SunChaser

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
She is a mystical romantic short story about a woman, her dogs, and lots of snow.

Submitted: March 29, 2008

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Submitted: March 29, 2008

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SunChaser
 
In the beginning was He and She. This story is about She. She grew up in a small, rural community. The town was small, but she felt her life was even smaller. She did not realize that her life wasn’t small at all. Indeed, it was large, bright, and full of a fire that few could learn to comprehend. He did of course, but this is not a story about He, only about She.
 
Winter came early that year, and the town was caught largely unprepared. Most of the residents waited until the early weeks of October to stock up on food, water, and wood. However, this year the first snow hit on the last day of September. This was very unusual for the town, but not so unusual for this story. The first snow lasted 4 days and dumped over 5 feet of snow. Five feet of snow is a problem even when you are prepared. It is even more so when you are not. Something about pushing through the weight of what is essentially five feet of water becomes very difficult. To make matters worse it became very cold and no signs of melting would come for weeks.
 
Fortunately, She was always prepared. She had been raised by one who could often be referred to as “salt of the earth”. He was a kind man, hard working, honest, and knew that life could be hard. For him, self restraint, duty, preparation, and hard work came first. For him, life was a slow and measured process and one that was met with acceptance of what was while always making sure to care for self and She. He had been gone now for some time. Not dead, just gone. Some say he went north, some say he went south, but all knew that he had finally followed his heart and sought the sea. She was not ready to follow him. It was her time to live her life. However, She was prepared, he had taught her that much.
 
After the snow fell She felt very relaxed. Her small home was well insulated with plenty of food, fuel, and water. In fact She could probably have stayed all winter without going anywhere. While She did not have any human companionship, She did have a couple of dogs. A couple in this story means six. Especially when used to describe animals She has picked up. Her dogs were well fed and spent much of the time in her home. She was never sure what breed they were but they all looked exactly the same. It might seem strange considering She found them in the woods at different times and different locations. However, as unusual as this might be it is not unusual for this story.
 
Since this is a story about She, further description of the dogs would be very appropriate. The dogs were not her pets; they were part of her family. All six of them were large, heavily muscled with long, thick, darkish coats. Their eyes were blue. They all had names which I can no longer remember, but interacted with her almost as another person would. When she talked they would talk back, with barks, grunts, coughs, and a variety of body language. They came to know each other so well that it seemed the dogs could detect her intent simply by the tenor of her thoughts. Anyone who saw them knew one thing, she loved those dogs and they loved her.
 
Since She could not go into work she began to think of other ways to spend her days. Over a few days she found herself crafting a most remarkable wooden structure. At first she did not know what she was doing. But as time progressed she added a piece of wood here, another piece there, gently shaping, and carving until one day She stepped back and noted it was a beautiful wooded dog sled. She laughed when she first saw it, because her dogs were not sled dogs at all. What would she ever do with it?
 
As the days turned into weeks, and more snow fell She began to wonder what She should do with her dog sled. She had finished by now. The wood had been treated to resist weathering and stained a deep earthy color. The runners were waxed, the harnesses made. One day she decided to take it out of the shop and into the snow. It was a little difficult to get it out the door, but she was strong, and patient. Once out She noted it glided easily over the snow with even the slightest push. 
 
As she looked at it she felt a stirring within. Something beckoned her. Her heart began to pound and her breathing came fast. In her mind flashed the spray of snow, the baying of the dogs, crystal cold rivers, and snow laden trees. A howl broke her concentration and She looked up. There on the ridge above her home was another dog, howling. As the sun dipped behind the mountains She caught a glimpse, or maybe just She thought it was a glimpse. The dog looked like her others, but it was white.
 
That night She slept restless. Her dreams were filled with running, sweat, and exhilaration, and cold, mountain vistas. Her dogs were there and She was chasing something white, never quite getting close enough to see what it was but always suspecting it was the dog from the ridge. She felt drawn to it with a force so powerful it almost blinded all reason. Finally with her dogs jumping around her She dropped over a small hill and into a quiet vale. There, amidst the trees she could feel it waiting for her.
 
A sudden crack, like thunder woke She from her sleep. She sat up, her heart pounding, her body drenched in sweat. Her dogs were all around her, looking anxious and almost eager. One of them came over and licked her face. She got out of bed, pulling on her robe and looked out the window. Nothing. It was dark, it was snowing. Her shed and sled looked intact. She wandered into the kitchen, unable to sleep. What was the crack? Too cold for thunder and She was sure She heard it. Getting dressed she ventured outside noting everything still looked okay. It was fortunate for her, She couldn’t see the ridge or maybe She would not have understood, maybe She would have not done what She otherwise did.
 
