Short Story 3rd place adults: “Young and Alone”

Karen Steinson’s story won third place in the Quesnel Short Story Writing Contest.

I wake up hungry. My hunger drives most of my activities. A born wanderer, I am as willing to go searching for a meal as my brother is wiling to stay close to the shelter of our mother. Foraging has taught me some of the ways of my world. My world is remote, sometimes harsh, and always wrapped in winter white.

I adapted partly because of necessity but also for the universal wish to survive. I have seen the corpses laying wretched upon the earth. Fodder for the scavengers.

As I leave the protection of my family, an unknown lure urges me further until I am completely isolated from all I know. I had been warned, been made aware of my lack of experience, but my youthful enthusiasm carries me unrestricted. In the distance I see a sight completely foreign. Something is screaming in an escalating pitch beyond what my ears can tolerate. Swiftly, without legs, it crosses the frozen landscape. The wailing sound, the sight, a flash against the brilliance of its surroundings overwhelms my senses. I see on its back the creature that carries the killing stick. No longer transfixed, I am jolted into a run by a burning feeling of dread. I have seen the horror of the creature’s stick.

Exhausted, I stop, no longer aware of my direction. I scan my surroundings, assessing. Here there is no horrid sound, nor sight of the footless alien carrying the creature. I am safe but disoriented. I no longer know where to find the ocean. Realizing this brings a gnawing hunger. Having failed to find food I move in a direction some inner instinct pulls me.

In the vastness I see a lone raven on the flat snowy ground.

This is the way I must travel. Wearily and hungrily I plod over to where the raven sits on one of my own kind. The thick snowy coat, a remnant of its formerly white plush beauty. The sorrowful body emaciated beyond recognition. I am both saddened and repulsed. My world has been shaken, and I know for certain I must move on.

After years of evolution, my ancestors sit proud at the top of the food chain. How is it I have yet to find something to eat. Food and the ocean become one and the same as I wander following some inner compass until finally catching that familiar salt laden scent on the wind I am rejuvenated.

I hurry on eager to reach the shore of that vast and fertile source of aquatic meals. As I reach the water’s edge my ears are numbed by a colossal roar as the ice shelf breaks away and I am floating forever free on the vast ocean of the north. Stranded.

READ MORE: Quesnel writers rewarded for short stories



Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

LiteratureQuesnel

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Aaron Harder and Lee-Anne Chisholm will be presenting a show at the Quesnel Art Gallery in August. (Cassidy Dankochik photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Quesnel Art Gallery prepares for full 2021 schedule

Shows from March until December are planned and scheduled at the gallery

The RCMP arrest one of the suspects on Highway 97 courtesy of cell phone footage shot by a bystander. (April Thomas photo)
WATCH: Two suspects arrested after multi-jurisdictional chase

A half dozen police cars were seen heading north on Highway 97

An aerial photograph captures snowmobile tracks in the Cameron Ridge area earlier this year, which is closed to snowmobilers. The closures are in place to protect sensitive caribou herds. (Conservation Officer Service photo)
Snowmobilers fined for operating in closed caribou habitat near Likely, B.C.

The investigation revealed they had spent several hours in the closure leaving extensive tracks

Quesnel Safeway manager Gloria Moskalyk and assistant manager Rose Staats hand nearly $11,000 in gift cards donated by customers over the holidays to Major Randy Gatza of the Salvation Army. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Quesnel Salvation Army gets boost from Safeway customers

Donations at the grocery store over the Christmas season totalled nearly 11K

A strong surplus in 2020 means smaller tax increases in 2021. (File Photo)
2020 surplus leads to smaller Quesnel tax increase

A planned tax increase of 4.7 per cent was reduced to 2.5 per cent

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

The City of Vancouver estimates there are 3,500 Canada geese in the city right now, and that number is growing. (Bruce Hogarth)
Help tame Vancouver’s Canada goose population by reporting nests: park officials

The city is asking residents to be on the lookout so staff can remove nests or addle eggs

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Trudeau ‘optimistic’ that timeline for rollout of COVID vaccines can be accelerated

Canada set to receive more than 6M COVID-19 vaccine dose than initially expected, by end of March

Beginning late Tuesday, anti-pipeline protesters blocked the intersection of Hastings Street and Clark Drive in Vancouver. (Instagram/Braidedwarriors)
Demonstrators block key access to Vancouver port over jail for pipeline protester

They group is protesting a 90-day jail sentence handed to a fellow anti-pipeline protester

Most Read