Winter

They say that the touch of man is inescapable. That no matter where you go, there’s always some sign of civilization, some feeling of safety and belonging.

Well, let me tell you something, boy. Those people are wrong because they’d like to think that man is some kind of unstoppable force, rolling over nature and paving cities in its stead. They’ve spent all their pitiful lives surrounded by their own creations, convinced that somehow they’re more important than any other speck of dust on this planet.

Out here? Out here, the animals don’t care who you are as long as you’re lunch. Out here, you can go miles and miles and endless miles without seeing another man. The scientists say that there’s remains of ancient animals, frozen underneath this tundra, waiting to be uncovered. It’s just too bad that no one wants to trek all the way out here, in the middle of nowhere, for some old skeletons, isn’t it?

I’ve been out here for years. Just some crazy old man, out all alone in the wilderness. No one wants to be on caretaker duty, much less during the winter. But we don’t draw our lots in life, do we? You get what you get, and you’re glad to have a job and a warm place to sleep while you’re at it.

Of course I could have left at this point. But when I’m dead and gone, who’ll take my place? You won’t see anything but trees and snow out here, but sometimes you stumble upon things out in this godforsaken place. You don’t see people out here often. I’ve gone years upon years where the only thing that happened was that my beard got longer.

Of course, some young folks had to ruin my fun, looking for adventure. Hah. The only things that they found out here was the cold, the wolves, and the Grim Reaper. And me, I suppose, but it’s more accurate to say I found them. Or rather, I found him.

You want me to clarify what that means? Well, isn’t it obvious? The rest of ‘em died. What, you expected a bunch of stupid, naive teenagers to last any length of time out here? The cold took two of them. Hunger got the third. 

The rest of ‘em? Eaten. Killed by something, something feral. That’s for sure; no man did that. Not unless he ripped those kids apart with his bare hands.

Out here? Probably a pack of wild dogs. They get real hungry right about now, and they go at whatever they can find; once found a bunch of them fighting a bear. Real dangerous little buggers, that’s for sure. Don’t care for their own safety and they’ll go mad at the sight of blood. Would have gotten the last one too, if I hadn’t gotten to him first.

The survivor? You’ll have to ask him about that one. I keep to myself, leave other people alone to their own business. I won’t pry unless he wants to tell.

Nah, thank you for your time. Gets pretty lonely up here, and I don’t get visitors much. G’luck with that article, anyhow. Maybe the government will remember this place exists. Hah. I doubt it.

One last things: get out of the woods before dark. Why? Well, for one, it’s hard to find your way out once things get dark. Bring a flashlight if you want, it won’t help much unless you’ve got a map of the place, and I haven’t found one in twenty years, so good luck. And two, well, you never know what might be waiting in the darkness.






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