Morning came and She slept in for once. She was tired from the night’s events. When She woke she noted it was a little dark. She looked out the window and saw the sky clear and the sun low as it often is in winter. Then She looked back again and said to her dogs.
 
“Does the sun look a little dimmer today?”
 
One of her dogs answered with a quiet yelp. Of course it did. This was not the artic. The sun shouldn’t be quite so low and certainly should not be quite so dim. After breakfast She went outside noting the sun looking dimmer still. And that is when She noticed the ridge. The ridge was no longer in one peace. Split right down the middle was a snowy crevice. One just big enough to fit a dog sled through. Strange She thought. Certainly there should have been an earthquake of some kind for that much earth to move. Maybe She had slept through it. Very unusual indeed.
 
As She went back inside She turned on her emergency radio. Not having used it for some time She had to search for some fresh batteries but finally go it working. Thumbing through the few stations She got She finally found one talking about the weather. Being self sufficient She did not realize the enormity of the problem such an early, severe winter had brought. The radio spoke of many people requiring rescue, many fleeing their homes south, and even some who had starved or frozen to death. Then the weatherman came on and She began to finally feel afraid.
 
“It appears the Sun is going out. Early projections have just been confirmed, the energy we get from the sun is dimming. While the dimming has likely been going on for some time and is responsible for our early and severe winter, it is only now that the difference has been widely noticed. What is worse is that the dimming appears to be increasing exponentially. In as little as a week, the Sun will have dimmed completely and the planet plunged into cold, darkness. Projections indicate that within 1-2 years the stored energy in the earth will be depleted making life impossible on our planet. Scientists are just starting to grasp the significance of what is happening and further updates will soon follow.”
 
She switched it off. The sun dimming? What madness was this? Like others who heard the news, She did not believe it. Surely the sun would continue to rise, to give life and light to the planet. The immediacy of the threat did not hit her. She had plenty to survive on for at least a year. It was too impossible to contemplate that there would not be another summer. Going out onto her back porch She looked at the ridge and noted the white dog standing at the crevice. It seemed to beckon her, but when she walked towards it, it ran off.
 
That night She had another dream. The sun was gone and She was racing in her dogsled over the frozen ice and snow. Her breath froze in crystals and her dogs strained to pull her against a cold that was almost unbearable. Always beyond reach was the white dog. She felt if She could only touch the white dog, She would understand it all. That night, no sudden noise woke her. 
 
When She did rise She noted that indeed the sun did look dimmer. She began to mentally take stock of what She had as She got dressed to head to the shed to look through her other stores. As She stepped out on the porch She saw the sled again. It beckoned her almost as if it were a living thing. It seemed to give off light. This too, was unusual, but not for this story. Her dogs swarmed around her, soft yelps indicated a growing excitement in them. She went into the shed, closing the door and wondering for the first time if perhaps this was all a really strange dream. Maybe none of this was real, but somehow She knew that it was.
 
When She finally emerged from the shed, She noticed that she had inadvertently packed several large bags of supplies. As She looked up She saw her dogs standing by the sled. This day was getting very strange indeed. She dropped the bags onto the sled and attempted to go inside. Her dogs usually beat her to the door but this time they stood firm by the sled. She called them, then even went inside and opened a can of their favorite food. Still they stood. As She looked at the dogs She could sense again there eagerness. Well, they could be eager. She was no sled dog runner, there was nowhere to go, and it looked like the world was coming to an end. With that She went inside, made a nice, hot cup of tea and then went to bed.
 
Sleep did not come. This time it was not because of the dreams but because of the dogs. Incessant howling would rouse her every time She thought to sleep. Finally, She got up and dressed and ventured into the bitter cold night. As She walked towards the sled, again She noted the light from the sled. It was not much, but clearly it was there. As She gazed at it She felt a burning deep within her chest and an overwhelming urge to run free over the snow in her sled. Without thinking She walked up to the sled and began to hitch up her dogs. Though She had never done this before, it seemed her hands moved in practiced and deliberate ways as if She had a lifetime of experience. Once all was set She stood behind the sled and looked up, this time not surprised at all to see the white dog beckoning. She needed no words. The dogs began to pull. As unusual as this might be it is not unusual for this story.
 
The sled indeed was a thing of craftsmanship and beauty. It flowed smoothly over the snow, She directed the dogs with soft words and they began to climb the ridge towards the white dog. As they got closer the white one howled once, almost in exultation and then bounded into the crevice. Her dogs leapt at the harnesses and followed. That is when it seemed to her that She left her world and entered her dreams.
 
The crevice was all ice and cold, oppressive on either side. Sometimes it seemed so narrow they would not fit through. But always they did. How long the journey through the crevice lasted, She could not remember but finally emerged onto the path of her dreams. Ahead of her was the white dog, always out of reach and ahead of him, in the far distance was the dimming sun. When She looked back She could only see mountains and whiteness.
 
