A bobcat freezes at the edge of a clearing, its head cocked, its yellow eyes drawn by sunlight glinting on a gold ring encircling a finger. A breeze carrying the smells of meltwater trickling in the creek bed and sap working its way up the birch trees ruffles the tufts of black hair on the tips of the cat’s ears.
Two fingers, gray and ice-bound, jut from the slowly melting snowbank at the base of a black spruce. The rest of the body, curled and frozen, has no scent. It is not yet warm enough for decomposition to begin recycling the collection of fat, protein, and bone that was once Dylan.
Before winter’s first true storm forced them back, three of the local people and a southerner had searched for Dylan, their dim headlights flaring in the darkness, their voices small in the Arctic silence, the warm, moist air from their lungs pluming in front of them as they walked through falling snow.
Dylan, at that point, was cold and still but not yet frozen.
Having discovered one of Jesse’s exes wasn’t quite so ex, Dylan stormed out of camp into the vast darkness. Jesse wanted to start the search immediately. The locals demurred.
Let her go, they said. She’ll cool off quick.
Prompted by Taylor Levesque (bobcat, ring, northern Canada)
Leave me a prompt (a living thing, an inanimate object, and a location) and I will write a story and tag you when it’s published.