I wasn’t always like this, alone and untrusting. I used to be friendly and I used to be happy. When I was young, I found the little joy there was in this snowy wasteland. I never complained of my life, and I never looked back. I kept my head up and I looked forward to each coming day. That all has changed now…changed ever since the humans came.
I was born into a loving family with a caring mother and a protective father.
My mother was the sweetest wolf that could ever walk the world for she was kind and gentle. Her patience was her greatest talent, as she kept calm through everything. She never worried about our situations for she knew that we were to get through everything. She knew that we would survive and that something good would always come along no matter how bad it would look at the time. Not only was my mother cheerful, but she was beautiful too. I take after her long, flowing white fur with the touch of sky blue along my stomach, ears, and tail, keeping me warm and comfortable throughout the frigid nights here. My mother had an unusually long mane also, which I have also taken from her, which would wrap around her neck and snug beneath her chin, giving her a “poofy” look. She was not, however, “poofy”. She was very trim, most likely from the small amount of food that lives in this environment, and I often felt worried when she would give me the little bit of food that she had. My mother was always looking out for me and she cared for me just as I did her. I looked up to my mother and I tried my best to be like her, however, I took more after my father.
My father was a strong-willed wolf with medium-length white fur that trimmed around his strong body. He took care of my mother and me very well as he hunted and found shelter for us. He was very courageous and brave, even against humans, and I marveled at his bravery. I am more serious like my father and always think of everything in a situation, including the negatives. Like my father, I often like to be alone and to stroll beneath the starry sky, thinking to myself. My father was very quiet and would often stare into the blaze of a fire for hours, just thinking. He wouldn’t say anything as he stared. He would just think. My father bore silver-tipped ears and tail, most likely giving me my “bracelets” of silver dots along with my silver nose. He was very protective as he loved my mother and I very much, and he would often go days without food, giving the few kills to us. He also put his family before him and I dearly loved him for that.
Together, my family and I lived in a distant snow-filled wasteland. The ground was mainly flat as it stretched for miles in every direction that I could see. I often felt dwarfed as I glanced at the infinite horizons, and the overpowering sky that loomed over. There were no trees or other beauties on this land, just snow. There was however food and my family was nomadic, following the food wherever it traveled. We were constantly moving and we never stayed in one area for long. We never found a place to call home, but the land was my home, and I was thankful.
It was the humans that changed everything in my life.
We were traveling through the blinding snow as it poured down on us. I remember that all I could see was the white of the world as I walked beside my mother, with my head turned to the side and my eyes clenched to avoid the piercing wind, blowing forcefully against my face. My long fur was blowing wildly making it difficult for me to continue. The sun glittered upon each snowflake casting a bright glow upon everything as it began to set below the horizon. The sky was filled with rays of pink, reminding me that night was soon to follow. I love night.
An unnatural, obstreperous sound came to my ears, yet I was unsure of what it was. “Snowmobiles!” my father cried out, alarming my mother and I. “We must go!” He quickly began to scan our surroundings but found that we had nowhere to go. The land was flat and barren for many miles giving us no place of concealment.
“Where are we to go?” my mother asked my father. For once I found a look of fear flash through her loving eyes as she thought of what was to come. “There is nothing here!”
As the horrible sound grew louder, I peered open my light, sky blue eyes to glance ahead. It was the first time that I had seen humans, yet my father had told me of his encounters with them before, warning me to stay away from them. “Humans are very dangerous, Snowfiss. You should never go near them if you see one, especially when they have a machine with them,” he had warned. Memories of when he had described the fearsome creatures to me began to recur. The hum increased in volume as the three humans drew closer. I found that they were on machines, which my father had mentioned as “snowmobiles” and they looked to be heading in our direction. A deep fear rose within me as I watched the treacherous beings draw closer and my heart rate began to increase. I wasn’t sure what to do.
“Run!” my father commanded my mother and me. He turned and valiantly ran up a slight hill of snow giving a final glance to us. “I told you to run!” he barked.
