Sky of the Wolf: Chapter 4
Editor: Gold Swallow
First published on Ainushi
Snow (Rio POV)
As I thought it was getting cold, it snowed.
When I opened the window with a creak, a world of silver stretched out in front of me.
I remembered the days when I rolled about and played with Neil.
———It’s been four years since then.
I can’t believe an equal number of years that I had lived with Neil had passed.
There were no ups and downs in my daily life living alone, and each day passed in a monotonously identical manner as the day before. Before I knew it, the seasons would have changed. It was such a life.
There had been no contact ever since then.
I feel lonely, but that’s how it is.
The promise to wait for him because he would return must have faded away and disappeared before he knew it, locked up in his trove of memories with me.
I don’t think he’s a liar. I know that he really thought so when he made that promise, and it is thanks to that promise that I can live like this.
I won’t show a pitiable sight when Neil comes someday. I don’t know how many years, how many decades it will take, but he would surely turn up once. At that time, I wish to welcome him, even if it’s a modest one.
———For that too, I need to shovel the snow first.
I headed for the shed and and took out the shovel. Beside it was the rabbit fur scarf I’d made in the past. Thinking ‘So it was here,’ I put the shovel in my hand down and grabbed the scarf.
“Neil, it’s cold, so here.”
I almost said it, and then reflected, thinking, ‘I’ve done it again’.
Despite four years having passed, I still called out to Neil at times.
Wondering, ‘Just when did he leave a mark in my trove of memories?’ I let out a sigh, placed the scarf back and turned to shovel the snow.
It really snowed a lot this year.
The first day of spring had gone by, yet it snowed again today.
At first, I shovelled the snow with gusto, but I was no longer able to keep up with the rate of snowfall, and the bare minimum of shovelling from the path to the house and from the house to the forest sapped my strength.
I gathered a lot of Sekkasou flowers that bloomed only on the days it snowed. Boiling them and extracting the essence, it was sold for a high price to young ladies as perfume.
Because I diligently collected them every year in wintertime when the medicinal herbs dwindled as a source of income, I felt its scent had somehow clung to my body.
My mother was elated, but what was the use of a man smelling good? I didn’t go out to meet people in the first place.
Holding the day’s harvest in my arms, ‘crunch crunch’ I walked back on the frosted path.
If Neil had been here, he’d get angry, saying, ‘It’s dangerous when it snows, so don’t carry things in a basket but in a backpack.’ In our last days, it was to the extent that I didn’t know who was the guardian.
Feeling happy, I chuckled as I walked. Then, I saw a figure in front of my home.
It’s tall, and seems well-built. But covered in a coat and wearing a hat, it wasn’t easily identifiable from behind.
————Were the herbs suddenly not enough? The delivery day was still a few days away, but do they want as much portion as I can manage?
When I cocked my head and approached the person, they turned around and ran up to me quickly and hugged me tightly.
“Eh, Wha-, Wahh!!”
“Because I was hugged while midway through the jump, I collapsed onto the snow. It’s cold.
But, this hug, this smell. The hair that smoothly rustled against my chin, ——————I know it. I remember it. Neil.
At that elated voice, I replied, ‘Welcome back.’
After four years, our lips once again brushed against each other.
 It isn’t exactly a normal backpack, but an external framed backpack like this
Hasr11: So, this one’s a short one (only 700-odd words) so, I’ll be posting another chappie today in probs 2-3 hours…