Cold and Hungry

White flakes flutter to the ground, slow, steady.
The air is crisp, the wind is silent
The sun has not risen, but the blue light of morning if growing brighter
Dead branches make no move in the bitter cold
My breath creates small clouds as it exits my body
My fingers are going numb, even beneath the wool lined leather gloves
My nose and cheeks are red, my eyes bloodshot
The muscles of my legs are tightening, ready to launch
My stomach growls loudly, craving what I have not had in days
I hold a makeshift spear in my right hand, branch and sharpened stone
My left is wrapped around a small pocket knife that has only ever been used to open packages or cut string
Snow crinkles to my right and I wait
She doesn’t know I exist
She walks delicately through the white
Checking the ground, looking left to right and back again, always watchful
She keeps moving closer
She’s less than ten feet away
As she leans down, I make my move
My spear catches her in the neck
I’m on her before she can even understand what has happened
She instinctively tries to run
I throw my tired body on top of her and start to jab her neck with my knife
She falls hard on the ground
Before she has a chance to fight back I run my knife the length of her neck
Even I am surprised by its sharpness
She lay whining, legs twitching, still trying to get up
I see the suffering in her eyes and I almost regret what I’ve done
Those eyes stare at me, filled with fear, asking me to save her
My stomach growls and I know there was no other way
I must survive
That is what I do
I step back and wait
Slowly her whining gets softer
Her legs can’t find the strength to move
Everything is back to silence
I survey my kill
Red is splattered along the white
It leads a trail to a dark pool beneath her head and neck
She has plenty of meat
I’ve done well for myself
My stomach growls again, as if in agreeance and anticipation
I grab her legs and drag her back to my cave
Yes, tonight I will not be cold or hungry


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