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Adventure Drama Fiction

Biting winds sink their teeth into all who enter the Boreal Forest. Trees once ripe with foliage, have long been draped in dresses of snow. Lost to time, only those who inhabit the lands can perceive the trails through the forest. Yet, outside of the forest, there are some who hear the call of knowledge and adventure from the land. The calls to map the original paths, and to discover the other side. These calls are short lived, when faced with the edge of the forest. Many slink back to their homes unable to conquer their own fears. Those who create the resolve to push in and follow their own path, turn around within a day. All but one that is.

Opening his eyes, Blaze is greeted with the embrace of darkness. Jerking, he attempts to stand up and hits his head. His hands instinctively reach for his head as he breathes in the humid earthy air. Blaze reaches in front of him, touching the smooth surface, running his finger along the wall of his enclosure until he feels uneven bumps. He presses both his hands hard against the course surface and pushes. Nothing happens. He takes a deep breath and pushes again. Sounds of cracking ice enter the enclosure as he continues to push. With a final crack, the rock moves easily out. 

The frigid air brushes against Blaze’s face as he crawls out of the tree’s trunk. Standing up, Blaze turns to face the Sun through the snow-clad trees. With a tired smile, he begins his morning stretches. First moving his head gently from side to side, next rotating his shoulders. Meticulously, he moves down his entire body easing his joints and muscles for the day's journey.  Only light flurries today, it will be a good day to move.

Looking at the ground, Blaze starts to follow the broken tree branches he placed into the snow. One branch is on its side, pointing towards a marked tree with a line of snow from the ground to the tree’s limb. Hesitantly, Blaze moves towards the tree and brushes his hands against the line of snow. White flakes fall off revealing a line of ice. Blaze begins to laugh, the sound choked and dry. Wrapping his hand around the line of ice, it begins to burn. With a sharp motion the ice snaps. He holds up the ice in front of the sun and laughs to himself again before dropping the frozen rope. Putting his hands in his pockets, Blaze sets off towards the sun.

As the sun reaches its zenith, clouds begin to obscure it. Blaze picks up his pace and frantically looks around. Nothing but trees covered with ice and snow. The wind begins to pick up pushing blaze towards one of the trees. Blaze unties his belt and loops it around one of the lower branches, then loops it around his wrist. Huddled against the tree, he waits. The wind crescendoing around him, mixing fresh snow with old. Blaze closes his eyes and hugs the tree’s trunk as if it was his mother. The blustering wind covers all traces. Footprints gone. Patches of fur left on branches, gone. The screams of a lone person… Gone.

With the storm passed, Blaze opens his eyes. Darkness. He moves his head to see nothing. Breathing heavier he brings his free hand to feel his eyes. They’re closed. A small line of ice has formed on the eye lid. He cups his hand over his mouth to reach his eye and exhales. He repeats the process until the ice melts enough for him to open one of his eyes. Blankets of snow cover the area. Where before the snow came up to his ankles, it is now up to half his calf. Shaking, Blaze scratches his nose and looks at his tied up hand. It has taken on a purple hue. He hurriedly unwraps the belt from his wrist and starts flexing his fingers with the aid of his other hand. Useless. Blaze stares at the unmoving hand, a twisted grin crossing his face.

The clouds begin to part, revealing the sun is well past its zenith. Blaze soullessly walks ahead thinking of all he has lost since entering the forest. Blaze stirs from his thoughts to the smell of smoke. Scanning the area, a pillar of smoke is in the distance. Mustering his remaining strength he trudges through the snow towards the smoke. Wind hits his face, it no longer hurts, but he can smell meat being cooked. The edge of the forest is in sight. Breaking through the forest, Blaze is met with an even plain covered in snow. At the far end he can see a campfire with tents surrounding it. 

With as much excitement as a fatigued body can bring, Blaze rushes over towards the camp calling out. His voice is raspy and weak and doesn’t carry across. He moves his good arm in large broad motions. Movement. A massive crack comes from underneath all the snow. Everything stops. Blaze looks up at the sun once again and watches as it gets further away from him as he submerges into arctic water.

The cold seeps through to his bones and the air escapes his lungs. As he sinks, Blaze looks up. Darkness. He looks down. Darkness. Down here, there is no telling the direction of anything. Blaze closes his eyes and feels a rush of water run past him. Light. A group of people surround his shaking body. Blaze tries to speak, but his teeth won’t stop chattering. The people bring blankets to cover him and place him on a sled.

The sky is his only view, even shaking, Blaze takes it in. He watches as the snow falls to the ground ever so gently. One would think they are falling so lightly for children to have something nice to play in. He looks past the snow, and looks to the sun. Blaze smiles his widest, feeling a warmth he’s never felt before. He basks in the rays of the sun, smiling as if it was giving him the spotlight. A light for all who lost their way and didn’t know it. An ever-burning ball of love. Blaze closes his eyes after the fourth day of entering the Boreal Valley.

August 14, 2021 02:44

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