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I almost closed my eyes against the glare,
But if I did, it would surely lunge 'gain.
The tiger growled, or perhaps it purrèd,
I couldn't really be sure through my hood.
The snow swirled around us, a man and beast,
The roles of hunter and of prey reversed,
In this permanently frozen wasteland.
I stared it down, despite the harsh sunlight,
Making sure to keep the danger in sight.
I was only five days away from home,
But already my grip of life was loose.
The muscles under the silvery fur
Shifted and tightened, as it prep'd to spring,
At me, its target, and soon-to-be lunch.
Luck was with me, and I caught this movement,
Giving me time to bring up my pick.
It was meant for ice, but now for defense,
Hopefully it would protect me a while.
The long teeth flashed bad, as the tiger leapt,
Radiant body arcing through the air.
I struck out before it collided with me,
Grazing its head with the razor-sharp pick.
But it landed on me nevertheless,
And I was treated to an oral view,
Saliva from its teeth dripping on me.
I struck again, biting into its side.
The tiger fled as fast as it had come.
I stood up, brushing snow from my coat,
And tested a few of my larger bones:
All were unbroken, though I found a rip,
Through which the air came in, chilling my skin.
In these frigid temperatures, heat was key,
And this hole was depriving me of it.
I took out some Duck tape (Yes, it's still made),
And patched the hole, at least for a short time.
My work done, I surveyed the horizon,
Spotting the black marker, off to my left.
Unmarked snow before me, I started off.
It was some time later that I reached it,
The pure black obelisk, standing alone.
It marked the lonely path from north to south,
Since before the times when it was snowing.
That was almost one hundred years ago.
Back then, they talked about global warming,
Until the temperature fell too fast,
And we were plunged into a new ice age,
From which there might be no recovery.
The tropics disappeared within a year,
And much of humanity passed away.
Those who survived moved to the Equator:
The warmest place; ten degrees above nill.
We delved underground, just to keep alive,
In our new and hostile environment.
We journeyed above to hunt and to find
Anything useful left from the old world.
Now, a story passed down my fam'ly tree,
Telling of an eccentric, rich, old man.
Somehow he foresaw this catastrophe,
And expended his funds on one project,
To save that which he held most dear: a pie.
A nuclear-heated, locked, guarded room,
Somewhere in the snow drifts of south Europe.
And it's that which I seek, and I am close,
If the story's directions are 'tall true.
Now, there's one thing known of these obelisks:
At the three hundred foot line there's a door,
That is set into the lit eastern side.
Through it a chamber, vehicles within,
And enough insulated gas to drive
Two hundred miles, or a little bit less.
It only took me a little digging
To reveal the upper crack of the door.
After an hour, as the sun went down,
I could step inside, and a light clicked on.
There were four snowmobiles, all painted black.
It was quick work to lash together tanks,
And tie that package to a vehicle.
The motor started on my second try,
And with the crunch of packed snow, I was off,
Due north, where the air was even colder.
My ride was long, and I had time to think,
About some of the things I had once seen
Of the world before the snow and the cold.
We have great theaters carved out of rock,
Gigantic silver screens hung on the walls,
And projectors casting their films on them.
Old-world movies of the seven wonders,
Now buried many miles beneath the snow,
And visible to none but the tunn'lers.
One of these movies was historical,
(There was an entire series of them)
And covered the food we once used to eat.
Apart from the delicate animals
Wiped out by the torrents of falling snow,
Such foods as fruits and vegetables were very,
Very common across the face of the Earth.
Some went faster than others, but all died,
In the end. And so, jellies and preserves,
Horrible fruit cakes and delicious pie,
Left the diets of humans for all time.
But as that story of my fam'ly goes,
One pie remains, frozen, to the far north.
Few of us had ever gone after it,
And those fewer that returned brought nothing.
We were convinced it was a lie, a sham,
Concocted as a joke by our fathers,
Who knew not what kind of seeds they sowed.
I, too, would have died, had I gone in search,
Without a great discovery at home:
Scratched under my grandfather's old dresser,
Were directions of sorts, pertaining to
That which I currently and constantly
Sought: That pie hideaway, its place now known.
I presented my fam'ly with this find,
But they only responded with horror:
"We are already a dwindling group,"
They said to me, once I was finishèd.
"Another of our men, throwing himself,
Away to this ridiculous old myth?"
But even my closest fam'ly could not,
At all, dissuade me from leaving my home.
