Snow

(Copyright: David Rootes / ArcticPhoto)

(Copyright: David Rootes / ArcticPhoto)

There are red blotches in the snow. Taking a deep breath I inhale the scent of my skin frizzling in the sun and remind myself that it is only algae; just a small organism surviving in spite of the coldness of the snow and I will survive too in spite of the sun roasting my face and the ice freezing my feet and the flies landing everywhere. I try not to worry whether they are going to eat me, gnawing off bit by tiny bit, flying away over the mountain with a fly-bite-size piece of my cheek or hand which I’ll never see again, not even if a bird ate the fly and I ate the bird, and eating birds sounds like a good idea, and I wonder whether it would be a good idea to eat snow with algae in it or if I should only eat white snow, maybe the algae has a bit of nutrition in it? In any case I will have to eat something soon and I have still seen no signs of human population.

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Survival

Breathing: Short, quick pants.

Eyes: Wild.

Location: Under a bush.

Position: Sitting. Completely still.

Hopes for the future: Survival.

Something large is close. He can hear it sniffing. Hopefully, it has not seen him. Hopefully, it has not scented him. But the rustling of leaves under its paws is coming closer. He tenses his back legs, ready to spring as soon as it sticks its head under the bush. He hears it stop. Snif snif snuffling. Not yet, not yet. The jaws would get him in a flash.

Then a black snout appears between the leaves and he pounces, digging the claws of his front paws into the damp black thing. A loud

“Yiip!”

From the thing and he is off in the opposite direction. But the big red being of teeth and claws quickly recovers and it is after him already. He zigzags between the molehills and his pursuer skids in the loose dirt granting him a few extra moments.

He is so close to home now, but the predator is snapping at his heels again, and then he sees it: Home, safety, a hole in the ground. He leaps, the killer snaps, he loses a tuft of hair from his tail and tumbling into the tunnel, he keeps running with the sound of the killer scratching at the earth behind him.

Deep in his burrow, he trembles, still experiencing the aftershock, but, and with the thought his heartbeat slows a little, he lives to run another day.

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