Alexandra Perry 2022
Rys padded through the thick snow. She shook her head and her hair flicked her ears. The sun was setting, and yellow-golden light glowed through the trees, shooting beams into the slowly falling snowflakes, making them glint golden. She turned her head to the river beside her and then followed it downstream. She gazed upon the glittering snowflakes as they began to fall faster. The wind was picking up and beginning to pierce through her fur. She loved snowflakes and knew that every snowflake was unique - no two where the same. Sometimes she doubted this, thinking how on earth can every single snowflake ever to exist look different from each other?
She kept thinking this as she walked beside the river. A few lonely cattails swayed in the breeze. The golden sunset glow was beginning to vanish behind the trees, and the sky above grew darker. Rys looked up at the clouds. The snowflakes drifted down from high above. Snowflakes come from thick grey clouds, she observed. Thick and grey is what my head feels like when I’m sad. Thinking about Lusis makes me sad. Rys’s heart sank at the thought of her dead sibling. Maybe snowflakes are like thoughts. Maybe before they fall, snowflakes jumble around and freeze up. A few twinkling ice crystals passed in front of Rys’s face. And when they fall, they become nice thoughts. Rys stopped in her tracks. Further ahead, a rock stuck out from the riverbank, and leaned over the flowing water. A terrible memory glared in her mind.
She was playing in the snow, leaping around in circles, and chasing after her sister Lusis. “Come and catch me!” she meowed. “You’re too fast!” Rys whined playfully. The sky was darkening, and stars became visible. Lusis leapt across a stream, and up onto a rock. She stood at the tip of it. Rys jumped onto the rock beside her. “Rys, look,” Lusis breathed. “Wow,” Rys said, “snowflakes are pretty.” She tossed a few tiny, sparkling flecks around with her paw. “No, not snowflakes,” mumbled Lusis. “Look,” Rys squinted. There was a gap in the trees that lead onto the clearing in which the lynxes played, but something was moving through it at great speeds. Huge dark figures growing larger as they came closer, pounding the snow with their powerful paws. A long, low wail pierced the air, and made Rys’s heart turn cold.
“WOLVES!” screamed Lusis, turning away, to where their mother was hunting. “MAMA!” Rys cried. Appearing on the opposite side of the clearing was Rys’s mother, who had heard their calls of distress. “Lusis, run!” Rys yowled. Lusis slipped down the rock and tumbled to the ground. She scrambled to her feet, just before one of the horrible beasts jumped onto the tip of the rock, emanating a low, jarring growl. It barked, opening powerful jaws to reveal gleaming, pointy teeth. Lusis whimpered in fear and sprinted over to Rys.
Rys whipped her head around to face her mother. Her eyes were wide open, and her fangs were bared. The wolf jumped down from the rock and slammed its paws beside Lusis. Their mother growled, and advanced on the vicious wolf, rearing up on her hind legs to slash at it with her front paws. Her claws dug into the wolf’s shoulders, and it swung its head in an arc to throw her off. “Lusis, come on!” Rys shouted. There was a loud thump, and the lynx mother was sent flying. The wolf shook her off, and then, it opened its jaws, and brought its fangs down onto Lusis. A yowl shook through the clearing. “LUSIS!” Rys screamed, before her mother grabbed her by the scruff of her neck, and swept her away, running back into the forest.
Snow covered up the blood just as quickly as it appeared. Lusis was gone.
Rys stared at her paws. I still miss Lusis. She thought. She looked back up at the drifting snowflakes. It was night-time now. Maybe for a snowflake to be unique, it has to be jumbled in the clouds. Maybe snowflakes are like lynxes too. Rys looked at the stars. No two snowflakes are the same. For this to be true, snowflakes must be thrown around violently in stormy clouds. It is the journey that makes you who you are, and you are shaped by your pain. Rys felt wind blow gently behind her. She turned to see a sparkling, translucent figure sitting in the snow. It walked toward her and pressed her head into Rys’s neck. “I’m always here for you,” it whispered. The ghost faded away, and sparkles drifted toward the sky. Rys followed them with her gaze, and saw shimmering green ribbons dancing in the sky, slowly waving back and forth.
“Thank you, Lusis.”