It wasn't long until the food supplies ran low. Snowbound and desperate we all started soon becoming vulnerable, breakable by infinite fear and unbeatable hunger. No matter how much hopeless I felt, I always found the strength to pray to the Almighty Lord to get us all through this misfortune safe and to fear no evil. Not all of us managed to keep it together in the long run.
We killed the horses one by one, all four of them for the six of us. They lasted for five or six weeks. We even boiled the bones over and over again to make soup and that was it. It was our last distasteful nourishment until then. Sick and exhausted as we were, we just sat and waited to die.
Colonel Red was the first one to lose it. Disciplined as a war veteran can be, nobody expected him to prove himself as the most fragile one. He once was our leader and our guide. Maybe it was his guilt for having us taking that fatal shortcut, maybe his conscience was distressed on its own or maybe what was happening in his mind was just what starvation can do to man. Famished as he had become, he attacked us, kicking and screaming and scratching and biting like a madman. As I barely overpowered him, trying to tie him up, Graves fell onto him and split his head in half with a big rock. Next thing I remember is the smell of cooking meat hitting my nostrils like a tidal wave, awakening me in a new day of hope. I felt alive again.
After a week I was strong enough again to go out in the cold and look for some roots to dig up and wood to keep the fire burning. I was away for about three hours and when I got back, out of the cave came that same sweet smell I smelled the day Red died. Inside it was bad. It was massacre. Graves had them all our comrades killed and chopped up to shares. There was enough meat to last us two survivors throughout the whole winter. Stunned to the horrific sight, I didn't spell a word. I stood there in awe, staring at the bloody mess. Graves was already holding a hatchet, butchering the bodies like a maniac when he turned his crazy eye on me. It was clear that I would be his next victim.
Looking with greed at me, he assaulted me, showing teeth, froth was coming out of his mouth, ready to lay his sharp blade upon me. He cut me twice before I smashed the bastard's face on the cave's rough walls. To this day I wonder if this makes me a murderer or not. I don't know whether I should call myself a killer or a survivor. I try to ease my sense of right and wrong by telling to myself that this was a pure act of self defense. Yes, that's what it was.
I ate him first, Graves. Some of his parts I didn't even bother to cook. I preserved the rest of the stack of meat outside, dug in the snow. Some of it rotted when the snow began to melt, but the most important thing was that I made it to spring, alive and healthy as a horse.
Hesitant but full of life, I gathered my strength and headed out to find some civilization.