Memories in Snow
The icy cold winds brushed up against Satcha with their full fury, imbedding their chill into her very bones as she fought against them up the slick frozen peaks of Terror Mountain. The Kyrii pushed on unrelentingly, never wavering, her pink fur hardly even peeking out of the thick orange parka she had pulled about her head and body.
As she steadily climbed, snow began to drift down in a flurry, blocking her vision and hindering her already sluggish pace. She never even thought about turning back, though; she decided the moment she set out that she’d reach her final destination no matter what the cost. There was more than just her own pride riding on her success.
The large pack she had strapped on her back shifted uncomfortably, and she winced in misery as the straps grated against her shoulders. The sizable load inside that had seemed all-important when she departed was losing its significance with every step. She knew she couldn’t drop it, though. Leaving that pack behind would make her whole journey pointless; if she didn’t have it at the end, her efforts would have been all for naught.
Satcha toiled on, time blurring together into an eternity of frost and wind as she pushed herself forward without respite. The Kyrii felt like she was going to collapse in the snow if she didn’t find her goal soon; not only would her mission be a failure if that happened, but she would run the risk of losing her very life.
Then she saw it.
A tiny light flickered through the ever thickening snowfall; the Kyrii felt a surge of hope and energy fill her as she honed in on that tiny flittering glow like a beacon. Her booted paws pressed deep into fresh white snow at her feet as she pushed towards it, her jaw clenched in determination and her muscles tensed with effort, the pack on her back pulling at her with every stride.
The light rapidly began to take on shape; through her frozen lashes, Satcha could make out a dumpy little wood cabin. The glow was coming through a crooked window that was built into the side of the small hut; the sight of it warmed the Kyrii with hope as she trudged on.
Finally she reached the door, ache and exhaustion gnawing at her bones as she leaned in on the wooden doorframe and took a deep breath. Icy cold air pierced her lungs, but she hardly noticed. She wasn’t sure if this was the place she was looking for, but she sure hoped it was. If it wasn’t, though, she figured she could always beg respite for the night from the cabin's occupant.
Firmly she lifted up her paw and pounded on the door, gasping as her exhausted muscles tightened in protest. There was no answer for a moment and then a shifting sound as someone very large stood up to open the door.
Noisily the door creaked open on its seldom used hinges, but Satcha was far too busy staring at the inhabitant to notice the wailing sound the creaky hinges made. She stood frozen for a moment in complete silence and then relief flooded her body as she collapsed to her knees; her vision darkening around the edges. She had made it, she had found him, and she was too tired to utter a single word.
Warmth finally woke her, a small cry emanating from her parted lips as the aches and pains from her journey up the mountain hit her full force. Satcha tried to move and then realized that a pile of overstuffed blankets held her down as she lay prostrate on a squishy and equally overstuffed mattress.
“Khral?” she croaked out uncertainly. “Khral, I know you’re there. I saw you at the door.”
She heard a soft grunt over the crackling of the fireplace and the whistling of the wind outside.
“Khral, we’ve all been so worried about you!” Satcha started struggling out of the comforter that was wrapped around her, moaning as her overused muscles were once again forced to move.
“Satcha, please... rest, rest... don’t bother talking to a thing like me...”
The Kyrii kept struggling to free herself of the blankets, paying no heed to Khral’s request. “Oh, don’t be ridiculous, Khral! I walked all the way here to talk to... ahhh!” With a loud thud, Satcha rolled out of the bed and hit the floor.
“Satcha! Satcha, are you alright?”
When her vision finally swam back into focus, she could see Khral bending over her, a look of abject concern spreading across his features. The mutant Mynci looked just like she remembered him; the same deadly strength shimmered under the surface of a creature that would rather hurt himself than anyone else. The same gentle expression peered out behind cold gleaming eyes. He was a total enigma to her, a collection of opposites composed into one being; and it made her care about him all the more.
“Khral... I’m okay, really... just help me up, please?”
With care, the Mynci grabbed one of her delicate pink paws in his own hulking ones and helped her to her feet. “Why did you have to come?” he asked, his deep voice cracking in despair. “I came here so nobody would bother to come.”
“Well, then you’ve underestimated how much everyone misses you,” Satcha said gently, a soft smile spreading across her face. “Khral, please... everyone wants you back. Won’t you come home?”
The Mynci winced guiltily as he looked at the smile on Satcha’s face. “If you knew why I left, you wouldn’t want me back,” he said, his voice no more than a mere whisper.
