Layers

I pull the curtains back only to have the bright sun assault my eyes. It's the same picture to me, day after day. The shining deadly sun attacking everything it can see. The never ending swirling snow, he inhuman conditions we live in. I think it's Tuesday, but I could be wrong, I stopped counting the days a long time ago. That along with many other things, adds up and becomes the lost hope of my tribe.

"Satchiko!" a voice called out, banging on the door. "Please come outside and tend to the puppies"

"Yes brother" I reply grumbling. I then begin to don many layers of clothing. First went on my leggings, then my outer pants. I picked out a long-sleeved black shirt and pulled on a dress afterwards. I started braiding my flaming red hair into pig tails and pulled on a hat. When I left my room and walked towards the front door, I laced up my boots, shoved on gloves, then slowly pulled open the front door. It was like stepping into an alternate universe.

I walked into our outdoor tunnels, they were built before my generation. They look like clear plastic tunnels, with a bit of a square shape to them, but there doesn't really look like they're something special about them. The harsh weather conditions in the "unknown" beat down on them ruthlessly. There's already a few rips in them that we've had to repair. My people make the best use of the tunnels that we can, because we simply don't know how much longer we can have this luxury.

I hear a wolf's howl filled with a sorrowful sound, it almost sounded yearning for something lost. I break out into a dead run as I call out "I'm coming Lara!". When I arrived at the den, I was immediately tackled down b a white wolf pup. "Lara.." I half giggled half growled. "You made me run here for no reason you silly dog" I started to untangle the mats in her fur while she sat there looking as undignified at possible at being called a "dog". "Lakara" I gently scold her using her full name. Oh boy, she knew she'd done something wrong now. She whimpered and rested her head in my lap while licking my hand, trying to look as cute as possible.

"It's not my fault my fur is so tangled! Sumi was the one who was making it messy!" she whined while referring to her brother. "Satchiko you believe me don't you?" Lara wagged her tail. I just sat there gaping at her not sure what to do.

"Did you just talk to me?" I asked stuttering

Lara sat there looking slightly guilty "Whoops, that was supposed to be a surprise for our celebration tonight"

"Celebration?" I asked "What celebration?"

Lara looked mortified as a wolf can get and mumbled "I just can't keep secrets can I?" She turned and ran out into the snow, and I couldn't follow her. I'm no wolf, and I wouldn't be able to survive in those conditions. I finished looking after the rest of the wolves in the den, then went back through the tunnels connected to the cave and jogged home. As soon as I got to my bed I fell into a deep sleep. Several hours later I was rudely shaken awake by Kanta, my brother.

"Sis get up, are you okay?" he asked me

"Lara...." I mumbled still half asleep

"What does Lara have to do with any of this?" Kanta continued to prod at me

"Lara, she talked to me in the dens today" I groaned and fell back asleep. Kanta put his hand on my forehead and quickly jerked it back.

"She's burning up, I'd better go get Lady Katsuya" he thought to himself as he went to go find the tribe's healer. He trotted out the door, down the tunnels in search of the healer. He saw her figure from the distance and ran up to her, panting, trying to regain his breath.

"Lady! My Lady! Satchiko is running a very high fever and she needs medicine" Kanta leaned over and gasped for breath. Lady Katsuya picked up her basket of herbs she always took with her and looked Kanta dead in the eye and in a serious tone she said "Take me to Satchiko at once" Her long skirts elegantly swirled around her as she took off after the worried boy.

Lady Katsuya was an exceptional woman, she was not only the healer of the tribe, she had something like a magical sense. When there were disturbances she could "feel" them. In accordance with her feelings, something terribly wrong happened in the wolf dens. Everyone knew Satchiko was mostly in charge of the dens so Lady Katsuya figured that whatever happened in the dens, was linked to her current illness.

Once they arrived at the house, Kanta took the healer to his sister's bedroom. "Kanta, please step outside of the room" Lady Katsuya gently ordered

"But my Lady! I wish to stay and see if my little Satchiko will be alright" he whined

"I need space to work" the healer said plainly. Kanta grumbled as he exited the door and closed it carefully behind him.

Lady Katsuya proceeded to grind herbs together in a little stone carved bowl, and placed several candles around the room and lit them. She placed the herbs she'd mixed into a fine paste on Satchiko's forehead and then sat down on the floor indian style. The healer searched for the main source of her power and begun to tap into it and call it to her will. She started chanting in the forgotten language and a bright blue light enveloped Satchiko's body. The being in the light started to levitate off of the bed and hover as the light around her turned blood red. The light then turned blindingly white and it lowered back into the bed. Lady Katsuya then got up and wiped the herbs off of her forehead, and underneath was a bright white wolf paw mark.

"Just as I thought" Lady Katsuya mumbled to herself