Winter Wonderland 2018-2019 Writing Contest: Toasty Beverage
A thick furred vixen’s tail swayed from side to side to the rhythm to festive humming. White puffs escaped from her pointed snout, but despite the silvery snow covering the frozen ground she flashed a toothy grin. Sniffing out the wafting smoky scent from her home village nearby. Shifting the long reins in her clawed paws leading the pair of appaloosa uni hauling the sleigh through the trodden snow path. While the novelty of a sleigh dashing through the snow wore off the first few rides into Olde Foxbury’s center she didn’t mind running errands during the winter.
Wiggling in her seat imagining how she’d fire up the hearth, and how the burning flames would heat the room. She could whip up something hot to warm her from the icy air. She let out an excited squeal. Spotting the first signs of the village by smoke in the sky, and then array of buildings scattered in the wintery landscape.
From the laughter and the grumbling voices she could pinpoint who enjoyed the cold and who detested it. Riding through the village’s center some of her neighbors with thick furry winter coats rolled around in the snow playing without a care. They would leave no snow untouched for long. Then there were those bundled up. They shoveled paths clean refusing to let the snow order them around.
Her good nature tempted her to lend a sympathizing paw, but her main priority kept her focused. Trying an authentic Tigereye Peak cocoa recipe. She searched up and down the stalls of the marketplace, for the specially imported ingredient. Maybe all the this effort for some hot cocoa was over the top, but she needed to taste it for herself. Offering her condolences to her shivering friends with a soft smile.
Slowing the pair of uni to a stop she leapt out of her seat to tether the reins to a nearby post she kicked the loose snow out of her way. Rushing towards the door of her home she shook herself before taking a step inside.
“Light the fire, unload, simmer and yum.” Scanning the room she set her eyes on a pile of chopped logs, she tossed a few into the hearth and lit them. Playing with the fire to her liking until she went in search of pot, a wooden spoon and milk. Leaving the milk on the fire she stepped back outside to unload her goods. Repeating quick trips to and from the sleigh to inside she reached her last special purchase, and her mouth watered knowing it was for the cocoa.
She stopped in her tracks her ears twitching. “Hello?” She looked around unable to find the source of the soft shuffling. Shaking her head she tried to take another step, but she crashed into the snow with a sudden yelp.
“What that-“ Struggling to figure out who tackled her to the ground a pair of big ivory furred paws pinned her down. “-Elska?”
The white wolf whose tongue lolled out at the side of her mouth, and her tail wagged revealed her playful mood. “Apologies, I could not help myself.” She snickered letting the fox up from the frozen ground. “Ahh did you get Nennir’s things?” She asked eyeing the sleigh.
“Mmhm,” Aria brushed the snow off before picking up her package, “I was going to drop them off later.” She motioned for the wolf to follow her inside. Settling in by the blazing hearth she untied the delicate jute string, and unwrapped the solid chocolate. Smooth and sweetly scented without any elegant designs.
“Chocolate? All of that for chocolate?” Elska reached for the almost unwieldy bar, but pulled her paw back from the sudden smack. “Hey!”
“For the record it’s special Tigereye Peak cocoa chocolate, unpowdered.” Aria stirred the bubbling milk. “Now, go get some mugs…And marshmallows.” She pointed to the cabinets on the other side of the room. Taking her eyes off of the wolf she turned back to the chocolate, and started breaking the bar apart into squares.
Elska set the mugs down to the side, and popped the lid to the jar of marshmallows open. Snapping a pawful between her jaws before returning to Aria’s side. Noticing the bow around the fox sitting crooked her tail wagged. “An easy fix,”
Pulling on the ends of the ribbon the bow fell apart, and Elska straightened off the fabric before retying the bow bigger than before. “There,”
“Really? You didn’t have to,”
“You ought look nice when going out,”
Trying to fight against the laughter leaking past her lips Aria’s shoulders shook. “Okay mom, and I super duper promise to be back before sunset too,”
“Hmph, laugh all you will but we all represent a part of this village. Our village, our home. Tis not grand, nor flashy, but is it not our pride?”
Aria inched the squares into the pot with a wide smile. That was Elska, playful as a pup and just a little preachy. Letting the squares melt causing the milk darkened and sweeten she added a pinch of salt. Bringing the spoon to her snout she blew on it before tasting the cocoa. “Wow!” Her tail bristled from excitement. Filling the mugs she dropped in marshmallows with gusto. “Here.” Giving the Elska the second mug watching her eyes light up with the first sip. “Right?!”
“I am sorry I doubted you, this is delightful,”
With a nod Aria held the mug tight letting the rising steam warm her face. Sipping from the rim she closed her eyes savoring everything from the flavor to the aroma. She would do it all over again. How could she hate the snow when these were the best parts?