Senior 3rd Prize Winning Story
“Running With The Wind” by Kochurova Olga, Volkovskaya Secondary School, Russia, is the Third Prize winning story in the senior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2019.
Running With The Wind
A giant fireball slowly hid behind the treetops of firs, spruces, and pines, but it was peering through the tree trunks for a long time, like playing hide-and-seek with taiga inhabitants, who would like to enjoy the last golden streaks of the sun going beyond the horizon. Impatient hunters were in a harry to catch wildfowl or a rodent before winter sky would get too dark and the animals would be hidden in their holes, running from the frost.
From a tiny cleft in a very small rock hiding among firs’ and pines’ tree trunks a silhouette has appeared that somehow resembles a big cat, which jumped right this second and landed in the roots of a nearby tree slightly breaking an ice crust. It stepped gently with grace and caution on the same crust sparkling sometimes at twilight.
It was a lynx. She felt like a landlady of the forest. It seemed, that she knew here every tree, every bush and blade of grass, well hidden under the snow. A cold air pinched the nose. It seemed, that the wind, arriving with the nearby fields, blew the dense lynx’s hair and stabbed the heart. The landlady of a taiga knew this wind long time ago since she has been a helpless kitten waiting for a mother from hunting, out of a sense of hunger, she came out of the hole in the roots of a big tree. At that time her child's hair wasn’t ready to meet the severe wind of taiga. A little lynx was so excited by the view of a frosty spring and was too scared, she didn’t even notice her mother. Then mother-lynx leaned over to whisper to a tiny lynx, “Watch and listen, daughter, it is one of the brothers-winds. The first of them helps us to survive, to hunt and to pursue our destiny; the second one is always trying to stop our successful hunt and frost my silly little lynxes. You know, honey, my parents told me that this strong wind hates hunters and it hides food from ones, but both of them are suffering. Take care of yourself, my little lynx”.
One month ago after this conversation mother-lynx took her children hunting. And that's when she gave her children a key to surviving – an autonomy, which helps everyone in their life.
“Children”, said mother-lynx, “do not think, that you will become autonomous too fast. In the wild forest world, which punishes hunters and trophies for any mistakes, it is difficult for inexperienced and weak creatures to survive. Remember, children, never give up!”
But what to do if the decision doesn’t belong to you? If fate decided for you. What then?
What if it was decided by the wind spreading the hot flames of wildfire swallowing every pine, every bush and blade of grass, and this wildfire made you run away as fast as you can?
“Run!”, a young wild lynx whispered.
“Run!”, the stars whispered.
Lynx was running, stuttering, falling and rising again, until she got alone, surrounded by the endless rows of conifers, whose crowns scaring and fascinating cats with tufts on the tips of their triangle ears were going high in the sky. She missed her forest, her family and a cozy hole in the roots of a big tree. Lynx was crying and her tears were falling to the ground covered well by the pine needles, turning into beautiful small amber rocks*. A young lynx spent so two days. On the third night, the stars went down to a crying lynx to give her warm and light.
“Be brave, run with the Wind!”, the stars whispered.
“Stay strong, run with the Wind!”, the flowers and herbs whispered.
“Be strong, run with the Wind!”, pines whispered.
“Run with me!», the Wind sang, playing with her soft hair and tufts on her ears. The Wind asked to follow him, and lynx did so. She felt freedom in her paws. She felt the softness of the wind and new strength given by her ancestors, turned into stars and observing her life from the sky.
Lynx was overcoming her path step by step, creek by creek, remembering every rock, every pine and spruce. Already then the lynx was becoming landlady of her forest. But when the last step remained and it was necessary to choose the right way – through the forest or through mountainous terrain – the Wind left her, whispering, “Watch, listen and think”. Lynx was confused and wanted to stop looking for her family, when suddenly she smelled knew, warm and familiar smell and she rushed through mountainous terrain. But it turned out that her family wasn’t there. There was just a smell, carried by the Wind. It was absolutely fresh. As the lynx knew, that hunting can be possible only from the downwind, that gave to lynx a possibility to find the right track. She had run by the smell as fast as she could, while she found a hole where she was born and grew up. Yes, that is her home! That is her mother-lynx!
But… will she know her daughter?
Lynx ran with renewed vigour, jumped onto the rock very close to a big tree and a felt by her hair the Wind and stars singing her name. “Running With The Wind came back home!”, they were singing.
* some people believed, that beautiful small amber rocks are left by the lynxes.