Snow Cat

Posted: August 28, 2013 by writingsprint in Science fiction
Tags: , , , ,

snow cat

“Snowden” by Brenoch Adams at DeviantArt

“Damn it.” Snowden’s words came out in a white puff through the holes in his mask. He stopped. Snowden stabbed his walking stick into a snow drift. His snow leopard, Dmitri, looked up at him as he stopped moving forward. Dmitri’s yellow eyes demanded an answer. Snowden leaned forward. With his free hand, he grabbed his backpack and heaved. It settled higher up on his back. Snowden wanted to keep it there. The diamonds had to keep still. If they were damaged, they were worthless to him.

Now he couldn’t see. Staying still let enough of his body heat into his goggles to fog them over. Snowden hated to do it, but he lifted the goggles up and wiped them quickly. The wind blew snow into his face. He blinked hard, blinded, and hunched over to put them back on. For a few seconds his eyes felt frozen. It was dangerous to take any of his gear off.

Dmitri growled and pawed at the ground. Could they move now? Dmitri wanted to eat. Twice they’d come across rabbits. Snowden had to let them go. Dmitri had looked at him as if to say, if you weren’t my master, I would eat you instead. Theirs was a taut relationship. They had to keep moving, to make it to the next shelter by nightfall. They had jerky and other awful rations waiting for them there.

“All right, cat. Let’s move.”

The snow was a little over a foot deep here, some of it packed harder than others. Dmitri knew where to go instinctively. His paws touched down delicately and went no more than half an inch into the white. Snowden poked ahead with his walking stick, and followed Dmitri. The cat looked back at him disdainfully. Snowden and the Dmitri both knew he slowed them down. They also both knew he would feel better after Snowden lit them a fire.

Snowden spotted his favorite outcropping: the one that looked like the Wicked Witch of the West’s green nose. Snow piled at the back, keeping the rock bare. He could always see it. Shelter was only two miles away, after the twenty they’d walked.

Dmitri stopped suddenly. He growled. His hackles went up. Snowden slipped a gun out of his belt. “That’s why you’re here, cat,” he said. Snowden clicked the safeties off. He turned on the electrical heating line that left it able to work at this temperature. Most guns would have been worth nothing but a club.

Snowden watched Dmitri’s nose twitch. Dmitri’s eyes flicked left, right, trying to find the source of the scent. The cat crept forward. Dmitri tested the shifting wind to tell him more. Snowden looked for signs that the cat wouldn’t know to look for. Footprints. Snow gear. Reflections off sniper scopes.

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