Saturday, March 13, 2010

Great Openings #1

“In the Arctic, when the long nights come and the cold grows colder and the big winds whip snowdust across the everlasting reach of the snow dunes and life grows less, then the wolves prowl, looking for food. Their hunger is a terrible thing. And anything that moves and is warm, in all that coldness, is their food. Hunger sharpens their sense of smell; they can catch the scent of blood carrying on the long wind, for miles around.

“But the Eskimos understand the wolves, and they have found a way to deal with them. They melt small patches of ice, then set the handles of their hunting knives down into the water, which quickly hardens to ice again around the handles, until they are set as firmly as if they were placed in concrete. The blade of the knife is all that is visible, its double edge honed to a razor sharpness. All about the ice fields, the Eskimos place their knives and tip them with the blood of seal or walrus or even, for want of that, some of their own. And then they go home and wait. And the wolf packs, roaming miles away, catch the scent of this blood. They gather around these blades and as they ravenously lick at the blood, their jowls drooling, it seems to them that they are lapping at a delicious, everlasting fountain. Faster and faster their tongues work, and the supply of blood grows, and greedily they gulp it down. Until, finally, they are exsanguinated, and the blood that has been so delicious is in their own bellies, and it is their own blood, and they have eaten themselves.”

--The Death-Makers by Glen Sire, 1960