And so, without much delay, I set off.
I brought with me the most important thing:
A compass, to point me at the right way.
Also important, to keep myself hot,
A heater, as both a blanket and boots
Of course I included other supplies,
But they were mundane and common items
Like an ice pick, food, rope, things such as that.
I went for a time, on foot as it were,
North, until I reached the frozen ocean,
Once known as the Mediterranean.
There were holes in the ice, that I had to watch,
And beware of, so I wouldn't fall in.
Arctic seals, migrated north from their homes,
Lay on the frozen shore, basking, asleep.
I was, in a way, worried 'bout the ice:
I was not sure if it would support me.
But it was the only way to go north,
Apart from a long detour through Asia,
So there really wasn't a choice at all.
I made my way across, slowly at firest,
But faster as I felt the ice grow thick.
The other side was near when the tiger came.
It was a new breed, a Saber-Tooth of sorts,
Both long in fang and in glossy fur,
Colored bad to match its new habitat.
The Arctic tiger followed me: at first,
At a distance, simply watching me,
Gathering data on its brand new prey.
It was an hour later, by my count,
Before it dared to even approach me.
When it did, it compared our two sizes:
Me, perhaps six feet; it, nearly ten long.
The tiger liked the odds Life had dealh it,
And with barely a sound, it pounced on me.
I dodged out of the way, ;anding heav'ly;
my leap had been misjudged on a few counts.
I scrambled up, snow dropping from my suit,
As the tiger and I circled around.
I was brought out of my reminiscing,
As I suddenly noticed a new red mark,
Far to my right on the faint horizon.
It was a marker of some kind, but smaller
Than the one I had encountered before.
I sped towards it on my black snowmobile:
A red marker was not the standard type.
I hoped it would mark the place of my goal,
So I could claim it, then return back home.
The sun went down before I reachèd it,
And I drove in the dark for an hour.
I had to refill my gas tank one time
Before I reached the towering red spike,
Leaving plenty to carry me back south.
My protective mask, that kept my face warm,
Beeped at me: forty degrees below,
A dangerous low, for me and my quest.
If I was outside unprotected now,
I would die far too quickly for comfort.
As long as the tape on my coat kept hold,
However, I would survive hours yet.
The red pillar was, in fact, simply that.
I searched around it for quite a long time,
Before I realized the snow was too packed,
Too hard: I was standing on some hard thing.
I needed to dig down only a foot
Before my pick struck hard and cold metal,
Revealed to be a hatch, after some work.
It took a bit of force to open it,
But what was to be expected, here,
Where it had been closed for so long?
I peered inside, but saw only darkness.
The flashlight I had packed came in handy,
Its soft yellow light playing across... what?
It looked like a passage of some kind,
Ad I dropped down to investigate.
It was utterly deserted, I saw.
But signs on the wall pointed to the left,
And I followed them, hoping they were right.
Eventually I came to a large hall,
One side of the walls covered in small holes,
And a small slot in the doorway by me.
A red light glowed there, a green one unlit.
I wasn't sure what all of this was for,
So I continued on inside the hall.
There was a buzzing sound as I stepped in,
And the holes by me flashed for a moment.
Suddenly, there was a pain in my side,
And then another one in my shoulder.
At the same time I was flung to the ground,
And presented with a view of myself:
I'd been hit, twice, by some flying metal.
And then the truth struck me: the holes, their use:
They were firing bullets straight at me!
I almost passed out, there and then,
When I decided that this was the place,
The complex the pie was somewhere inside.
There obviously was security,
But even bullets would not stop me now,
So close to my goal, so close to the pie.
I stumbled on, noting the holes stayed dark,
Until I reached a heavy, thick door.
There was a screen, somehow unfozen still,
Showing a desolate, bad, quiet room.
In the middle, there was a pedestal,
Of which the camera could not see the top.
A simple button, red, was by the door.
There was nothing to lose, and I pushed it,
Resulting in the door grinding aside.
Inside was that same desolate, bad room,
And I ran to the center, not caring
For my wounds or that the Duck tape fell off.
The pedestal held only a small card,
Covered in small scrawl, which read like this:
"To the hunter of the last pie on Earth,
I am Jamison, the one who guards it.
Or should I say I guarded it once?
I got hungry. I'm sure you understand.
Sincerely, Jamison, 2010."
I stood in a daze, noting the crumbs there.