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A Wild Wind   poem  
Creators: Ellen Million (Writer), Layla Lawlor (Inspiration)
A windstorm catches some rangers out with snow-unicorns.
Posted: 11/27/12      [No comments yet] ~ 738 words.

An innocuous breeze,

Just enough to lift lazy snowy tails
And ruffle along their manes.

Clouds along the horizon,
Gray, but not threatening.

Another gust, more persistent.
Rustling at the tentflap, rattling the poles.

Rangers frown at the sky and test the wind.
Darker clouds, and trees to the south sway.

No smell of rain, but the breeze is tugging now,
Less friendly and more persistent.

Little rest between gusts, the field ripples like water,
Brush bends and sheds autumn-ready leaves to spill
Swirling into air that is alive with noise and chill.

The tent strains at its tie-downs and flaps its walls like giant bats.
The unicorns stop eating as their food comes alive in the wind, and huddle together, looking alarmed.
Whistles to reassure them are ripped from ranger lips, unheard over the whistles in the wind.

The youngest ranger goes to comfort them, held back by an older, wiser hand and shaking head.
Nervous snowies are not safe, no matter how tame they may seem.
A mis-placed giant hoof, an unexpected shuffle, and a ranger loses a friend.
Better to let them stampede, if they will, and hope they don't get far!

Wind bites at uncovered faces, pulling hair from braids and yanking at hoods.
A tent stake gives out and the line is alive like the legends of snakes of the Ancients,
Snapping in the air and drumming against the loose wall of the tent.
Rangers jump to hold it down as another threatens to follow, singing like an instrument.

Trees are bending, howling outrage, somewhere rings the crack of a limb giving out.
Leaves and branches and bits of things sting in ranger faces as they struggle with a failing tent,
And listen to the crash of another tree succumbing to the rages of the storm,
No one has breath to speak, or time, but if they did, they wouldn't mention the Upheaval,
Even if everyone is thinking about it as they give up on the thrashing tent;

Better to let the tent collapse and save it from blowing away, so the poles are dropped,
Regardless of the goods inside, and everything that can be is rolled up and tucked under the giant snowy saddles,
And even those are creaking and rocking like boats in the ferocious wind. The snowies snort and mill, coats rippling like the sea.
A ranger chases a lost fur to the edge of the woods, and nearly falls, turning in the wind with her hard-won prize.
Clouds rage above them, streaming fast through the sky; only the high-up Others are serenely untouched by the chaos.

Huddled together against the biting cold of the wild wind, arms wrapped around goods ill-packed and precious,
Rangers grit their teeth and pull their hoods up tight and put their backs to the wind, bowing heads.
A few of the snowies are bouncing in place, crying challenges to the sky that can't be heard over the din,
A few have fled to the forest, seeking unlikely shelter there. The rangers can only watch and think about the task of rounding them up again...

Only to notice a pause in the onslaught.

The wind is back at once, reaffirming its anger and dominance with another crack against the trees that sends them bowing.
There's a crash as another falls, grabbing at its neighbors with whipping branches and tearing limbs from them.
The youngest ranger tries not to think of a tree falling on one of the snowies - but what are the chances of that?
And it's not like she could stop it, anyway.

The howl of the wind is less angry, and is less hard to stand against, when the rangers finally test it.
They stretch muscles cramped from crouching, and release the valued kit they didn't dare let go of,
Frowning over crushed food and a broken tool. There are leaves in everything, and bits of grit.

The tent is dirty, but whole; it will keep them dry if rain follows the windstorm, though none threatens.
The clouds are parting, chased away by the tailend of the wind like a domestic with a broom.
The rangers split up to recover the snow-unicorns; most of them haven't gone far, and look sheepish,

Grazing as if they hadn't noticed anything,
Twitching the debris tangled in their tails.

Scattered leaves and broken branches
Under a clear blue sky.

A playful breeze is all that's left.

Author's Notes

From the September 2012 Muse Fusion, prompted by Layla Lawlor!

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