I remember that moment clearly as my father stood upon the hill, waiting and bearing a stern, determined look upon his face. His fur blew about wildly as the wind graced about him, and he kept his ground with a firm, proud stance, challenging the oncoming opponents. He did not look back to us, but kept his gaze focused ahead, preparing as the monsters drew nearer.
“Snowfiss! Come, Snowfiss!” I heard my mother cry out from behind me as she swept me up in her mouth and turned from my father.
I remember crying out for my father as I swung from my mother’s mouth, yet she did not listen. I batted my small paws at the air, calling and yipping as my father kept his back to me. I was too young to understand that he was protecting my mother and me. He was sacrificing himself for us, his family. I watched helplessly as the humans drew closer, the screeching roars almost unbearable to my ears.
Swaying from my mother’s rough bound, I watched as one of the men pulled his arm behind his head, armed with what appeared to be a large club. My father most likely took note of this as well as he flew from his snowy ledge and landed upon the man’s side, digging his claws through his clothing. There was a human yell as blood seeped through the man’s jacket and stained the white paws of my father, who continued to rip and slash at the man. As my father’s back leg hit the machine, turning a piece to the left I noticed the odd contraption turn suddenly, flinging my father from his unsteady position. Quickly bolting from the snow and regaining his stance, I felt a sense of hope spread over me as he lunged upon another man, stealing a ride on his snowmobile.
As the snowmobile that he had just left turned wildly through the snow, I found the driver unable to gain control and was sent crashing into the snow. He grumbled and yelled in his own tongue before glancing around, grasping his bloody side with his gloved hands. Just then he noticed my mother and me running from them and called out to the other humans, currently distracted with my father’s bold actions. I caught him pointing in our direction before snatching up his club and taking off on foot after us.
As the other humans started their machines after us, leaving my father behind, I felt joyful for him before quickly realizing that I was now the one in danger. My father would not have it as he darted across the snow after the machines, his legs swiftly carrying him across the frosted land. Luckily, his great speed enabled him to approach a human and lunge upon his back, nipping at his shoulders and neck. I felt a bit frightened as I witnessed his gleaming fangs tear at the man’s flesh before reappearing in their new, crimson shade. His face was twisted into a ferocious snarl that curled his lips back and wrinkled his nose and brow. Suddenly, I found my father pound into the ground below with a spray of snow as the human he had been attacking struck him with his weapon, sneering with delight.
I yelped in surprise as my mother glanced over her shoulder and turned to go back for my father. Just then, I felt a sharp pain explode throughout my quaint body along with the release of my mother’s soft grip and the new embrace of the cold snow surrounding me. I lay there in the frost with the excruciating pain weakening me each second. Soon, I found that my world had become dark and silent as I drifted from life.
There were stars tonight. I awoke to find the glittering constellations greet me with their mere presence. I felt a new comfort as I lay on my back, even with the frozen blanket covering me causing me to shiver as a slight smile spread across my face before I recalled the events that had just happened. Just then, I jumped to my feet and glanced around. Where was my mother? Where was my father? Were the humans gone? A sudden fear lurched within me as I checked the horizon only to find the dark of sky overhead. Then, I found a small figure ahead of me that caused me to instinctively run up to it. As I drew nearer, I recognized it to be my father, spread across the ground with a light dust of snow covering his fur. His eyes were clenched shut as he lay yet a mist emitted from the contrast of his breath and the air. He was still alive!
I nudged him with my snout to wake him from his slumber, yet there was no movement in response, forcing me to nip at his ear. The slight bit of pain flickered his eyes to blink open as he held up his head to look at me. “Snowfiss?” he asked wearily. “Is that you?” He returned his head to the ground as he gave a fatigued sigh. I watched his silver eyes widen with fear as he slowly began to remember the human attack. “Where is your mother?” he quickly questioned me as he attempted to lift himself from the ground. He moaned as he strained and found that he had not regained enough strength to come to his feet. It was then that I noticed the deep gash that tore into his right shoulder blade, revealing the blood and muscles that his skin had once covered. “Where is your-” he deliriously repeated as the weakness overcame him, driving him to close his eyes once more. “Where is…”
Silence returned to the barren land as my father’s placid breathing returned with his sleep. I felt alone as I sat beside him and decided to curl about his side in the soothing warmth of his fur. The thought of my mother taunted me, yet I felt my drowsy eyes begin to close. I fell asleep there under the night sky with my loving father beside, but I will never live to know what had happened to my mother that evening.
