It appeared to be early December, but you couldn’t be too sure anymore. It looked like December and even smelt like December, yet there was nothing to confirm any of these suspicions, which was rather frustrating. Either way, a light snow was being whisked about by an energetic wind and the whisper of distant elf song brought an extra touch of magic to the enchanted arctic tundra. It was also very cold.
The world was seemingly at peace, hibernating beneath a large white blanket until spring and nobody would dare upset this fragile tranquillity, well almost nobody. “Are we there yet?” squawked a voice that echoed among the trees, evaporating the silence like an icicle thrown on to a roaring fire. The wintry wilderness seemed to take a deep breath to calm itself and prepared to return to the calm from a few moments earlier.
Once again the screech called out, “Are we there yet, Mika?” If you had been standing in a particular place on the tundra you would not have known where this voice was originating, although all that was about to change. At first all you could see was a small black head with a beak, then something strange happened as the body appeared. It seemed as though this bird was hovering in the air without using its wings and was gaining altitude a second at a time.
The cause of this illusion was easily explained, yet it made you blink your eyes in amazement. A magnificent looking magpie with resplendent plumage was perched on the antlers of a miserable looking chocolate moose; the colour chocolate, not the dessert. Matti the Magpie yawned and stretched out his black, silver and white wings to their full span, and then began to groom his feathers. Matti was a beautiful bird, unfortunately, he was the first to realize this and was considerably vane concerning his appearance.
“Mika, why don’t you take better care of yourself?” muffled Matti through his wing feathers, “You could have some consideration for your passengers…I mean the smell up here is disgusting!” Mika rolled his eyes and sighed, and then cleaned one of Matti’s discarded feathers from his nose. “I think you do enough grooming for the both of us, Matti. Anyway, I had a mud bath at the end of the summer and that was enough for…OW! What was that?”
Matti swallowed the little bug he had caught crawling through Mika’s fur, “Sorry, the cleanliness of the transport may be poor, but the catering is fantastic!” The magpie stretched out his wings once more, checked every feather was straight and then remembered his earlier question, “Are we there yet?” Mika was getting bored of Matti’s continually questions, especially since the bird could never remember the answers, which was due to either stupidity or an attention span shorter than a mosquito’s eyelash.
“No Matti, how can we be there when we are not going anywhere?” Mika lied because they were going somewhere, they were following the little elf footprints in the snow, but he didn’t want to tell Matti and he also didn’t know where they would eventually lead. “Mika…we should go left. I have a feeling we should go left!” exclaimed Matti pointing his right wing in the air before being distracted by a large snowflake landing in his face.
“I’m covered in snow, you’re covered in snow…everything is covered in snow! Left is snow, right is snow, behind is snow, in front is snow, below is snow, up is snow, snow, snow, snow, ice and snow, snow and ice…” Mika was lost in his own thoughts and was ignoring his friend’s ramblings. He needed to find the rest of his herd before the winter became too hard and he didn’t know how long he had. Suddenly, Mika was aware of somebody saying his name, “Mika, Mika, hello! How much further?”
PART TWO COMING VERY SOON