Ever have that feeling when you’re so hot, you begin to feel cold? Like when you put your hand under steaming water for too long?
Well I was experiencing the opposite.
The dry arctic night air was frosting the walls of my lungs, making even my breath as I exhaled cold. The tips of my feathers covering my face from the cold formed tiny crystals of ice. My body had gotten so numb, I could no longer feel the stiffness in my limbs, or the frostbite beginning to consume my finger tips.
I never believed in a God, but at this moment, I was praying. I was praying that Wes wasn’t dumb enough to come out here in the harsh cold. He nearly froze to death in my cadaver freezer, and there was no way he’d survive for them fifteen minutes in the Baron Northern Highlands. I would never want him to experience what I was feeling, or should I say not feeling, right now. I am a man of science, but I can assure you now, meteorology was not a branch of science I will ever have interest in studying.
Miles I walked, and I felt I wasn’t getting any further away from the village then where I was two hours ago. Did I die? Is my body laying somewhere frozen and lifeless in the snow, and I’m actually stuck in a loop of eternal winter because I was stupid enough to challenge mother nature? I began to question everything. Was I really moving? Was I imagining the sounds of my feet crushing the snow beneath me? Should I turn back and try to find the village, or my frozen corpse? The more I thought, the more I convinced myself that I was in a frozen hell. An empty realm of snow, and a black sky. The only thing to keep me company was the sound of my footsteps. Until, I broke the loop.
My left foot touched the snow, and a loud crack emitted, hurting my ears. I stopped, looking down at my feet. Nothing was there, but feet and snow. As I shifted my weight to take another step, a series of more crackles sounded. I knew then, that what was under this snow, was not ground.
Without another warning, the snow caved in and my body fell through. I hit the solid ground back first. If I could feel, I’m sure I would have felt bones shatter. I layed there a few minutes, staring at the hole I fell through, looking at the stars in the sky. Then slowly, and stiffly I got to my feet and observed my surroundings. I was in a tunnel. It opened wide and seemed to go on forever in one direction. I could not see what was down the tunnel, but I had a feeling it went on for miles. The other direction was blocked by the snow that fell. This must have been the tunnels Vandamere mentioned when I sat in his house. He told me the outsiders here hid underground, moving through tunnels. The tunnels were like mazes, only the creatures living down here could move through without getting lost.
If I followed the black path, I’d surely meet up some outsiders, but I was is no condition to fight. With that decided, I climbed the hill of snow to the surface, the winter air biting at my face when I got to the top. I looked down into the tunnel once more, seeing some of my feathers scattered where i landed, and trailing up to where I stood. My feathers weren’t going to stay on me much longer, which meant I had to leave the arctic, and soon.
- - -
I can’t tell you how happy I was when the sun came up and I spotted my first tree. My feathers had shed off, but the sun was beating down on me. The trees grew larger in numbers and before I knew it, I was back in the forest. Retracing my steps, I couldn’t help but feel I failed my search for Wes as I walked through the woods.
“I was on his trail. I followed the clues, listened to the hawk, but I still found a dead end. Wes… You better be dead, because I’m going to kill you when I find you for making me do all this.”
I muttered to myself as I cleaned the lense of my glasses with a handkerchief. I hated Wes, and I loved him… I hated that I loved him. I could be in my lab, finishing up on my latest research, working on test subjects, writing my reports. But no. I’m on a search for my boyfriend who up and left me one morning.
“Why did he have leave? He should have trusted me that I wouldn’t let the Higher Ups find out about him when they came to my mansion. Or was this for another reason…? Maybe Wes wanted to leave for a while, and now he finally had an excuse. Does He not love me anymore? I haven’t been paying much attention to him with my work. I’d always snap at him when he’d come into lab, even if it was to bring me more coffee. It’s no surprise he’d want to leave.”
I had to stop thinking about it. The last thing I should be doing in convincing myself that Wes left for other reasons, then to save himself and me. With those thoughts out of my mind, I moved forwards. It wasn’t long until I transformed into my spirit animal form, a large blue and yellow feathered hawk. I took flight in order to cheat out of three hours walking. Within four hours, I saw my home.
I looked at the valley below, with it’s tree covered hills, and long snaking river. Then, the grandest sight of all, my city. Taking a quick stop at home however, was not in my plans. If only I’d stick to my plans more often, because I changed my direction and flew towards my city the second I thought of Wes returning home. It was a possibility that he did come back while I was gone, and I had to be sure.
- - -
My stop at home was kept short. I did a simple search for Wes, looking in the bedrooms, the kitchen, even in my lab. Treches came to greet me when I went in my lab, eager to help me with my work. Unfortunately for him, I had no time for that. I asked him if Wes showed up since I left, but he shook his head in silence.
I took time to change into lighter clothes, for the hot weather of the desert I was set on going to, and made sure I got a nice cup of coffee. The coffee was refreshing, but it wasn’t Wes’s, and left me feeling emptier than before. Grabbing my lab coat I move to the front door of my house.
“Don’t touch the note on the kitchen counter, it’s for Wes,” I instructed my servants. After that, I was gone yet again on my search for Wes.
You left your dirty clothes on the bed again. I want it picked up IMMEDIATELY. Make me some coffee for when I return.
P.S. Feed the dog.
It wasn’t a very welcoming note, but that was the point. He didn’t leave a mess, and the coffee was pointless, and we don’t have a dog. However, Wes always referred to Treches as a dog, because of his loyalty, and how much he loved to fetch my tools for me. I could only hope that Wes would get the hint and go downstairs to see Treches. In the lab, Treches would give him the second note.
I’m gone to the desert searching for you. You asshat, you could have told me where you ran off to. Stay put here, and I’ll return within three days. I hope you’re ok. Now get out of my lab you goof before you lock yourself in the cadaver freezer again, you know you’re not allowed down here.
Time to leave my home, only to return to another. The desert in mind, was not just a wasteland of dust and dry air, but it was my birthplace. It’s about time I pay my mother a visit, and see what was left of the town me and Wes grew up in. The town where Wes’s life changed forever.