When I awoke the next morning, I found that my father was no longer resting beside me, but was off on the slight hill of snow. I slowly began to approach him with a heavy feeling within my chest. As his nose pointed towards the still darkened sky, I noticed his eyes carrying the sorrowful feeling of guilt and doubt. “Daddy?” I asked as I came up beside him.
“Oh Snowfiss,” he began glancing down from his sight in the skies to my young face. “You surprised me…”
I heard a new sound in his loving voice, one that had never been there before. Buried within the comfort of his words he carried a burden and I could sense it. “Where is Mommy?” I asked him, bewildered of where she could be.
There was no reply from my father as he broke from my glance. He turned his head to the ground as he contemplated his thoughts. I could tell that he was deciding how to tell me the unhappy news. “Your mother,” he began with a sigh, followed by a long pause. He glanced to the brightening sky before continuing. “I don’t know where your mother is, Snowfiss. The humans came, and I was knocked out. I do not know what happened. I don’t know what to do.” I heard his voice crack as he forced it to pass through his tense, dry throat.
Tears began to invade my eyes as I rested my head against my father’s leg. “Will she ever come back?” I asked him.
I felt the tension increase with my question as my father kept silent. I am not sure what he was thinking at the moment, but I know now that my mother never did return. The fur upon my face became matted as the tears emanated from my sorrowful eyes, putting me to sleep with the new thoughts of hatred and depression alive within me.
From that night on, my father and I lived without the loving comfort of my mother. I grew under my father’s guidance to be a young adult although we have been through some rough moments. It was very difficult living without my mother and we both suffered emotionally from the event. I often found my father blaming himself for my mother’s death for he thought that he could have done more to prevent her capture. He has never felt satisfied with himself since then and it has made me worry about him. I do not want him to be that way for he knows that there was nothing else that he could have done, yet I know that he is suffering from the loss of her. He misses her as much as I do and I can feel that from him. Without her here, it feels as if a piece of me has been taken away that I shall never retrieve. I will never know what is to fill that empty space, just what I can collect from my meager memories. My mother is gone…gone forever.
Although my mother was not there with me, I still tried to find the thin ray of hope that pierced through the darkness of our isolation. I helped my father along as he became older and often tried to cheer him up with encouraging words. You wouldn’t know it by looking at me now, but then I was very trusting and hopeful. I hid the revenge and rage that I felt for humans and got through each difficult winter together with my father. He has helped me so much throughout the years, and then I felt that it was my turn to help him.
It was until just recently that I have turned against the world. It was not too long ago when my father left me.
It was one year in which the temperatures had stayed low with longer storms and longer nights. I did not mind so much for my long, overgrown coat kept me warm and I am very fond of nights, but I could see the damage it did to my father. Throughout the gray, hazy days we traveled, following the food, and came to rest more often than before. My father was growing weak and tired, causing my childish worry to return. He was growing sick and I knew that it was serious, yet I did not know what to do.
As we traveled through the blinding snow, following the hunger pains in our stomachs, I constantly glanced behind me to check on my father. I walked ahead of him to cease the wind from him a bit to ease his travels, yet he was not as strong as he had been. It was one day that I glanced behind me to check on my father that I found he had collapsed in the snow, several feet behind me. Suddenly, I darted to his side and looked him over. His coughs came rough and raspy as the frigid air froze the lining of his throat. Ice had accumulated upon his nose and I feared for his sickness. “Father!” I cried out. “Father, you must get up. Come on, you have to get up!” I leaned to press my shoulder against his to help him come to his feet, yet he did not have the strength to continue. “Father, please!” I begged.
