You’ve never seen a storm swell so quickly. Not a sign of cloud plumed in the sky when you began upward into the rocks and trees, but within minutes.. your visibility drops to nothing. The shaded glimpse of rock and dead grass underpaw, an outcropping ahead. The snow is thick, and sharp, and the wind bites at your pelt.
After ten seconds, the wind has begun to coat you in a layer of harsh, heavy flakes.
It’s as though every snowflake that lands and sticks to your fur is a pair of EYES. You feel them boring in from all directions and no direction at once. It makes the shivering cold even colder.
After thirty seconds the shadows start moving.
They circle you, keeping to the high rocks and behind the tree trunks, all of which have become nothing but vague, blurred shapes to you from beyond the blowing snow. It looks like a cat, or a number of them. But maybe you simply can’t keep up with how fast it moves, how well it works in the cold and snow and ice.
After one hundred and twenty seconds, the ice is locking your muscles, making you sluggish.
You shiver and shudder, and it feels easier to lie down and sleep than it does to keep going, or to turn around. So much work.. so much effort.
“Don’t climb the mountain!” they told you.
You didn’t listen. You wish you had.