All day She rode. At times her heart bursting at the beauty of the world She traveled through. As the sun set the white dog disappeared and She stopped and made camp. Her dogs had run hard and long, but did not seem overly tired. Still She fed and watered them before herself, making sure to check their feet for signs of cold or other injury. They encircled almost in an embrace of warm fur and She fell asleep, quick and hard.
She woke to one of her dogs licking her face. She laughed. She loved her dogs. As She repacked the sled She felt even greater burning within her as She looked at it. For some reason, her sled was something special. With very little other preparation She harnessed her team and began to move forward, not surprised at all to see the white dog just ahead. Her heart began to race and breathing came fast as her dogs raced forward after the white one who seemed to be leading them somewhere. As the day progressed She felt a certain exhilaration. Maybe the earth had already ended and She was dead but whatever the case She felt she was finally doing what She was meant to do. She felt She was finally living a larger life.
 
The trees, rivers, and vales passed rapidly by as the day went on. The cold was biting but the peace, the joy was transcendent. Near the end of the day, another funny thing struck her; the sun actually seemed to be closer. Not the optical illusion sort of close but physically closer but also dimmer.Again when night came She made camp, caring for her dogs first. When She woke the cycle repeated itself again. How long this cycle repeated itself She did not know, but as time went on She felt not only bonded to the dogs but also to the sled. She pushed the days longer and at night left the sled with reluctance.  It had become part of the joy She was experiencing and did not want to end.
Over time she took to touching the sled while she slept and it became almost painful for her to be separated from it. The mountains had long been left behind and She was now on an icy plane almost like a vast frozen ocean. One night She went for an extra long time before finally stopping to rest.She woke to a dog licking her face. As She looked up She saw that it was the white dog. His eyes were a deep hazel and as he looked at her he almost seem to be grinning. With a soft bark he nipped her ear and then ran off to stand out on the ice.
 
It was then She noticed the sun. While still dim, it was no longer distant. It seemed almost to rest just in front of her, melting slowly into the frozen ice. She harnessed her team and began to move forward. As she did She thought the sun was getting smaller. It was all too surreal now. When She looked back She thought maybe She was actually getting larger.She could see the snow capped peaks of the mountains She grew up in. She could see the vast lakes and cities of the world She lived in. Turning around She noticed her dogs had stopped. 
 
Before her lay the sun. Now small enough for her to lift. Or maybe She was large enough to lift it. The white dog barked gleefully but her team was still. Quiet. As She reached over to scratch the white one as he came close enough to touch She noticed he had a white ball in his mouth. She kissed his forehead then, feeling a deep love for him, knowing, somehow that they would always be together from know on. As She reached out to grab him he buried his nuzzle in the hollow of her neck. For a brief moment she felt one with him, the heavens and all creation seemed quiet and all seemed perfectly right. Then he bounded away tossing the white globe off into the field and then running to retrieve it. She noted with amusement how easily he was distracted by a glitter here and a glitter there as he approached the globe. Then he scooped it up and then raced back to her. She laughed and threw it again.
 
While He was off chasing the globe She looked at the sun. It seemed cold and She knew She had to lift it from the ice. She reached out lifted it and placed it reverently on her sled. As the sun touched the sled it seemed to sing out and She was filled with a desire to race across the starry field. With a shout She cried to her team and they began to push forward. Slowly at first, and then, with a little effort, She was crossing the vista of the night. The beauty of her world exploded into view making her prior experiences pale in comparison. She was enamored and She noticed the sun itself flare into bright glory. For some reason no light or heat seemed to bother her.
 
As she raced across the sky, He would come to her from time to time and She would toss the globe, laughing as He ran haphazardly across the sky to retrieve it for her.
Though no words passed between them, She knew He loved her and for some reason She loved him. Their strange dance would last for longer time then any human has any business understanding, until others came to take their place and He and She would run off together to play in some other starry field together, forever.
After the sun returned and the snow melted the town sheriff was called to pay a visit to She. He arrived at her house, noting things to be in the usual order only he did not find anyone at home. Opening the door he noted the home was cold, like it had not been lived in for some time. Outside was the area where the sled had been but the Sheriff knew nothing of the sled. He looked all over but did not find her, even though her vehicles were still there. With a sigh, he climbed back into his rig and drove off. It was a shame. She had probably wandered off in a panic and got killed from exposure. Too many good people like her did not live to see the return of the sun.
So in the end the story of She is not only one of self discovery but one of love, truly found. It was said by scientists thereafter that from the time the sun returned the moon seemed to hover closer to the sun then ever before. He and She.


© Copyright 2017 Inujin. All rights reserved.

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