As he peered into my sky blue eyes with his own, I saw the weariness within his. They bore down on my soul like the clouds upon the sun, and told me that something was not right. The usual sparkle of his silver eyes had dulled to a gray and they showed the travail that he was currently going through. As he peered into my timorous eyes, I felt his loving warm embrace within his comforting words. “Snowfiss,” he muttered between coughs. His breathing had become choppy and sudden as he wheezed for the oxygen in the thin, frigid air. “Dear Snowfiss, I can not tell you how you have made me feel over these past few years. You have lightened my darkened world and brought joy to my desolate soul. I know that I would not have been able to continue without your help and I appreciate everything you have done for me.” He paused as another storm of coughs came, and I felt the tears beginning to swell within my eyes. I turned my head to hide my woe from him as the snowy ground became blurred. “Please, please do not let this stop you. You are strong Snowfiss, for you have come this far. You can make it through the winters and survive on your own.”
I turned to gaze into my father’s dying eyes with great compassion as he spoke. My tears streamed down the side of my face, yet I did not care. “Father, please!” I begged, not believing what he was speaking. “You can’t leave me!”
“Snowfiss, I know that this will be hard for you, but I must go. I wish I did not have to, but I must. You however must continue on. You cannot leave yet, not yet…” He paused once more as he gave a sigh followed by another series of coughs. “I know you can live strong…find the hope. You always have. I know you can…I love you very much, Snowfiss. I love you.”
As the light faded from my father’s closing eyes I felt as if the light within me had been blown out forever. I could not bear the loss of my mother and the death of my father. What was I to do? Where was I to go? I was all alone…with no one here beside me. I had never been alone before. I felt betrayed, as if my father had chosen to leave me, yet I knew that I was wrong. It was stupid of me to think that, but I was angry. I was angry at the world as it supplied me with nothing. I continued to travel through the fierce winter with the feeling of hatred within my soul. I felt excluded, isolated, and desolate. I had no one there to comfort me any longer and there was no one there for me to love. My family had been taken from me, the only wolves I had ever known. Were there others? Was I the only wolf in the world? Did this snowy wasteland stretch for miles with myself being the only one occupying it? Was this it? As I lived and thrived alone, I had much time to contemplate my thoughts and found myself often doubting everything. What was there to live for? This could not be it!
Months after my father had passed I found that the food supply that I had been hunting had also been diminishing from the treacherous season. I came to rely on an unseen presence as I prayed for a guardian angel to help me. I found comfort in my invisible guardian as I felt its feathered wings shelter me from the world. For a while, I felt a new hope within me, until I realized it to be false, yet I continued to pray. I continued to hope.
There were some days that I felt I could not go on. As the food died out, my body grew slim and fragile, weak from the lack of nutrition. Trudging through blizzards with howling winds pounding against my face, my thoughts often came to death. There were many times in which I thought that I would not make it through, and that it was the end. One day as I felt my emotions bare down on me, I pointed my nose to the dull sky overhead and told the world of my distress and desperation. My howl echoed across the barren land, stretching for what seemed to be miles. As I sang my woeful song, I felt a bit of tension leave throughout it, yet my soul was still bleak. I was severely depressed and had nowhere to go, no one to turn to. The world shunned me from it, leaving me to live in this brisk land filled with shadows and silence.
Suddenly, I heard the patter of footsteps behind me and turned to find a cougar standing before me. There was a slight smile on the short snout of the mountain lion with black bands around them and he stood with a strong, slim, and proud stance, very much like my father. A splash of navy blue streaked down his chest, running down his stomach as it stood out from his short, white fur. His tail bore the same blue tint along with his paws and inner ears and black bands wrapped about his ankles, tipped his ears, and wrapped about his tail once. His navy blue eyes bore the same oppressive look that I am sure mine bore, yet they gave a sense of curiosity. Who was this? After exchanging long, scrutinizing glances, I suddenly remembered my prayers and yelled out, “You have come! My prayers have been answered! Are you here to help? Are you here…from above?”
