Winter Flowers - 2

Feb 27th, 2016
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  1. You turned and ran.
  3. And then, you tripped.
  5. These fucking hooves…
  7. You stumbled to your feet and ran as fast as possible, still not used to having different appendages than normal. Anyone looking at you would probably be laughing if it weren’t for the visage of horror following behind you.
  9. You ran as fast as you could, leaves and branches whipping past your face. Behind you, you could hear the smashing of trees and a low, terrifying roar that sent chills up your spine. Doubling your efforts, you quickly got a hang of what hoof to place forward first, and it seemed to pay off. The sounds of smashing grew quieter and quieter, further and further away, until it became echos from the distance.
  11. You slowed down, only just realizing now how exhausted you were. You panted, facing the floor, icy sweat, almost frozen by how cold it was, dripping to the floor. What the fuck was that thing!? Where did it come from?
  13. That’s when you noticed the deer. Torn to shreds, not for food, not for hunting. This deer was slaughtered. Bile rose in your throat as you glanced up and down a nearby tree, splattered with entrails and blood. Skin of the deer was hanging off of the snapped branches as if something had picked it up by the legs and smashed it into the tree repeatedly.
  15. Slowly stepping forward and examining the corpse… Oh god. It’s hind legs were broken. It really was swung against the tree, like a living baseball bat. That could have been you, if this thing had caught you.
  17. Oh no. Paulo and Rick! What if this is what had happened to them? No… No way. There wasn’t any blood or anything. But what if it had happened somewhere else? Tears ran down your face as you thought of the possibility, that two of your closest friends were now dead. You shook your head and wiped the tears away. You needed to focus, think of what to do next.
  19. You needed help. You needed to contact someone. Just grab the satellite phone and… Oh no. It was back on the hill.
  21. You were not going back there, not until you knew the bear wasn’t there. It was too dangerous. So what? Now, you needed food. Your belly rumbled and your mouth was dry. Food and water. A strong wind blew from behind, penetrating your thin layer of fur and chilling your skin. Food, water and shelter.
  23. What had happened to your clothes anyway? They weren’t there when you woke up, but you were wearing them when you were struck by that light. Burnt off? You didn’t smell any burning when you woke up, but it was a possibility. You shook your head. Why were you worrying about such trivial things?
  25. Go find water. You need water. There was a river in the center of the valley right? It’d only been snowing heavily for a day now, the river had to be not frozen and flowing. Flowing water. Safe to drink. You vaguely got your bearings by looking around and noting landmarks around with the position of the setting sun. So, if you were right, and hopefully you were, the river was west of here. You had no idea how far away it was, but it spanned the length of the whole valley, so you were bound to run into it.
  27. You set off, your hooves becoming sore from your initial burst of running. It wasn’t just tiredness, but you really should stretch out before running. Not that you were given time to really limber up, what with the eldritch bear chasing after you.
  29. Thankfully, it wasn’t too long until you heard the rush of flowing water. If this quick influx of cold was anything to go by, it wouldn’t stay unfrozen for long, but for now you just needed to rehydrate.
  31. You reached the stream and immediately ran to it, trying your hardest to scoop up water with your hooves and drink it. For obvious reasons, this didn’t work. You were going to have to stick your head in and drink. Slowly, you lowered your head to the rushing water. Opening your mouth, you faced it against the flow of water and lowered your mouth in, letting icy water flow down your throat. You had to pull up quickly, as the water was painfully cold, but after letting yourself warm up a little bit, you did it again and repeated until you were sated and hydrated.
  33. You sit back, happy to finally have water inside of you. Hopefully, if necessary, you could return here and drink again. You didn’t want to /have/ to come back, but worse comes to worse and you couldn’t find your camping gear to boil some snow and make it potable, you’d probably have to. Either that, or eat the freshest snow you can find and pray that you don’t get horribly sick from it.
  35. Food now. But what to eat? You were a horse/pony thing now, so what could you eat? You looked around at the tree’s. None of them were fruit bearing, not that this would be the season for any of that anyway. You looked to the bushes around, covered by a small amount of snow. There was leaves on those bushes, and you were now an equine. An equine with a stomach able to handle leaves, possibly. That’s a last resort. You’re not gonna eat grass or leaves until you are well and truly out of other options.
  37. There’s gotta be something around here. The bushes around were bare of any berries they may hold, and no telling which ones were poisonous or not either. You didn’t want to chow down on any unknown berries.
  39. You wracked your mind for something, anything you might remember from trips with your dad about survival in the wilderness. You’d never really gone camping in winter before, this was a huge fucking mistake. The only reason you’d gone on this fucking expedition at this time of year was because your boss had made you take it in the down season. Two weeks.
  41. Oh fuck, two weeks. It’d only been four days. That means it was going to take thirteen days for them to send out anyone to look for you, and they weren’t looking for a fucking pony, either. They were looking for people.
  43. “FUCK!” You screamed outward, your high pitch voice startling you and a few animals nearby.
