The Call of the Hungry

When there is no more land to walk, and all that’s in front is a river that cuts this into half, you relieve yourself of all your clothes and waddle into icy waters – till you hit rock bottom.

Your teeth start chattering. They make strange rhythms, which must have drawn out the animals to get a closer look at the source of the unusual call, only to face a red spot bubbling to the surface before spreading across the white expanse even as we sleep.

It comes to be known as the Call of the Hungry.

In any case, either of us would have willingly sacrificed oneself for the other when the claws and fangs come out. (Today, the boy (or for that matter, the old man) still feels the sharp paper cuttings on his neck, brain and all over the back of his torso.)

Ever so often, one is distracted by clattering bones, driftwood, teeth and chipped fingernails that prop the stilts of your mind.

This morning, between the unswept corridor and the hung window, the animals, they hear the call again. Any time now…