It's been a long time, fellow Fictionpress Readers. It's Instinct speaking, and here's a little something I wrote for my english class. It's based on Jack London's short story, 'To Build A Fire'. It's my own alternate ending. If you haven't read it yet, you may want to read it before you begin reading my addition to the story to avoid any confusion. Enjoy!

-Instict


He admits defeat; he was done fighting. This was it, death was creeping it's way up his body, and there was nothing else he could do. The memory of the fire he built not to long ago resurfaces in his mind. That small fire could have rescued him from death's clutches. He releases a shaky breath. He inhailed, inducing a coughing fit. His lungs stung from the constant breathing in of the frigid air.

The cold snow was falling at a steady rate upon his body, blanketing him in it's white coldness. As the chilling wind howled, he heard strange muffled sounds in the distance. It was a mix of sounds that was strangely familiar, although he couldn't grasp what it was or where he could have heard it from. It brought a sort of comfort to him, yet it left him apprehensive. He couldn't pin-point the direction they were coming from either, but he knew that what ever it was, was coming his way.

He blinked and struggled to keep his eyes open for just a little while longer. He was curious to know what, or who, it was. He was completely alone, so he knew it wasn't the dog. The dog left him not to long ago. He probably left to find people who were more competent at surviving in this environment and providing the same warmth that he and his dog desperately needed and craved. "That traitorous mutt," he thought.

His vision was begining to waver. His eyelids felt heavy against his eyes as they slowly fell shut. He was to tired, to uncaring to see who was coming his way. What ever it was could pull him limb from limb, and he wouldn't care. He was too numb to feel pain. He knows he's going to die anyway.

A chilling wind blew against his unfeeling, corpse like body. It was deafening, overpowering the noise that was oh so familiar to him, yet it seemed to be toning down itself until there was nothing but silence.

He couldn't feel, see, nor hear anymore, and his nose felt to cold and dry to pick up any smells. His extremeties and torso felt lighter than usual, it was if someone were carrying him, no, it's as if he were floating. Yes, that's it, floating. "This must be what death feels like," he thought, and with the feeling of nothingness invading his senses, he fell into a deep slumber.

The first thing he felt when he regained conciousness was heat. The very heat he longed for was encasing his now feeling body in warmth. His arm twitched and this woke him completely, still he laid in the comfortably soft mat under him, unmoving from his position, his eyes still closed. He was enjoying the one thing that he was deprived of during his journey in the Klondike.

An ember jumped from the fire providing him his warmth and landed on the palm of his over turned, bandaged hand. The ember burned though the fabric covering his hand and singed the raw layer of his already burnt skin. He did not recoil from it's stinging heat, instead, he tiredly slid his heavy eyelids open and gazed at the dancing flames in front of him.

He heard a deep chuckle, "Well, it's good to know that you're alive. You almost died out there." He did not register the foreign voice. He was too engrossed in the beauty of the fire in front of him. The voice paused before continuing, "John, can you hear me?" John detached his gaze from the fire and trailed up the legs of a wooden chair propped against the wall of a nearby tent. Straining his neck to the side, he looked at the owner of the voice. It was one of the men he was supposed to meet at camp, Craig. John looked away from Craig and set his eyes on the fire again. "How did I get here?" he thought. Craig mummbled under his breath, "At least he's responding," then stood up and walked out of the tent.

Craig came back in with two other men trailing after him. One of them, a jolly looking fellow, who he did not recognize, asked John how he felt in a good natured manner. John glanced at his direction then directed his attention back to the fire. He did not feel like speaking, but he chose to speak out of pure curtesy; he wanted to thank them for saving him. He opens his mouth to speak, but coughed instead. He tried again but he was only able to say half of what he wanted to say; it was if he hadn't used his vocal cords in years. The men surrounding him remained quiet, choosing not to interupt him. John tried again, "Thank you," he said in a rough, cracking voice.

The same man who asked him how he felt smiled at John, "It's not us that you should be thanking, it's him," he points at the direction of Johns feet. The blue eyed man next to the jolly one nodded his head, "That's right, if it weren't for him you wouldn't be here right now. You'd be as good as dead." John struggled a bit to move his body into a position that would allow him to look at the direction the jolly man was pointing at; what he saw surprised him. At his feet was a curled mass of fur breathing at a steady rate. It's head was buried under it's tail sleeping. It was his dog.

The blue eyed man continued, "He came in running into our camp. At first, we thought he was a rouge dog trying to steal from our storage supply of food, but he completely ignored the meat we had cooking out in the fire. He came running straight to Craigh over here," he motioned his head in Craig's direction, "and tried to get him to follow him back from where he came from. Craig refused to follow him until he saw his collar, then we all knew that something happened to you. That dog never left your side since."

John kept on looking at his dog. He then stirred from his sleep. It was if he knew that he was being watched. He lifted his head and saw that John was now awake. The dog uncurled itself from Johns feet and stood up; he walked up to Johns face and licked his cheek. John weakly lifted his arm and scratched his dog behind his ear; it was his favorite spot to be scratched on. "Thank you," He whispered.


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