My long claws scrape against the ice and snow as I move slowly up the hill. I don’t know where I’m going, but I feel instinctively like I’m escaping from something and that I have to keep moving. I’m not sure if it’s paranoia or the cold that’s driving me anymore, but I’m still going.
Even though my whole body is shivering and rubbed raw from the freezing weather. Even though I have no idea why I woke up here.
I’ve reached a patch of deep snow and it’s getting harder to move, as my claws rake through the ground.
A claw snaps and I stop in my tracks, digging my foot into the snow to stop the bleeding. I lift it up after a few seconds, the claw must have torn tissue, as the cut is very deep. My pearl white flesh has been dyed red around the hole.
I wince loudly, I’m not good at handling pain, or gore. I should go back to that frozen pond I saw earlier on and soak it in cold water. That might numb the pain.
I shift round, and lope back down the hill, irregular red dots from my wound marking out my path.
I reach the pond, though you can hardly call it a real pond, as it’s really just a long puddle, and dip my foot in it. A red flower blooms in the water. I turn my head away, and instead focus on my surroundings. I’m closed in by tall and thick trees, dead hedges, and snow everywhere. In the corner of my eye I can see a mound of brown rock.
A good place to survey for my enemies. The voice in my head whispers. I shake my head, I don’t have any enemies, as far as I can tell, I’m alone in this world. I wish the voice would leave me alone, it’s been appearing on and off since I woke up in a cave around two days ago.
A pain in my chest sears violently, as I think about the day I woke up. The pain always comes when I try to think about my past, like it's punishing me. I look up at the sky now, watching the clouds drift past lazily, with ease, as if they had all the time in the world.
I like watching the clouds, it helps calm me down, particularly after the voice or pain has come. My foot is completely numb from the cold at this point, so I drag it out of the water and roll onto my back, lying on the snow.
I want to remember. I want to have a past, and memories, but all I feel inside of me is an empty shell. The pain in my chest rears its head again and I gasp for air. The pain settles down and disappears once again, as if it never existed. Mocking me. Why can’t I remember? Why does the pain in my chest keep appearing when I try to?
I clump together snow with my claws in distress. Without warning, I start shaking violently, and the weird lumps all over my body bob up and down. A feeling like trickling water erupts on my back and I jump into the water in an attempt to stop it. I don’t like this feeling at all, it makes me feel like I’ve lost control over myself.
The shaking slows after a few seconds and I’m left with a warm sensation in my blood. I step out of the water and pause for a moment, panting slightly. I feel more panicky and paranoid than ever before, and the freezing air hits my face like slamming into a brick wall.
Vulnerability creeps up on me, and I tense as if I’m about to be attacked.
In the bushes. The voice in my head says.
There’s something in the bushes.
I shake my head, as if I could empty the voice out of my head. I can’t help being curious though. I slowly approach the thing I called a ‘dead hedge’ earlier on. Is whatever is behind it something like the fish I have been eating for the past few days, or is it something else, like me?
I rest my foot that hasn’t been injured on the bush, and twist my head round to see whatever it is. Intriguing. It’s a large dog, grey with bulging eyes and floppy ears, and it’s lying down.
I sniff the air, it smells strange and metallic.
Then I see the blood pouring out of the dog’s leg.
Easy prey. Says the voice in my head. No. I don’t want to kill the dog. It is helpless. I want to help it.
It is dying.
The voice in my head persists, and I feel like I can detect something sinister about the way it speaks.
I don’t want to hurt it.
I gently pick up the dog in my jaws and bring it carefully over to the pond. I lay it down. I realise I don’t know what to do now, would numbing the pain help? I trot in a circle thinking. The blood the dog is losing is bad, I should stop it from bleeding. I gather snow in a pile and compress it. Then, I place the pile on the wound and press down.
I don’t know if this is even helping.
The dog’s eyes roll around in it’s head and it looks at me with fear in its eyes. I wish I could tell it that it is okay. But I’m not surprised that it is afraid. I’ve seen my reflection in the pond. The revolting lumps, the skin so pale you can see the veins and the deadly knife-like claws. I’m a monster.
The snow I’ve placed on the dog’s leg quickly soaks up the blood, leaving it a murky red. Has the bleeding stopped yet? Could the snow be infecting the cut? I could be doing this completely wrong and hurting the dog more, and this scares me.
The dog yaps loudly, distracting me from these thoughts. I look down at it, and let its beady eyes roam all over me. It yaps louder again and barks frantically. I lift my foot off slightly and turn to look for a pile of clean snow.
The dog takes this chance to writhe out of my grasp and run far off into the forest, leaving a red trail behind. I know there’s no point in chasing it, as I could really scare it.
I sigh deeply. I hope the dog will be okay, but I’m not sure if it will survive more than a few cold nights here. I feel like I’m barely surviving them, and I’m not severely injured.
Not yet, anyway.
The voice in my head says spitefully. I breathe slowly, and turn around to walk away. I still don’t know where I’m going, but I feel the need to move. I stagger in the direction I’ve turned towards and see a few snowflakes starting to fall.
Snow is nice during the day, as it gives me a nice sensation when it lands on my body. However, during the night it is horrible, as it adds to the freezing cold that plagues me, always leaving me feeling weaker than ever.
Hopefully it will stop before dusk. For now though, I concentrate on making my way towards yet another snowy hill. I’ll go anywhere that takes me away from the cave I woke up in.
As I steadily lumber, I turn to the side and see the rows and rows of mountains that surround me.
Their beauty that at first impressed me, now only leaves me with a sour feeling. Because, now matter where I walk to, the mountains are trapping me right here.
Which makes you easy prey for those coming to get you.
The voice says, emotionless, and smooth as silk.
I shudder nervously.
Nothing is coming to get me.
Why would anyone need to hurt me?
I’ve done nothing wrong.