I felt an unusual smile radiate my face as I waited for a reply as my bright eyes widened with excitement. “I am Airiokko,” the cougar spoke before pausing. He stared down to his paws as he pondered over his thoughts. “I have lived here alone all of my life as my mother was killed by humans when I was young and I have never known my father.” He cleared his throat afterwards and I could tell that he had not spoken for a while.
“You live here?” I asked, astonished. Just then I realized that this was not a miracle as my face returned to its common somber stare. I found myself glancing to the ground before I continued, “I have lived here my entire life also. I too, lost my mother at an early age, yet I do not know if she lives or not. Humans took her away from me, leaving me to live with my father.” I paused with the tremendous recollection that brought back the drastic events from my life. I opened my sparkling eyes, not knowing that I had closed them and moved them directly to the sky overhead. It was so dreary and without life. I longed for night, to see the constellations again and to make out the pictures I saw within them. “M-My father…couldn’t make it through this winter. He-he left me to live alone just a few days ago. I have no one now…” My voice quivered, as a tear broke free from its barrier and soaked into the fur about my eye. There was a burn in my throat as I turned from embarrassment, holding back my tears, and biting my lower lip. I could not let him see me like this. “I am sorry,” I whispered, turning back to Airiokko. Just then, I darted off, my long legs carrying me away from the lupe just as my mother and I had run the day that she was taken. With the empty horizon stretched out before me, I did not think of returning. My mind was clear, my heart determined. Run.
I lived on after the encounter for a few weeks, deeply pondering over the cougar. Who was he? Why hadn’t I seen him before? Where did he go? Many thoughts washed through my mind, taunting me with the fact that I had run from my hope. Inside, I knew that he was my one chance of regaining my happiness, but my soul was hurt. I felt that I could not bring myself to others for they would only be taken from me. I did not want to be hurt again, and if I lived alone, I never would be. Alone… The word stung me as I thought of it. Alone in this silent world shrouded in darkness. I did not want to be alone anymore.
As I traveled through a terrible blizzard one day, I found myself clenching my eyes shut and trudging through the snow that brushed at my knees. My long, white coat fluttered from the tremendous wind as I turned my head from it. I had not eaten for days and I felt my strength weaken to where I could not go forth any longer. Suddenly, my knees buckled as I collapsed in the snow, unable to do anything. I could not move, I could not cry out…I could not go on. The world drifted away as I slowly closed my eyes, the sound of the howling wind fading to silence.
There was nothing all around me…I stood as if in a dream in the vague darkness of destitution with the frigid feeling still about me. I felt uneasy as I frantically began to run, my feet not touching the ground. I was unsure if I was moving at all, but there was a sense of timidity that was alive within me. My eyes grew wide as I panicked, running from my inescapable fate. Where was I going? Why was I here? Where was my home? It was odd that I thought of the snowy wasteland as my home. It had been the only land that I had ever known, yet it tortured me so. It kept me distant from the rest of the world to suffer in my own depression. I had nowhere to go.
I slowly came to a rest, floating there in the shadows of the world and came to realize that I was the only one in this barren world. The chill embraced me as I curled my tail around me, trying to warm myself, yet even my body gave no heat. The world was empty, the world was cold, and the world was silent for I was the only one, and I was to be the only one forever.
Just then, as I thought that no hope remained in the world, I heard a voice. The voice came from the darkness all around me and comforted me with its loving tone. I soon recognized it to be that of my father. “You can live strong, Snowfiss. Find the hope… I know you can.”
As his dying words drifted from me, I cried out to him in desperation. “Father, I am here! Where are you? Father!” I began to run through the desolation once more with my head searching the shadows above me. “Where are you Father?” I repeated. As I came to a stop, the sorrow returned, settling within me as a rock would settle to the bottom of a lake. I was alone once more.
