The moss was wet and red, and at her innocent age, she imagined it to be the blood of an injured wolf. It was in small patches not much larger than her twelve year old hand, and was of a different hue, so as to stand out from the rest of the mossy green tundra.

Hi-Lake
by Sirius Tyde

The moss was wet and red, and at her innocent age, she imagined it to be the blood of an injured wolf. It was in small patches not much larger than her twelve year old hand, and was of a different hue, so as to stand out from the rest of the mossy green tundra. She placed her hand on it, imagining she was an Indian tracker. It was moist and warm, and she thought, just a bit sticky. It led her off in a determined direction, a definitive trail, with its dark red pattern, and she followed it enthusiastically to adventure. She had only recently discovered Tchaikovsky's "Peter and the Wolf" and with fantasy and symphony her guardian's, she sallied forth to find and deliver cannus lupus.

The mountain hills were rolling and gentle, and easy hiking at this altitude, with dense alder thickets and loose scree of shale and rock, further down at the lower levels. Far and away below the tree line, coursed the boiling river with its slick, gray waters of glacier silt, streaked with thin, dark lines of sediment and perhaps gold, its patterns shaped by swirling currents and boulders. She hadn't any chirping bird, represented by Tchaikovsky's flute, with which to serve her warning of danger, but she felt secure with the .22 rifle her uncle had lent her for this daring safari. She had promised her aunt that she would return to the lodge before sunset.

She was off to hunt for the wolf. She just knew in her heart that if she didn't rid the country side of this villainous animal, that she would rue the day. She had her departed father's honor to uphold, and regardless of her inexperience, she had books and stories of hero's to guide her actions. All the world was depending on her for its security and freedom.

Following the crimson path to the crest of the hill, she got down low to the ground, and with almost a crawl, she inched her way to the top and carefully, quietly, raised her head to observe the gentle valley spreading out below. It was late in the afternoon, and the sun cast short, sharp shadows on the mounds of taiga and scattered, moss covered rocks. A ptarmigan spooked, and with a flutter of wings, two birds took to the air in a low, darting pattern, skiiming a couple of feet above the tundra. They flew a small distance and than settled under the stubby branches of a gnarled willow bush, the female remaining alert while the male began eating seeds, secure in the knowledge of his mates vigil. The mighty huntress, the girl scanned the vista for other signs of life, but all was still.