“Khral, I know you... sometimes I think I know you better than you know yourself. I know that there’s nothing you’d do that would make me hate you or want you gone.”
He frowned, his jaw jutting forward ferociously. “It was my fault!” he blurted out. “I was the reason Kiana broke her arm! I hurt your daughter! I hurt her and now there’s no way I could come back.”
He buried his head guiltily in his hands, body shaking with dread as he waited for Satcha to cast him aside as she learned the horrible truth. He could hear her sobbing now, he thought; sobbing at his betrayal... and then he froze as he realized she wasn’t crying... but softly laughing.
“Khral... Kiana doesn’t blame you and neither do I. The silly girl just climbed too far up in a tree and toppled down; just because you didn’t catch her doesn’t mean you hurt her.”
He looked over at Satcha; his expression one of disbelief. “I did hurt her; I told her to climb up there in the first place... and... and I wasn’t there to catch her when she fell!”
“Kiana told me everything and she’s fine. You took her out to play when I asked you and she was hurt... nobody hates you and things happen. That’s just the way the world works, Khral,” she said gently. “Bring me my pack, would you?”
The Mynci nodded and awkwardly shuffled to the corner of his cabin and retrieved her pack. Carefully he returned and handed it to her with curiosity shimmering in his eyes. “What’s in there?”
“You’ll see.” Satcha laughed and carefully unlatched the straps and reached into the bag.
At first the only things she pulled out were camping supplies, but then things no pet would ever need on a journey through Terror Mountain began to appear. The first thing she removed made Khral gasp in astonishment; it was a delicate looking Taelia Doll whose head bobbled back and forth when Satcha pulled it out and set it upon the floor.
“T-that’s Kiana’s!” he exclaimed in surprise.
Satcha nodded but said nothing as she gently held up the second item she’d removed from the pack. This time it was an item that belonged to the Kyrii; a glittering snowflake pendant that shimmered softly in the firelight. Again the Satcha laid it upon the floor and went to retrieve the next item.
The third thing she removed was a colored bouncy ball and the sight of it made tears well up in the Mynci’s eyes. “Satcha, stop it... please.”
“Then tell me something, Khral... where did all of these things come from?” she asked him.
“Me...” he trailed off; his voice cracking as it did. “I gave you all those things...”
“Everything we ever truly treasured you did,” she said softly to him. “Everything, Khral... and let me tell you something... the only reason any of it is precious to us is because it came from the generous caring friend who was wonderful enough to be in so much of our lives.” Tears dripped down the Kyrii’s cheeks and wove their way into her fur. “Please come back. Please come home.”
“Stop, Satcha... please just stop...” he moaned. “What if I hurt her again?”
“You already have,” she said as she placed a paw on his muscular forearm. “Khral, when you left, you broke my daughter’s heart. Now come back and make it right... that’s the thing that takes true courage.”
For a moment all the Mynci could so was weep as he thought of Kiana, who was normally a happy carefree little rainbow Usul, sitting alone with a broken heart and watery eyes. “She hates me.”
“She wants you back... that’s all she’s ever wanted,” Satcha said solemnly. “You gave us so many things but I don’t think you ever realized that you were what we always treasured the most.”
There was a deafening silence as the mutant Mynci stared at the floor, his eyes tracing the grain of the wooden slats as he thought. “Okay... okay I’ll go, Satch—”
Before he could even finish a flurry of pink fur collided with him as the Kyrii wrapped her delicate arms around his neck and cried. “Oh, Khral! Thank you! Thank you!”
“We can leave in the morning,” he said as he scooped her up in his arms and then set her down onto the bed again, cocooning her inside the comforter she had earlier escaped from. “Get some rest first.”
“Okay, Khral... okay... I’ll sleep now that I know you’re coming home.” With an exhausted and appreciative look, the Kyrii snuggled deeper into the covers and drifted off to sleep.
Khral looked at her for a moment and shook his head in disbelief. Satcha had always amazed him, but he had never thought she would have gone to such lengths to find him. Carefully he picked up the three things she had pulled out of her pack to show him and began to place them inside again. What he saw when he opened her bag took his breath away.
Inside was a plethora of different items; from colored candy wrappers to toys to jewelry. It seemed that most everything the Mynci had ever given Satcha and Kiana sat there; and it was then he suddenly realized the full power and desperation of the words the Kyrii had uttered to him earlier.
“Oh Satcha,” he whispered as he gazed at her sleeping form. “Thank you... thank you for bringing me all these memories and taking me back from the ever falling snow.”