My eyes quickly flashed open as I found myself panting and heaving from fear. It was all but a dream, yet it had felt so real. It had felt as if I was the only wolf here in the darkness of the world. Then, as my nerves calmed and I felt my heart rate returning to normal, I realized that I was no longer out in the treacherous storm. I scrutinized my surroundings and found a radiant fire raging before me as I lay against the side of a rocky wall. I could see the blinding snow from the cave’s entrance of which I sat, and found that I was alone in here. How did I get here? Did somebody- Just then I realized that the cougar I had met earlier must have brought me to his home. Airiokko…why did he leave?
Suddenly, I found my childish fears return as I felt the sharp pain of losing one I loved, and found myself darting out of the cave and into the blinding storm. I ran from the one thing that could cure my woeful heart once more…
As I continued to live, starving from the lack of food, I found that I could not drive Airiokko from my mind. He was the only other creature that I knew and I was extremely curious about him. I secretly wished to meet with him again and hoped that I would not escape from him when I did. I did not want to be alone any longer; I wanted to be with him. I did not understand why the mountain lion would not leave my thoughts, but he was there. He was alive as I thought of him and I found that it would bring a slight smile to my face. What was this rise of happiness that I felt about him?
I decided that I could no longer live in this barren world without the comfort of someone beside me as I traveled to the cave in which I had awoken in. There was a hill that overlooked the cave that I stood upon, watching the entrance intently. With the starry sky glittering above me, I pulled back my head and watched as a figure came forth from the glowing entrance of the rocky structure. Through the snowy veil that separated the two of us, I found that it was Airiokko and stood with a joyful look about my face.
As I could not take the wait any longer, I threw out the fear that kept me from him and ran down the side of the snowy hill. Before approaching him, the memories of the human attack and of my father’s death came to mind striking sadness into my heart once more and reminding me of the pain I would endure if I were to lose him. I stopped a few feet before him and stared into his dark eyes with a childish look. My emotions emitted from my eyes, enabling him to read my thoughts easily.
It surprised me to find a friendly smile spread from his lips and brought tears to my eyes. I buried my face into his chest of navy blue, unsure of exactly why I was crying. Whimpering my emotions out into my new companion, I felt a bit of relief and delight build within me. He placed his head against mine as he whispered into my ear with his calming and soothing voice, “It is alright. You are safe here. You can always trust me.”
As I took in his caring words, I thought over my life, unsure if I would be hurt once more. “Am I really?” I asked him. “Can I…trust you?” I tried to give him my faith and I tried to believe that I could trust him, but it was difficult. I could never go through what I had gone through again.
“Come,” he replied. “Come in where it is warmer.” He turned and walked into his cave, out from the cold and I rested against the rocky wall. I recognized it to be the same spot in which I had awakened. Airiokko released a sigh as he took his spot a few feet from where I lay. The blaze was shedding its warmth upon me as I stared into it with the thoughts echoing through my mind. My tears had ceased, yet my eyes were still soaking in them. I felt a bit embarrassed in front of Airiokko, but I knew that I did not have to worry. My troubles were over.
After talking with him for many hours, I felt myself opening up to him. After sharing our life stories with each other, I learned a great deal about him and felt ashamed of myself for being so sensitive. Airiokko had fallen into a deeper depression than I had, but he had handled it better. Humans had killed his mother right in front of him and he had never known his father. He had grown and survived his entire life without anybody by his side, his taunting nightmares keeping him awake each night. I felt sorry for him as he shared his feelings and felt loved when he told me that I had brightened his world for him.
As I told my story to Airiokko, I felt a new understanding come to me. I may not know if my mother was alive or not, but I could live on the hope. My world was not entirely bitter as I had many good fortunes. I had survived without my mother and had helped my father along. Even after my father’s death I was able to live and go on without him and found another creature who lived here. I survived the long nights and harsh winters and was even rescued when I could not continue. There were good events that happened in my life that gave me hope to continue and I know now that I can with Airiokko by my side.
Since Airiokko has shared his loving feelings for me, I explained how he made me feel. We now help each other get through each day and I love him with all of the love in my heart. I am very delighted that he is here with me and thankful that he is the one that lives in this barren world with me, for if it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t be here.