Happy Monday everyone! In an effort to write more in 2015 (one of my goals), I’m taking part in a new challenge that I’m calling Flash Fiction Mondays. The first Monday of each month during 2015, a group of fantastic ladies will post a piece of flash fiction inspired by an image chosen for us. Without further ado, here is the picture for January 2015…
Four days had passed and there had been no signs of rescue. Although how a search party could even make it out in this weather, he didn’t know. Outside the cave it looked like a snow globe that had been shaken repeatedly, without pause. He watched the hypnotic swirling for a few more minutes before giving up, realizing he couldn’t see more than a couple of feet past the mouth of the cave that had become his sanctuary. Turning back towards the interior, the man breathed into his cupped hands and rubbed them vigorously together, trying to get the circulation moving again.
He sank down onto the pallet he had made of the coats and snow pants he had pulled off of the others, those that hadn’t survived. Undressing the corpses had been distasteful, but the extra fabric was helping to keep the cold from seeping into his bones from the frozen ground. They had been foolish to think they could make the trek at this time of year, but it had seemed necessary at the time. The town on the other side of the mountain pass needed the medical supplies he had, what other choice was there but to try? And what had it gotten them but four dead people and him, lost and stuck in a cave with no real hope of rescue.
At least he had supplies for a few days, a little bit of food and water and some wood to keep a fire going. He kept the fire small so as to not burn through it too fast, but it helped to take the edge off the chill. The worst part was the silence. Other then the howling of the wind, there was nothing. He had started talking to himself just for some other sound, reciting anything he could think of. Snippets of poetry he remembered from school, singing his favorites songs, going through the bones of the body like he used to when he was studying for anatomy class.
He finally started to doze off when a howl that was distinctly not part of the wind jolted him back to alertness. The man was instantly on his feet, pulling out the hunting knife that was his only weapon. The two shotguns they brought on the trip were swept away in the initial avalanche.
Walking swiftly to the mouth of the cave, he paused, straining to listen. Hoping he had imagined the sound. There it was again, a long, lonely, drawn out howl. Out of the snow stepped a gray wolf, larger than any he’d seen in a picture or a movie. The wolf stood completely still, almost a statue save for the wind ruffling its fur. The man’s heart started beating double time, he was sure the animal could hear it over the noise of the wind. Trying not to make eye contact, he knew that was a challenge, he kept the wolf in his sight while scanning for more animals off to the side. They hunted in packs, or so he thought. This one seemed to be alone though.
The man took a step backwards, slowly, hoping maybe he could make into the back part of the cave and the wolf would go on about its way. Or maybe, if he could get the fire between them, he could use that to his advantage. Another step backwards and the wolf responded with a throaty growl. The man froze. The wolf took a step forward. The two creatures, man and wolf, were in a stand off. Before he could decide what to do, the wolf charged and lunged.
Before he could think, instincts took over. The man dropped to this knees and brought the knife up, catching the wolf in the underside of its throat. The warm blood spilled down over his arm and the animal landed on him, pinning him to the ground. After a stunned minute, he pushed the wolf off and struggled to this feet. He watched as the animal gasped one last time and then died. Well, he though, at least I’ll have some meat. He started to drag the wolf back into the cave towards the fire when he heard it.
And then another from the opposite direction.
Looking back out into the night the man saw wolves materializing from each side, a whole pack. This wolf hadn’t been alone after all.
Gripping the knife, still dripping with blood, the man stood his ground. If this was the end, he would face it on his feet, fighting.
Check out the links below to read the other stories for this month: