The snow fell gently on our heads. I could feel it slowly melt through my beanie into my hair, chilling me to the bone. My brother was trying to make a fire. It was painful to watch. He was just poking a big stick with a little stick. The result? A sound that that was causing me to twitch like psychopath after too much coffee. Ah, coffee...I missed the stuff. Honestly I would gladly twitch like a psychopath if I had a pot of coffee in my stomach.
"I swear I saw this work in a movie once." My brother assured me. "He did this for half second then boom...bonfire."
Hollywood has a thing with fire, my brother didn't seem to understand that. Unfortunately, we both suffered because I didn't know much about it either. Personally, I wished I brought survival equipment, but if the plane was going to crash with some forewarning I would have run around the inside looking for a box of matches. Although, now I think of it, they didn't really allow matches on the plane, something about previous experiences that I can't recall.
"Yeah, I know what you mean." I replied. "I saw this one film when this one guy killed his brother in the snow."
"I guess we shouldn't believe what we see on TV," he said cautiously.
"You know I don't think that will do anything, is that really the technique? Poking a stick with another stick?"
"That's what I saw on TV, man..."
"Yeah, but don't you rub them together, it creates friction and..."
"Dude, give me a break. I saw it and it worked. Now let me do my thing."
"I think we shouldn't make the fire in the open as well. I mean there's wind..."
"Wind is good. You know when you see the survivalists blow on the fire and it suddenly grows?"
"Well, more wind, bigger fire. It is so simple, it is practically basic mathematics. Small wind, small fire, big wind, big fire."
I thought on it a little longer. As mad as it sounded at first, I began to think about from his perspective. In every movie and show I saw the same thing. There was always somebody blowing on the twigs to improve the fire and what is more is I saw it happen at camp as well. It made sense. I kept quiet and waited. The thunk sound continued for another five minutes before I realized.
"Wait...then why does a candle go out when you blow it?" I asked.
My brother fell silent. It was a thought that sparked in my mind, when I wish it had sparked in the pile of logs.
Before an argument of epic proportions ensued, we heard a low growl. At first my brother didn't notice and he just insulted my mother. Then a chorus of growls got his attention before I could remind him we had the same mother. We turned to face the source and we didn't like what we saw. At first we couldn't see anything but snow and trees. Eventually, we noticed shapes in the snow. They moved in sequence, approaching cautiously , but with maniacal intent.
It was a pack of wolves. Their fur whitened by the cold environment.
"Wild dogs." My brother whispered.
"Wolves." I corrected.
I wanted to kick him, but I felt if I made any sudden moves they would charge like a violent force and rip us apart. Instead we all stared at each other like some strange showdown. I wanted to count the wolves, but I gave up. More just appeared out of nowhere. It was like the snow gave birth to them with every second. It was an ugly birth, but luckily there wasn't any screaming. Still, these were unwanted children in our case.
"What do we do?" My brother whispered.
"I thought you were the survivalist?"
"I saw them on TV and I didn't watch all the episodes."
"Why not? Did they say anything about wolves?"
"No, just how to take care of bugs...you eat them."
"So do we eat the wolves?"
My brother looked at me and shrugged.
"I think so."
We looked back at the wolves. I suppose we could make a few meals out of them. If we could get the fire going they would be good meals too. The thought of food made both our stomachs growl. The growl was deeper and more fierce than the wolves. The wolves looked at each other cautiously. They began to walk backwards in silent retreat.
"Our food is getting away." I told my brother.
I don't know how it happened, maybe the wolves understood English in that moment, but with those words the wolves took off and we chased after them. We dodged past trees expertly and padded through the snow with ease. The wolves panicked and tripped. My brother dove at the first one and took it down.
I kept running after the rest to catch my own game. It was tough going at first, but the wolves eventually made enough mistakes that I caught up and tackled one to the ground. We tumbled for a few meters down a hill and then rolled to a stop. I felt several bumps, but I used the wolf as a furry shield and blocked all the worst of the damage.
I held the wolf down ready to deliver the fatal blow. It looked up at me in fear. Its eyes were wide and darting from side to side. I heard footsteps behind me.
"Hurry up, mine got away." My brother urged. "I'm starving."
I stood up, releasing the wolf. It quickly turned tail and ran away. When my brother asked why I let it go I bowed my head. I told him the truth. They were just like us. They didn't want to fight. They just wanted to eat. My brother fell silent and eventually nodded.
That's when the rest of the pack jumped us.
It was a short fight, but hey, we were hungry.
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