Elrick and the Ice Huts

Since the Change, there haven't been so many horses left on this God-forsaken planet. See, what happened is, a meteor had to brush by, and as the direct result, the earth's axis got a little out of whack. I haven't felt the heat of summer sun on my back for longer than I care to remember.

Anyway, my horse, Elrick, is still here with me, and I still ride all I can, after our wild hunts cease for the day. These snow bears are tricky creatures to catch, you understand. They're nothing like the grizzlies I was so used to, back in the good old days...

But I won't dwell on that. Elrick is my best friend, almost my only friend. We're always cantering through the icy snow, while those diamonds rain down on us. I feel the richest of all when we do that. All those diamonds belong to me. Elrick is faithful, and he can endure so much, all this dreadful, never-ending weather.

After our rides, we go into the Ice Huts for fresh bear meat and a drink of melted snow. Oh, how I wait for a taste of that succulent red flesh! I eat the snow all day and never thirst, but somehow, smoked bear is always so special. Sometimes I long for a steaming mug of hot cocoa, but then remind myself to just concentrate on the present.

Let me explain about the Ice Huts: They're largely based off of igloos, but bigger, stronger, and better. Each family is assigned to a hut, built in roughly the shape of a house we're used to, by skilled artisans. The blocks of ice are big and many, tightly packed together just like an igloo, and each Ice Hut has multiple rooms, the smallest of which is used for storing meat and any other food our hunters and scavengers might come across in this frigid, barren world. For the lucky few who still have horses and are young enough, healthy enough, and have enough spare time to ride, there's a separate chamber. But Elrick and I will outlast them all. I can feel it in my bones. The  last cowboy.

The End

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