7 February, 2017 by katelaity
‘Closing the door behind us we stood for a moment to let our eyes adjust. After the gloom inside the house, the white of the moonlight on the snow almost dazzled. The winds that had howled around us all day stilled but for wisps that blew eddies of snow around our feet. The quiet made me shiver even as the cold sought to fill my bones. For a moment, I thought myself mad to be seeking out this horrid creature they all—so wisely—feared. But I had come to this land in search of wonders and it was wonders I would have.
‘I looked over at Ihiipii. He was alive with the same tension and excitement. It was a bit worrisome to have the youngster along for the journey, but being an adventurous lad myself I could not really reason any way to keep him from his inclinations. If I am to be completely frank, the knowledge of a native of the land would doubtless be a plus as well. Though I had learned many things, there was much of the country that remained an oblique mystery to me.
‘Suddenly the quiet of the night was torn by the uncanny cry of the creature. After a moment’s quailing we squared our shoulders and headed off in what we thought to be the right direction. I am fortunate that I have an extraordinarily good sense of direction, something I fear one either has or disastrously does not have. So many men perish in the wilds of the north because they get lost. My confidence in my own abilities was boosted by my companion.
‘Though young Ihiipii certainly was hardy and fast. I fancied myself good with the snowshoes but he had a quick step that kept me laboring to keep abreast of him. We topped a rise and there in the moonlight saw a strange sight.
‘A creature bent low over the carcass of a deer. The blood from its belly spilled out from the cavity and looked like black tar on the moonlit snow. The wendigo had made a kill. It must have heard or scented us for it quickly rose from its bloody feast and turned our way, sniffing the air.
‘How to describe that creature? It was much taller than a human or even a bear. A wild black or brown hair covered its body and it had antlers on its head though the body looked more like a bruin’s shaggy shape. But its hands were human and when its strange gaze fell upon us, there was something in the eye—deranged, frantic, not sane—yet undeniably with some kind of intelligence or awareness of its own existence.
‘The teeth were fearsome. Shining bright in the moonlight despite the dripping blood, they seemed too numerous somehow to fir within the gaping jaws and I shuddered without knowing why.
‘For a moment everything stayed frozen: me, Ihiipii, the wendigo, the dead deer. The wind rose again as if in warning, howling around our ears. I could never imagine a stranger sight, almost everything black and white and blue in the moonlight, still but fierce and horrific.
‘Then Ihiipii drew an arrow and in one fluid motion let it fly toward that creature. It hit its mark high in the shoulder and the wendigo let our a scream that must have terrified every creature within a mile or more. I found myself immobile. Ihiipii however had already pulled a second arrow from his quiver and sent it forth to join its mate. It struck the creature in the chest, not yet the heart but nearer.
‘At this the creature howled again, a sound like no other I hope to ever hear. It grabbed the second arrow and pulled it out and then it began to run toward us, bounding through the deep snow. It moved with unexpected speed. Ihiipii grabbed my hand and dragged me into flight. My mind could hardly process the reality of the moment, but my feet quickly caught the rhythm I needed and we tore along the snow banks with haste…’