Winter

Cover of Winter

No one heard the sound but the birds, before it the only sounds were of the forest. The soft, sweep of snow falling in the evergreens. Crisp, winter air bringing with it a deep, seemingly impenetrable silence. A whispering breeze, caressing the branches. Overhead, in a glistening sky, clouds drifted slowly, releasing heavy snowflakes that danced almost merrily to their final resting places. The forest lay hushed, serene in its slumber.

At first the sound was almost inaudible. The ptarmigan cocked its head to the side cautiously listening, it’s small agile body tensed for flight. It came again and the ptarmigan launched itself skyward disappearing over the treetops. The sound became shrill, almost a cry accompanied by dogs barking and men laughing. An eagle woke, eyeing the ground in irritation. Man always disturbed the serenity but she was high in the trees well hidden so she stayed silent, watchful as the hounds ran playfully below her. Snow, spraying high into the air as they frolicked only stopping for a moment to make sure they had not wandered too far to raise their masters ire. It was only a momentary break and the silence returned as the laughter and barking faded into the night. An owl, swung agilely in circles above the forest, keeping a watchful eye on the ground, a master hunter seeking its prey. No one heard the sound but the birds. A sharp sound. Different from the sounds that the eagle usually heard. Loud, arrogant noise. A growling roar. No longer were the men or the hounds about to hear the sound that would signal the beginning of the end.