14 February, 2017 by katelaity
‘I had always prided myself on moving quickly with my snow shoes. That night I found a speed I have never replicated. Yet it was not enough. When I threw a look over my shoulder I was terrified to find the wendigo closing the gap between us. How could it move so fast? It bounded through the snow on four feet, though it had stood upright by the carnage of the deer.
‘I put my head down and tried not to think of the terror behind me. Ihiipii moved swiftly ahead of me, fear lending new speed to his feet as well. I rather wished that his arrows had done more damage to the creature. His look of disbelief had mirrored my own. Was the creature’s hide so very tough that strong arrows could not pierce it?
‘Little did I know that I would find out for myself!
‘When the snug little home at last loomed ahead, I could hear the wendigo’s steps behind my own. The rushing sound it made as it bounded through the snow. The thought of those many glistening teeth lent a last bit of haste to my tired feet but it was not enough.
‘With a howl the beast lunged upon me. I know I made a most undignified yelp when it happened. The surprise and alarm were nothing to the fear of the moment. Make no mistake: I have hunt fearsome creatures in wild lands. There is the healthy fear of a fierceness that is part of our animal selves.
‘The fear the wendigo induces is something more, something…uncanny.
‘As I did not fancy becoming a meal for the horrid thing, I fought against its grasp. The most important thing for me at once was to turn around to prevent the creature from fastening those jaws upon me. I had seen those sharp fangs. I knew what a wound they would make in me and I would bleed out upon the snow like that deer had.
‘I struggled around to confront the wendigo and found myself in sight of a true monster. With only my bare hands I grabbed one of its arms and tightened the other around its neck. I could not calm it by choking its air—the neck was too vast for that. I felt rather as Beowulf might have done, suddenly face to face with a legendary horror.
‘Up close the wendigo offered only a nightmare. The awful terror of its fangs was eclipsed only by the foul stench of its breath. The shaggy fur at least gave my hand some purchase upon its powerful limbs but I struggled to keep it from overcoming me completely. I could only hold the one arm after all, so the other clawed at me, tearing through my clothing. All too soon, I knew, it would claw through my skin just as easily.
‘But the teeth were worse. They snapped at me, wishing to sink into my flesh and make a meal of me. Grendel could not have been more fearsome. And like that creature the eyes glowed red. I thought of Beowulf’s infernal enemy and wondered what demon had conjured my foe. I noted before some intelligence lurking in those eyes, but deranged by some bloodlust it was more devilish by far.
‘I wondered how long my strength would hold out. Its reserves were well taxed, but there is nothing like staring death in the jowls to make you persevere just a little longer. My arms shook with the effort and the jaws snapped ever closer to my face. I feared my fate was sealed.
‘Then a loud cry let me know I was no longer alone. Ihiipii had fetched the whole family and they set up on the creature with arrows and axes. With a snarl it let me go to whirl about, feinting in each direction by turns, not knowing which way to attack. The weapons took their toll.
‘The snow was black with blood when at last it staggered and fell. Covered in its gore, I struggled to my feet to stand over the terrible thing and watch it draw its last breath. But when it did we discovered an even greater mystery…’