Winter Awakening
                                                - Dana Bell
Prelude


B. I blinked my eyes in surprise. B. The first human letter to unravel itself to me. B. I tried to read the next letter in the
word. I cocked my huge, brown furred head. The next letter reminded me of my turquoise eyes or the round grey
tunnel I had used, on my last distance hunt, to escape a gang of wild butt sniffers. O. O is the next letter! I
concentrated on the last. Images of tree branches forking in two directions sprang into my mind. I squinted in the
fading daylight as my eyes adjusted to the change. Y…Y…Y.

I sat on my haunches. I glanced from the picture on the page and tried to correlate the image to the three letters.
B…O…Y. An old story floated into my memory. Miah, the Elder of my mother’s den, had told me a tale once, well,
more times than that actually, about the humans who had once inhabited this vast frozen waste.

“The planet was infested by them,” he had croaked. “Ugly, hairless creatures with no respect for us, butt sniffers,
scurriers, or any living creature.” He scratched his ear. A sure sign he was annoyed. “They didn’t even respect each
other. Always stealing, killing, digging up the land with huge metal monsters and covering it with sprawling solid
rocks.
Their offspring, the girls and boys, weren’t any better.”

B.O.Y. Boy. A small male human. Child. Kitten.

Kitten! A human male kitten!

Excited, I twitched my bushy tail. Now, I needed to figure out the next word.
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