It was just another cold day in the frozen land. But my instincts were signalling that it was not a day to travel. The weather seemed gloomy and perilous. Though I was warm in my hirsute, yet I wanted to sit by some fire. It was better to nestle in under a mound of snow and safeguard my balminess. To walk miles on such a day did not seem fascinating at all. Seemed foolish in fact! But something quelled my intuition and drove me to walk along this human- a man with queer actions. I felt a bout of nebulous disquiet which probed me to walk along the heels of this well-covered man- so many thick and dark casings sheathed his legs, hands and ears- his entire body. What was he doing outside? Why does not he stay at where his folks do and cuddle next to a fire? Instead he is trotting around, behaving patiently yet strangely and spitting in the air. I didn’t know exactly what he was up to but one thing was for sure- he would make fire soon. Humans do that so easily. But even with that calibre, it was not a day to travel for him or me. Still, driven by the vague apprehension and expecting to sit by fire, I followed this man.
He seemed outlandish to me initially. And also a voyage for he was walking steadily and continuously! He was chewing brown thing but the cold seemed to stiffen his mouth too. I saw he was trying in vain to spit the juice out but it froze around his chin instead. It looked like a weird beard on his face. My own muzzle, jowl and eyelashes were dusted in white powder of snow. It was sprinkled all over my fur. Same with the man! His face, especially the
moustache and beard- were sifted with fine snow. Our breaths looked like subtle crystals. It was cold and I wanted fire. Why was not he making any fire yet? I could see he was cold, rubbing his numb cheeks and nose with his hands. But he seemed in a hurry to walk only. We were walking along the snow covered, forlorn paths along a frozen brook. I could not pick up the sign or very strong a scent of any other human in the extent. Probably, no one had been there for a long time. While the journey seemed blue to me, I had accepted that I had to walk along this strange man. It has been more than two hours. Why did not he make fire but kept rubbing his cheeks and nose.
After walking for a few miles more, the man finally took a halt. He uncovered his hands to take out something to eat from under his furry coat. But soon, he froze. For several next minutes, I saw him striking his own hands heavily on his chest, stamping his feet and jumping very strangely. Once he seemed to be fine, to my great delight- he built fire. It was very comforting to both of us. I did saw he was eating something. I too felt hungry but the fire was enough to charm me at that moment. I wanted to keep myself very close to it but stayed at a distance. I loved my furry coat and never want to get it charred. The heat had revived me but still I wanted to sleep for a moment. It was a long walk. But as the man was done with eating and warming up, he stood up again. He filled the smoke in something and dressed up to move again. I really was not in the mood to proceed; it was already miles of walking in the cold. But soon I realized I had to follow my initial calling and follow the man. He was both a way to fire as well as an answer to my apprehension. Sometimes, we have no choice.
We were back on endless walking again. What a man! I still did not know what he was up to. He was concentrating on the frozen path; I could see his focus. Meanwhile he kept on munching the thing and futilely spitting. He popped up a fresh thing to chew after every
few miles. His brown, crystal beard was growing. He removed the beard at times but the chewing kept giving a new beard again. Several times, he noticed the path in a way I could not comprehend. He would walk on the creaky path and suddenly run away from it in fear and choose another path very carefully. I could only hear some cracking when I saw the man run away from the frozen creek. It was evident that he was trying to avoid falling in the water under breakable ice. His feat to recognise the danger and run away happened several times. But something that annoyed me was he tried to make me walk on the frozen floor first. I knew it was dangerous, so refused. But this man was shoving me. As I ran along to cross, the ice broke. I saved myself but this man got wet. I saw his legs freeze in no time. The anger and discomfort was apparent on his numb face. But still, he was not howling. Now, I was sure that fire was soon to be made again.
This time it was not as easy to make fire as I had expected this weird yet smart man. He seemed in pain, frozen and stiffened. He could barely move. I was sure that he would start to gain the body heat by his strange stamping and threshing again. But he was really cold and petrified. After collecting the leaves and twigs, with great effort he again lit the flame. It was feeble initially. So, he kept adding the twigs to it. Soon, the fire was flaring. It was really warm again. I wanted to cuddle up in my own coat and stay motionless for some time. The man frozen with cold and wet feet was struggling so hard to open and take out his wet covering; those were frozen hard. He tried earnestly to do it but his fingers seemed not to move well. He drew the knife to cut it open. But then something really unfortunate happened. Unfortunate for both of us! A thud of snow from the tree blotted out the fire! It seemed one of the worst things that happened. More than me, the man who created it with so much toil seemed aghast. But soon, I saw him back with patience. He got up and started to strive to build the fire again. I could see he was colder than before with his hands and feet severely numbed and still. I was warm in my fur and watched him struggle to make the fire. He moved with great discomfort to collect the twigs and light those. But he was numb.
After minutes of futile struggling, he was back to thumping his hands on his chest and legs to gain heat. He tried his best to beat the body parts but the heat seemed far away. His frozen legs simply refused to move. He was pulling the coverings on his hand with his teeth and trying to light the fire. I didn’t know why but he lit up some fire once with a small stick clenched between his teeth. The smoke choked him and the burning thing fell down. Again he did it with so many sticks and built a good amount of fire. It seemed to me as is his hands were burning; I would never hold closely such fire in my paws. For once this herculean effort seemed to work and light up the twigs but they were too scattered to build a fire together. He kept ruthlessly trying to move and light a flame, looking at me time to time. I didn’t know again what he was up to but I definitely did not expect something good. He may be smart or could build a fire but I didn’t feel attached to him like I have been to my master. I followed him for a mysterious anxiety in me and in greed of fire.
After a while, I noticed a very strange behaviour. He was looking at me with a strange emotion. Calling me out in really a mysterious tone which I could not connect to his persona! I was really frightened as I didn’t know what he was up to there. I moved away. He tried to come crawling towards me. I moved further is suspicion. What was he aiming at! After a few minutes, I saw him pulling out his furry and heavy sheaths and stand up with great struggle. His behaviour was getting normal, like how he did in the beginning of our journey. I walked towards it. To my great surprise, he attempted to jump at me and clutched me in his frozen arms. He has fallen on the frozen floor with me encircled in his arms. Was he trying to kill me? His hands were only holding me, not hurting. Yet, I barked in suspicion. He was only holding me; maybe he wanted to seek my body heat. But why such a queer way to do so! His behaviour had petrified me beyond words. As his clutch got loose, I ran away. From a distance I was sniffing and staring at this utterly weird man. He was back to thumping and beating his hands and body like he did several times before. He was holding his own body, curled and fluttering to gain heat. From a distance, I beheld his struggle for several minutes.
After a while his brawl with himself seemed to be ceased. He was lost in thoughts, some very deep thoughts. How could I ever know what this man was up to in such a moment of fight for life! Gradually, I saw his panicking face and body slip into a trance of patience and peace. He seemed to have slept finally. I sat curled in my coat and waited for this man to get up and light the fire again. The day was nearing its end. After a long time, when he did not get up, I felt strange again. A man who only wanted to walk and walk over has slept for so long. That did not quite made sense to me. I strolled towards him with caution and observed him. I whined a little to catch his attention; I flattened my ear to get a response from him. When no feedback was given, I moved close toward him and sniffed. Taken aback, I leaped away from him. He was dead. The cold had taken him. And it was sure that he won’t make fire for the night. So, I moved on. The sky was jewelled with stars; I had to get to fire. The trail to camp was not strange to me. So, I resumed my journey to the place where I could seek other fire-providers and food-providers.