Ending is rushed, but... serviceable, I guess. I liked the way this one turned. Today's prompt was given to me by Jemi Fraser, via a comment on Monday's entry. Thanks for helping me practice for the contest, Jemi! I really appreciate it. Her prompts were:
Topic: Murder in the Igloo
Words: snow, blubber, knife, bear, sun
Leadoff sentence: see below (first sentence)
Did you know polar bears are all left handed?
The Inuit trader's words echoed in Reese's head as he worked his way across the snow from the sled to the igloo's nearly-buried entrance.
I found that out the hard way, the man had said, back in the last town before the ice cap took over what little lush tundra was left in this late month of November.
Reese had stopped to stock up on supplies, buying a new range knife and half a pound of blubber to feed to his dogs. While he was there, the one-eyed fur trader had decided to get friendly and strike up a conversation about bear hunting.
But Reese wasn't interested in hunting bears. He was a hunter of men.
He'd followed the blazing trail laid down by the sun across the icepack for the last sixteen hours. Disorienting, how it just hovered on the lip of the horizon like a rolling, bloody eyeball.
What was it the trader had told him? "I took the bear's right paw, that was the custom," the man had said in his strange accent. "He was a man-eater. But it angers the spirits to kill such a great animal. Better to take its paw so it may have the chance to live, and have learned to stay away from men."
Bullshit is what it sounded like to Tom Reese, but the farther he got out here the more he thought about the bear in the trader's story and how it reminded him of Garrity, the man he'd come all the way out here to kill.
He'd lost his arm in the firefight, but that wasn't enough for Montano. The old man had sent Reese to the end of the world to finish the job of silencing the traitor forever.
Reese pulled himself back to the present, crunching across the pink-tinted snow. Garrity wasn't here, he was sure, but there would be something here that led him to Garrity. He was very close now.
Which was all the more reason to be careful.
The bear took my eye, the trader whispered in Reese's memory as he began to methodically clear the igloo's entrance. He could have taken my life. I was lucky.
Lucky, Reese thought, and that was exactly the moment when the yellow, furred paw burst out of the snow beyond the opening and clawed across the back of his arm.
Reese jerked backward in surprise, barely feeling the ragged gouges in his flesh. Blood poured over the nylon of his blue parka, but he was oblivious.
All thought was lost to him when he saw the creature pulling itself out of the snow, widening the hole he'd made.
Garrity must have left it for me, he thought, horrified. Days ago.
And God, it must be hungry.
I wrote the last three paragraphs of that in a literal frenzy. This is bare, unedited stuff, let me tell ya. I could barely read my chicken-scratch. And my hand was KILLIN ME, friends. Still, it felt good to get it done. I want to keep doing this as much as I can, because it's REALLY good practice. I want to have this process down pat before I go to Vegas.
Gonna have to take the timer out of the equation because I keep staring at it, and I want to start getting a feel for how long fifteen minutes is without constantly looking at the timer to see how much time's left. Wonder if they'll let us keep a watch?
If you'd like to leave me a challenge, please feel free. What did you think of this one?