to the tree with my right.
Then I felt a strong pull, and my body began to rise through the snow. Through the red snow. When the daylight hit my eyes I was not ready. It was too bright and I was weak from the climb. I arose through the snow like a newborn drenched in red. When I was able to see I looked upon my saviors. Four men in trappers gear stared at me as if I was some some sort of strange creature. I must’ve looked terrifying drenched in blood like that. “Come, join us at the fire” implored a man with dark hair and a scar on his left cheek. He ushered me over with a gesture, and in wanting to get warm I took up his offer. I sat down on the snow and warmed myself staring directly into the fire. “Where did you come from little one” asked a larger man with dirty blond hair that covered his eyes. “From over that ridge” I replied. “In a cabin with my grandfather.”
The men looked at one another and grinned widely. Then they turned their attention back at me. The man that had pulled me up asked “Would you like some deer meat? We caught it fresh last night. What is left of it made a fine stew” My eyes grew wide and I shook my head to refuse his offer of food. Then he turned slowly to his fellow compatriots and said “well there isn’t much left of it anyway, and we are getting a bit hungry again. Where did you say you lived again boy?” My eyes grew even wider as they all leaned in close awaiting my reply.
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