The Genoskwa was desperately hungry.

     It had been a cold, hard winter, even for a sub-Artic Sasquatch such as he.

     Perfectly adapted to the cold, his kind found even the slightest heat uncomfortable, always summering in the permafrost and glaciers of the far north... only heading south when the sun retreated with its heat every winter.

     He normally wintered well in the south, there was usually plenty of game following the sun to fill his belly with meat, but this winter had been very different. The game had proven to be all but non-existent and many strange loud crashes disturbed his day’s sleep. He had learnt the crashes came from Hairless Ones hunting. Maybe they were the reason game was so scarce?

     Genoskwa rarely encountered Hairless Ones. Thankfully their thin skins were too sensitive to the wonderful cold and very few ventured into the frozen north. But he had heard tales of them from the Stayamah and the Gugwe, Sasquatch tribes that preferred the warmer south. For some reason these tribes were wary of them and avoided them even when the Hairless Ones would come blundering into a tribe’s hunt.

     He knew most Sasquatch resisted the urge to take the life of a Hairless One, for they were many and retribution was persistent and deadly. They carried sticks that thundered, and killed from a great distance. The tales were many of lethal encounters with their puniest, clumsiest, and weakest cousins so the Stayamah and Gugwe mostly avoided them. But he was neither, he was a Genoskwa, the most ferocious and bloodthirsty of all the Sasquatch tribes.

     It was the tales that had initially made the Genoskwa very cautious when investigating the loud crashes that echoed through the hills and disturbed his rest.

     He had seen with his own eyes the effects of the sticks that thundered. The smell of blood had fought with his caution that day and he barely resisted the urge to steal the Hairless One’s kill.

     It would not happen again.

     Given the chance he was now hungry enough to not only scare one away from its kill, but eat it as well.      His empty belly gnawed at him so bad he ventured forth in the burning heat of the day, squinting his eyes from the glare off the snow-covered landscape.

     The night before he had seen a distant glow on the horizon and determined it to be one of those places he had heard of where large groups of Hairless Ones lived.

     The puny creatures often kept animals as companions and if they did not, he had tasted a Hairless One before, many seasons ago. They were bitter but meat was meat and his kind, unusual amongst the Sasquatch tribes, only ate meat.      

     Yes, the thundersticks could take down a deer but he was larger, faster and stealthier than any deer. The Hairless hunter he had observed killing a deer had not even been aware of his presence, quietly watching from behind the snow-laden trees.      His pale hair blended in perfectly with the landscape. He knew he was next to impossible to see if he stayed still, and the Hairless Ones were so slow and clumsy, especially in the snow and ice of the Genoskwa's world.

     As he crested a high ridge, squinting against the glare, he noted the distant, concrete blisters on the landscape that marked the habitat of the Hairless Ones. He remembered this place from a previous winter... before him the hill dropped in three stages, at the bottom of which was a swamp, now frozen. It would be easy to cross when night fell, and he could enter the town then... if his hungry belly could wait that long.

     Abruptly he noticed he could hear something... voices, faint, high pitched and excited, carrying on the wind from further down the slope. Hairless Ones! Coming right to him! He may not need to enter the town after all.

     Quickly ducking behind a tree he froze, knowing that by staying still his long, pale hair would blend his form perfectly into his surroundings.

     Two small, brightly colored, Hairless Ones  then came into view, one following the other and both dragging something behind them in the snow. They were chattering crazily, pale faces flushed with exertion and excitement.

     They stopped not far off on the highest point of the hill and the Genoskwa realized the two Hairless Ones were repeating this action when he saw the disturbed snow where they stopped. Their prints and the marks of the things they were dragging were all over the small, cleared area at the highest point of the slope. Leading away downhill he noticed they had cleared a path, piling banks of snow where it turned.

     For a moment his curiosity outweighed his hunger and he stayed frozen in position, trying to work out what they were doing. Here were two easy meals yet their youthful excitement interested him.

     They both positioned the things they were dragging right on the highest point and sat on them, facing down the steep slope, still chattering away, totally oblivious to the fact that mere steps away was a very hungry carnivore.

     Then shockingly, one leant forward, thrusting its legs against the snow, and soon disappeared down the slope out of sight, shrieking in laughter and fear as it went. Judging by how fast the noises the Hairless One was making receded, it was going very fast indeed.

     The Genoskwa was amazed. His hungry belly rumbled at the sudden disappearance of one of its meals. But there was still the other one.

     It was sitting quiet, looking around at the scenery with a big smile on its face. But it seemed ready to follow its friend in an instant and launch itself away from his grasp.

     What to do?

     If he moved it might see him and flee.

     If he did not move, it would get away anyway.

     Just then it seemed to have sensed something was up, for it turned its head and looked directly at the base of the tree he was standing behind.

    Could it see his legs? They were exposed towards the tree's base.

     It frowned, then looked up towards his waist, a scared but slightly angry look on its face. It seemed to be trying to see his waist behind the tree?

     Then the anger was replaced with puzzlement and it looked higher still, right at where his face was partially exposed through the branches!

     It stared at him for a bit, then its face paled and its mouth dropped open.

     It had seen him!

     Involuntarily, the Genoskwa bared his teeth in reply to its recognition.

     He must pounce now!

     But before he could even brace his legs for the leap, the Hairless One pushed hard at the snow with its own legs and it was gone, fleeing down the slope even faster than the other had gone.

     Sudden rage at the missed opportunity for not one but two easy meals boiled through the Genoskwa's bones. Despite his weakness from hunger he reached out, grabbed, twisted, and brought the tree he had been hiding behind crashing to the ground.

     Far off down the hill, he heard the Hairless One scream something to its mate, obviously warning it to flee.

     Furious, he vented his rage on the surrounding trees, then turning his head towards where he knew the township to be, he marched off. Whether it would be Hairless Ones or some of their pets, he was determined to eat that night.

Northern Minnesota, winter, 1972

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