Word Count 499
By Sharon Collins
Sister journeys away from me more often of late. She is gone again tonight. I fear she seeks to leave me. I will miss my beautiful, white she-wolf if she does leave, as I need her far more now than she needs me. Long past are the nights when I curled around her, keeping her little puppy bones warm. Now full-grown, she sleeps curled at my back instead. How our lives have changed. Besides sharing her warmth, Sister shares her food. Mid-way though the days of the early-dark, she decided food from the sea was not only smelly, it was not nearly as tasty as the rabbits she could hunt at the forest’s edge. Thanks to Sister, many rabbits have given their meat to our bellies and their white fur to my sewing tool. Tonight I lie beneath a cape of white rabbit rubbing my favorite yellow-bright back forth against its soft fur, sending bits of fire dancing into the dark. Lonesome, I stare at the sky and wonder if the moon is lonesome too, but decide not. The honking-birds that return with the long-days are keeping her company tonight. I asked the Wise-man once if they flew all the way to the foot of the Endless Ice. He said it was not necessary for a girl to know such things. But I wished to know…I always wish to know.
Without warning, my wishing vanishes as the floor of our cave begins to shiver like a live thing. I try to stand, and crash to my knees when the floor suddenly slants sideways scattering my bowl of yellow-brights toward the fire-pit and almost rolling me into it after them. The walls tremble and groan like a beast in great pain, and stones, shaken loose tumble toward me. One strikes my head and the last I see is a yellow-bright melt and puddle like honey.
I wake to a sound I have never heard before, a low, rumbling hiss. Scrambling to the cave’s mouth, I cry out for Sister. I do not know if I am angry or grateful she is gone this night, for the sight before my eyes terrifies me. The sea is gone. Far below, where there should be water and waves, there is nothing but empty sand, dark and damp in the cold moonlight. I sense this is very wrong and for the first time in a very long time, I do not wish to know why. In the distance, there is movement. The hissing rumble becomes a roar. I cover my ears but do not cover my eyes as I cannot believe what I see. A wall of water races toward me, getting bigger with each frantic beat of my heart. I am sure I am screaming as the towering wave slams into the cliffside, but I cannot hear myself over the grinding and groaning of water pounding on stone as the flood rises to within an arm’s-length of the ledge where I kneel.