  45. Animals! You knew how to construct a basic snare out of reeds at sticks, so this would have to do. Plenty of Rabbits around here, maybe you could catch one overnight? Your stomach growled as you thought of the delicious rabbit meat.
  47. Unfortunately though, that would have to wait until tomorrow at the soonest. Who knows how lucky you would be with catching the rabbit anyway? Regardless, you pulled some reeds and sticks together to create a makeshift snare. It was really hard without hands, but you figured out an effective, if disgusting, way to use your mouth and tongue for the finer movements. You really missed your hands right now.
  49. You placed the snare in the undergrowth somewhere, but by the time you got back to the riverside, it was way too dark to look for anything else to eat right now, so a few leaves and some grass would have to do. It filled you up a little, but there’s hardly any nutritional value to this stuff. It was tough and tasteless, but your teeth seemed to be geared toward eating greens, so it wasn’t anywhere near as hard as it could have been.
  51. Shelter. Let’s see if you could still do this…
  53. You found a small sapling of a tree with plenty of pine needles for cover. You stripped more reeds back with your teeth and tied them together, forming a makeshift rope. It sucked hard, but it only had to last one night, then you’d just do it again the next. And the next.
  55. Hopefully, you would find your pack and you wouldn’t have to do it again. Hopefully, Paulo and Rick came bounding in out of nowhere and you’d magically become human again. At this point, you had no idea which one was more likely.
  57. You bent the pine sapling down towards the closest tree until it formed a makeshift covering. You tied the sapling to the tree with your shitty rope, and after a few failed tries and having the sapling whip back at your face, you managed to tie it down. On the side of the sapling, you laid broken branches thick with needles to help against wind chill and protect from falling snow.
  59. After about thirty minutes, the job was done and the sky was dark. Off in the distance, you heard a very quiet roar of a bear. That thing… The Eldritch Bear. It was angry. At you? At what? If it really was the thing that killed the deer you found before… There was nothing but anger left in it.
  61. The Deer… Fuck! You were so scared that you didn't even think to take note of where the deer was for food! Yeah, it was pretty messed up from how the bear killed it, but hey, food was food. You weren’t gonna die out here for being prudish about what food you ate. Didn’t matter now, you had been just running blindly for fuck knows how long. If you came across another one of the bears… Victims, then maybe you could take some then. Regardless, you had no knife, no bag, nothing to cut it up with or to hold the meat in.
  63. Maybe you could make a bag with the reeds? No, that’d take too long. Your best bet would be to tear chunks off the deer and tie them around your neck or torso with the rope. Crude, but it’d work. You could cook some, and dry out the rest. You vaguely knew how to cry meat, so that’d be helpful for keeping it longer than usual. Plus, it was freezing out here. The cold could only help it keep, right?
  65. For now though, the exhaustion finally set in and you let your eyes close. You were curled up under your makeshift shelter, protected somewhat from the wind and snow. That was a welcome luxury, of all the little comforts you had, and it didn’t take long before you were dead asleep.
  67. -------
  69. What was this place? The gold expanse? What caused you to see it?
  71. Before you was the place from your… You guess you could call it a dream? When the light struck you. The life giving place that felt more like a state of existence than an actual physical place.
  73. You could hear them again. The voices. They were slightly clearer now, but what it said was still unintelligible. You swear you heard your friends names being said, as long as a few nonsense words, like “Feather” and “Heart”.
  75. It had no real meaning to you, and it sounded like they were just saying a few words after another with no real rhyme or reason.
  78. Whatever it said, the voice still had the effect it had on you the last time you heard it, and to be honest, the relaxing effect was welcome. You’d been way too stressed over the past few days and you needed some time to relax.
  80. -------
  82. Unfortunately, that time was now up. You woke up shivering, the shelter only able to provide the little heat for you that it had. To your delight, the morning sun was shining brightly in a cloudless sky, helping to thaw what was frozen of the river and to warm your body up with it’s rays. Praise the fucking sun.
  84. You ate as much of the nearby leaves as you could fit, before going to the stream and drinking deeply. You cursed after seeing the empty snare but left it there. You intended on coming back here anyway, it was only a little bit of a detour on your way back to the cars (You think. Serves you right for relying on that GPS too heavily). Feeling satisfied for the first time in a while, you smiled and closed your eyes, breathing the crisp morning air and listening to birds chirping nearby. If it weren’t for the fact that you were completely naked right now, you’d be pretty happy right now. Thank god there wasn’t any other people around right now, or you’d be blushing like a wee babe.
  86. Except, you were actually a babe. You shuddered at the thought of your missing genitals, only to remind yourself of a need to urinate. Shit.
  88. Well, you didn’t need to do that yet, but to be sure, it was coming.
  90. Where to do your business? The stream? It is flowing water, not like you’ll be accidentally drinking your piss later on. Plus, it means it’d wash your scent away, if the bear could actually smell you. Doesn’t seem likely that it could, or it’d probably have found you last night. This bear seemed a lot more primitive and ferocious in nature. You doubt it’d be winning any duels of wits any time soon.
