Deliver me to the warmth of a heart that does not beat for me. Cleanse me of this cold wind that tears through my fur and breaks down my flesh and bones until they are just ice.
I have traveled too many miles in this unforgiving blizzard and I've begun to crave any type of escape. I've been wet and cold, shivering and teeth-chattering, using these stray animals for momentary flashes of satisfaction and the hunger always remains. These meaningless exchanges between a wolf and its prey. But now these torches are candles and they do not burn as warm and I am forced to find new methods of survival.
So when I see a doe appear from the mouth of the forest, lowering its head to nibble at the green stems floating on top of the ocean of bright snow, I can not stop and think about the beauty held in this scene. My primal instincts kick in, my survival becomes first nature and I only study the doe to kill it.
I keep low to the ground hoping the fallen snow which covers my back can hide me so she will not see the dark fur underneath. I can not see any other animals around but I know they are out there; I know she is not the only doe grazing this baron field and maybe that is why I do not feel bad as I approach her. Creeping forward, my paws graze the surface of the velvety white snow before each step. Then, they carefully fall upon the snow with a soft crunch and for a moment it seems the doe has spotted me. What a terrible thing that would be; I am so hungry. Relief trickles down my spine when she turns her head back to the food in front of her and I know I'm safe for the moment.
I am close now. I can smell her snow dampened fur; I can hear her patient heart beating. My sharp teeth glisten. I can feel her warm blood flowing through her body and my mouth starts to salivate. She is so calm and I almost reconsider this attack but one must do cruel things in order to survive. That is a universal truth. And I am much happier on this side of the hunt.
But the doe is a magician and she pulls the wool from over my eyes. The mirrors are gone, the smoke clears, and I see that I was not the hunter- I was the hunted. She pulled me in like a siren- singing her beautiful song of fluttering ears, flickering soft eyes and twitching tails. The dots on her back come alive with laughter as she turns toward me. Her teeth become sharper than her eyes, ripping through my flesh like impossibly sharp razors. Every bite a reminder to never return to this forest.
But the doe does not kill me. That would be too compassionate. Instead, she leaves me alive and without any sign of an attack. No other animal will ever see what just happened and I do not plan on telling any of them.
Now, as I lay, panting in the snow, wishing it was stained red so the forest critters can pity me, I almost feel I have learned a lesson today. I almost do.
Then my head lazily falls to its side and catches the glimpse of a wide-eyed bunny gracefully hopping through the falling crystals.