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A story in installments - To Live
A story in installments - To Live
The deep growling in my stomach announced the all to obvious to me. I was starving, if I didn't find food soon, I would be to weak to continue to hunt. An icy, cutting wind blew down the hillside. I felt a shudder run through my body. My eyes, just slits, peered into the impenetrable, frozen bush which surrounded me. My hunger driven senses, alert to sound or scent, ..nothing, save the constant whistling wind. Moving hesitantly forward, leaning against the stabbing wind, head low, I slid my long snout into the deep snow. "Perhaps a hapless mouse, disturbed before his long Winter sleep took hold".. No mouse. My weary legs drew me to a partially open space on the edge of the ever darkening bush. I slumped heavily on the brown and wind-twisted prairie grass and with a last sniff of the blowing, snow filled air, curled into a tight ball and abandoned my plight for the sunny basking, tummy full warmth of my dreams, and slept.
6/17/05 Whether it was pure instinct or perhaps a particularly painful bolt of pain from my empty stomach, woke me from my careless summer dreams, I cannot say. One thing for sure, my instinct was at the root of my subsequent actions. As quick as a wink, cold, hungry and tired, or not, I was on my feet, head low, senses alert. It was quiet,a booming silence that can only be experienced in it's perfect state in the depths of the Canadian wilderness. An icy clear night had descended.It tightly gripped the sapless dense branches which surrounded me, like the clawing stiff fingers of some hapless creature caught in it's last dying convulsions. Desperately beseeching it's maker for help. The dim light from a small, pale, white moon penetrated deep into the snow filled crevasses between the thick, underbrush. My eyes strained to locate the source of my alarm, no tell tale scent, no sound, no slow falling snow yet descending from a careless brush. My swimming head began to clear and the ache of my exhausted body returned. I slowly crunched forward through the knee high, powered snow. My crunching sounded like it would travel for miles in every direction across the flat, blank prairie.
I stumbled back to my "oasis", in the moonlit frozen landscape, it seemed almost homey.
"All I need now is something to eat."
I thought, as I began to circle my "nest" for just the right spot. The sweet memory of gorging on a fat, fresh rabbit started saliva running from my mouth. The frost covered fur around my jaw began to thaw.
"Was that only a few weeks ago, seems longer, much longer than that".
I began to reminisce, back to the beginning of my long journey. The gate carelessly left open by Miss Elissa, the only life that I had known left behind... the "chase" which quickly ensued after my escape. The loud and busy streets with endlessly flowing traffic. The blaring horns, screeching tires and running humans, my heart thumping hard against my ribs then the sudden defining silence and fresh air, filled with animal scent. The soft spring of my feet on the damp green fields. Something deep within my soul had awoken and I knew there was no going back.
"Escape, ha, some escape !.. Escape to starvation, escape from three squares a day and my nice cozy nook under the stairwell... Wonder how Marcus is doing".. But Marcus wasn't who was really on my mind, it was a certain female wolf, who Miss Elissa had named "Sandy" because of the color of her thick, luxurious fur. "Mmmm" I recalled her long, smooth, muscle packed legs which drove her effortlessly across the scrub covered area behind our enclosure.Those smooth, hard thighs rippling as she leapt up to settle on "her spot", some six feet from the ground. But Sandy seemed troubled and standoffish and was to quick to let you know if you made the unhappy mistake of stepping into her space. Often morose, she would perch on the flat roof of Miss Elissa's tool shed, which was the highest point an unaided leap could reach, and stare off into the empty space across the valley into the trackless unknown pine forest in which I now found myself on the periphery of. Suddenly.. I was hit by what seemed like a bus (an experience I had when making good my escape) the force propelled me partially over a nearby bush. Funny what you remember during a crisis moment .. for me, it was the snapping of the ice ridged "fingers" of the bush into which I was tossed or partially tossed. My head snapped to the side and drove into the deep snow. A searing pain bolted across my shoulder. All was blackness, and soundless. It seemed an age before I was able to scramble out of the snow drift.. then, white as a ghost, I charged at the first blurry image that appeared to me. My fear/pain driven anger impelled my snapping, tooth filled, jaw open, growling, figure headlong into the hairless, pink skin of an unprotected underbelly....