  93. You went over your plan for today in your head. First, take some reeds and tie them into more ropes. Tie them around your neck for later. No telling when you’d need an emergency shelter.
  94. Second, make your way back to the hill and find your bag. It had food, water, bedding, even the GPS! You’d be saved for sure! You can only hope that Paulo and Rick had the satellite phone and could find their own way out of here, ‘cause the chances of you running into them out here were slim to none.
  96. If they weren’t already dead, that was.
  98. Third? What was third? You to guess start making your way back to the cars. Maybe Paulo and Rick would be there? Probably not. They probably went back for help if they did get to the cars. You could only hope that they did actually make it there.
  100. So you set off on your path back to the hill with reeds in tow.
  102. -------
  104. You finally neared the peak of the hill for the second time in two days. Thank you jeebus! Thank you Budha! Thank you mysterious sun god that the ancient dudes prayed to! Actually, fuck you. You made me this. Unfortunately, you hadn’t found the deer carcass on your way back here, or you would have stopped to harvest it a little.
  106. It didn’t matter now, though, as you had reached the peak and found your bag! Torn to shreds.
  108. “Fuck.” You mutter.
  110. “Fuck, fuck fuck.”
  112. The bags of jerky and preserved meat you had in the bag were completely gone, but luckily, this wasn’t the work of the bear. Whatever had torn apart your bag had not done it with malice, but just for the food inside. Probably a fox or a wolf, maybe a wolverine, though you had no idea if they were even in these parts.
  114. You searched through, finding that the water bottles, granola bars, and clothing were still in tact. Unfortunately, it seems the animal tore through your tent on it’s way in, rendering it completely useless now. Luckily, besides the hole in the front pocket, the bag was mostly in a good condition, meaning you could still carry it about and not have to worry about stuff falling out.
  116. Wait, where was the GPS. WHERE WAS THE FUCKING GPS!
  118. You scurried around, searching frantically. Your heart raced as you searched through all of the pockets in the bag. Not there. Your eyes shot around, searching the area around the bag, still nothing.
  120. Then you saw it. Peaking out from under a bush, the GPS lay. Thanking whatever god was looking down on you, you ran toward it, picking it up with your hooves and pressing a few buttons on it. The screen lit up.
  122. Cracks. The screen was completely smashed. What little of the screen still working was bleeding pixels everywhere.
  124. “FUCK!” You ditched the useless device off the edge of the hill, hearing it smash to little bits on a nearby tree trunk. Fuck your life. Fuck your shitty luck and fuck your shitty life. Of course this had to happen to you. You worked hard all your life, went on a single camping trip to pay respects to your dead dad, and life repaid you by saying “Well now, you’re as good as dead too.”
  126. Now, with nothing but a vague direction to head in, thanks to your reliance on that GPS, you were lost.
  128. At least you had warm clothing right? You pulled the spare parka over your head and slipped your hooves through the sleeves. It was huge, way bigger than needed and got in your way a little, but it covered your entire body like a coat, which was a lot better than freezing to death. You’d need it on the colder nights. You didn’t need the pants, but who knows when you could use the fabric for something? A tougher makeshift rope, extra carrying bags, you name it. Pants could be used for a lot more than just clothes, especially when in dire circumstances.
  130. You pulled out a granola bar and shoveled it down, glad to finally have a little bit of real food in your stomach. It was probably psychosomatic, but you almost immediately felt energized after eating the bar.
  132. Humming happily, you made your way back to the camp.
  134. -------
  136. Oh thank god! Real food! A rabbit! You caught a rabbit! It was already dead, thanks to the snare, so you untied it and brought it to your makeshift camp site. You spent some time gathering sticks and branches for a fire and used your flint striker to light it up again. You still had a little bit of trouble getting it to light with these clumsy hooves, but it eventually lit and you gave yourself a mini cheer as the flames took.
  138. It wasn’t long before the fire was blazing and you had done your best to remove the skin from the rabbit. It was a scary, confronting and messy job, holding the rabbit still with your back hooves, while gripping your knife between your front hooves and slicing it off. There was quite a bit of meat wasted like this, but there wasn’t a lot you could do with the amount of experience you had doing this stuff, which was to say none at all.
  140. You stabbed the messily skinned rabbit onto a stick and held it above the fire, turning slowly. It smelled a little strange, but you’d never actually smelled a cooking rabbit after all. Maybe they just smelled like this. After a while, the outside of the rabbit looked nice and cooked, so you took your knife and cut into the rabbit. It was a little pink still, and you had no idea if it was safe to eat raw rabbit, so you put it back over the fire until it was cooked all the way through.
  142. You hungrily bit into the rabbit and chewed. It was tough and thick, but with enough chewing you finally got a bite down. It tasted dry, oily and bitter, almost unlike meat entirely. You had heard from your mum that rabbit meat was disgusting, so you payed it no mind and reluctantly chewed down the rest of it.
  144. Now, with your belly full, and a short trip to the stream later for fresh water and to refill your bottles, you were ready to get back on your way to the first campsite, and hopefully, salvation.
  146. Hopefully.
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