The Cold Time

“Would ya just look at all that blood, Jen?” Steve pointed his knife at the big red blotch staining the snow near our boots. “Must be a big one.” He grinned, the excitement dancing in his blue eyes lighting up his gaunt face.

Saliva pooled in my mouth. Meat . . .

How long had it been since we’d had anything but some wild greens, dug from beneath the snow, boiled with bones of previous kills? Weeks? Months?

No one kept count of the years anymore. What was the use? Since The Cold Time had come, settling over the world in a thick, white blanket, the passage of time had lost meaning. There was a brief period of warmth and melting—Mama called it summer—when a few hardy, fast-growing plants were harvested. Then snow covered the land once more.

When I was a kid I had heard talk of ice ages, and maybe at one time, had known what that meant. Now all I knew was The Cold Time. Continue reading

Red

 

Dark woods, deep woods, deathly woods,
Through them I rush-race-run.
Moon glows, moon shows, moon knows,
Soon I will be done.

Bog sucks, bog slurps, bog swallows,
Stealing the boots from my feet.
Briars snatch, briars catch, briars latch,
Determined we shall meet.

Water utters, water mutters, water blubbers,
Through rimed wetness I sloggishly go.
Rocks thrash, rocks slash, rocks gash,
Riving cracks into my soul.

Solid dirt, cold dirt, stinging dirt,
Toes digging in, I stagger up a knoll.
Trees shadow, trees shelter, trees shield—
Or so I have been told.

Wolves prowl, wolves howl, wolves growl,
Form a menacing circle round me.
Darkling eyes, devil eyes, demon eyes,
But only one will feast on me.

Teeth show, teeth smile, teeth sink
Dagger fangs above my breast.
My master’s kiss, my lover’s kiss, my Alpha’s kiss
Weeps river-red upon my chest.

Dark woods, deep woods, deathly woods,
Through them I rush-race-run.
Moon glows, moon shows, moon knows,
My life has just begun.