By Amanda Pizzolatto (rated G)
A man trudged through the blinding snow, trying to get home as quickly as he could before he got frostbite. By the time the storm descended upon him, it was already too late for him to turn back and return to town. Now, he had to worry about the freezing cold and making sure he made the right turns down the maze-like route back home. The wind sent the cold, wet pelts of snow into his face, obscuring his view to three feet. Hot steam came out of his nose and mouth as he huffed and puffed, attempting to keep warm in the sub zero temperatures.
He had no idea how long he had been walking, it could have been minutes, it could have been hours; it was hard to tell as everything looked the same. The sky was a dark, ominous grey, the pure white snow crunching beneath his feet, and plants were nothing but black, spooky shapes whipping around him in the chill of the wind. His teeth chattered as he continued to walk further into the onslaught of wind and snow. He didn’t notice the signs until it was too late, and he fell off the cliff. He let out a yell that he knew far too well would go unheeded, but there was one call that might not, and quickly prayed to God and his guardian angel to save him. But he knew not what could save him, as no one, and nothing, was out in this horrendous weather. Yet, he landed on something soft, and his descent quickly became ascent. He held on tight to the creature that had saved him and uttered a prayer of gratitude to both God and his guardian angel.
The creature had flown a ways before landing, in front of the man’s house. The snow was falling gently here which allowed the man to get a good look at his rescuer. He tumbled off the creature’s back in surprise, it was a peryton! It was certainly magnificent to behold, with the head, body and legs of a stag and the two pairs of wings, a tail, and eyes of the phoenix. It was pearl white with a soft glow, except for its antlers and hooves which were golden. Its jasper eyes locked onto the man before glancing at the man’s house. The man nodded nervously; he understood the peryton’s meaning – it wanted him to head inside, get warm, and let his family know that he was alright. But he boldly walked up to the peryton and thanked it for saving his life. The peryton just snorted and flew away, leaving the man astonished that such a creature, the steed of angels, had saved him.