Through the Snow
"Why do they call it Terror Mountain if there's nothing terrorizing about it?"
The young baby Kougra looked up at his older sibling, who was clad in a leather jacket and jeans even though it was freezing outside.
"I dunno. Maybe because there's the terror of getting trapped in the snow," Tiger responded to his younger brother, Nicky.
Nicky rubbed his chin thoughtfully with his gloved hand as he stared up at the Desert Kougra.. "Or maybe because there are monsters!"
"There aren't monsters here, Nicky."
"You never know!"
A red Kyrii walked in, wearing a thick snow jacket and boots. "Are we gonna go to the Slushie Shop or what?!" He huffed irritably, crossing his arms.
Tiger rolled his eyes at his other younger brother's impatience. "Prince, we'll leave in five minutes."
"You said that five minutes ago," Prince intoned.
"...okay, ten minutes."
Nicky yanked on Tiger's sleeve, eyes glistening with euphoria and giddiness. "Come ON, Tiger! I wanna play in the snow!"
Tiger sighed and glanced out the window. Their owner, a crazy teen that went by the name of Lizzy, had gone out with the fourth person in the group and the second (supposedly) oldest: Kougra. A name that everyone laughed at often.
Tiger remembered Lizzy's words before she had left the cabin with his Snow Kougra brother.
"You stay right here until we come back, then you can go frolic in the snow or whatever. But no leaving. Glue yourself to the floor if you have to. This cabin needs to have an occupant and I don't need you three off by yourselves."
The Desert Kougra was just about to go searching for that glue when Nicky yanked on his sleeve again.
"Pleeaaase, Tiger? PLEEEAASSSEE?" Nicky looked up with watery eyes and Tiger grimaced, unable to resist The Look.
"Yeah, listen to the kid. I'm sick of being cooped up in this place," Prince sighed, looking around the cramped living room... or what could pass as one.
"Oh..." Tiger rolled his eyes to the ceiling. "Fine. We'll go."
"Thank you, Tiger! You're the best!" Nicky started to the door as Tiger stumbled after, Prince following. "Wait, guys, wait for me! This coat is huge!"
The three trekked to the Slushie Shop, buying their slushies and sitting down outside.
Nicky slurped his up fast (it was a wonder how he didn't get a brain freeze) and immediately asked to play in the snow. Tiger nodded and watched the kid speed off and jump into a pile of the white stuff.
However, once Prince and Tiger finished their slushies, they stood up and started back to the cabin, going up the long trek back. Tiger was evidently determined to get home before Lizzy.
"You have Nicky's hand?" Tiger called back as they began to go up a steep slope.
Prince froze. "Um..."
The belated response got Tiger's attention. He turned back to his brother. "...where's Nicky?"
Prince blinked. "...I thought he was with you."
"I thought he was with you!"
"Well, looks like we both thought wrong. Hehe." Prince attempted a smile, but Tiger was already running down the path towards the Slushie Shop. Prince sighed, attempting to follow without getting stuck in that accursed snow.
Tiger searched around the shop, but saw no sign of his Baby Kougra brother. Panicking, he dug into his pocket, finding a wallet-sized picture of Nicky that should've been in his wallet... but eh. He raced around the area, thrusting it in people's faces, inquiring if they had seen him.
"Have you seen this Kougra?!" Tiger yelled at two pets holding hands. "He's small, a baby, and a Kougra! Oh, and his name's Nicky!"
The girl looked up at the boy beside her. "Is this guy insane?"
"Please! If I don't find him, Lizzy will get madder than when I broke her lamp! Help me find my brother!"
"Kid, relax--" the boy began, but Tiger shook his head. "I need to find my Nicky in the snow or I'll be part of the floor, courtesy of my lamp-crazy owner!"
Realizing how awkward that sentence sounded, Tiger watched the two quickly walk off, not looking back.
Prince trotted up, gasping for breath. "Dude... people think you're crazy."
Tiger moaned. "This is hopeless! I'll be dead when we get home... I don't wanna be dead..." And he paused. "And we're already classified as crazy back home, so it's nothing new."
Prince shrugged and nodded.
"But seriously! We need to find Nicky!" Tiger scanned the area around him, hoping to get a glimpse of a Baby Kougra donned in heavy snow wear, but only saw complete strangers.
The boy from earlier suddenly walked up, the girl trailing behind. "Wait, have I seen you before?" He asked Tiger, an eyebrow raised.
Tiger blinked, unsure of what to say. The boy seemed willing to give information, but he didn't know how to respond.
Prince stepped up. "Yes! We're your... cousin's friend's roommate's petpet's... neighbor?"
The boy grinned and nodded in Tiger's direction. "Oh, you're Cal!"
"Yeah... yeah, yeah." Tiger looked away.
"Ah. I saw that little tyke you're searching for going up the mountain. Not sure where though."
Tiger shoved the picture of his Baby Kougra brother in his pocket before nodding to Prince. "Thanks. Helps a lot."
"No worries. See you at the Christmas party!" And the boy turned and left, the girl following.
Tiger kept a fake smile on until the boy was out of hearing range.
"...yeah, we're not seeing him at the Christmas party."
"Dashing through the snow... looking for our brother... because if we don't... we won't hear the end of it!" Prince sang, marching through the snow behind Tiger as they again went up the steep slope.
"Hopefully he's up there..." Tiger murmured, flicking his tail apprehensively.
"That'd make sense though. The kid probably saw us leaving and came after us," Prince assured.
Tiger grunted in response as he trudged through the high piles of snow, shivering slightly.
"Marching through the snow... still looking for our brother... we are so dead... let's have our last laugh! Hahaha!"
Tiger rolled his eyes at his brother's singing before hearing a loud yelp and the sound of something tumbling down the hill.
He sighed and turned around, seeing his Kyrii brother rolling head over heels down the slope.
Prince landed with a thud.
Tiger sighed again and went back down to retrieve him.
Tiger looked back at his brother as they climbed up the slope AGAIN. Prince was rubbing the back of his head, grumpy after his fall.
"Wait!" The eldest brother gasped upon seeing a familiar figure, almost knocking Prince back down the slope.
The two stopped at the sight of Nicky sitting down off to the side, looking down, his back facing them. He was messing with something, probably making a miniature snowman.
"Ni--" Tiger began, only to get a hand slapped over his mouth. "Shush! We need to use the element of surprise!" Prince insisted. "Otherwise he'll run off thinking this is a game."
Tiger raised an eyebrow as Prince began to sneak up behind Nicky. Then he took a running start and leaped.
Nicky leaned away to grab a stick and Prince missed, finding out Nicky wasn't just randomly sitting in the snow... he was at the edge of a cliff, a drop into the land below.
Nicky startled as he heard Prince scream as he fell. From a distance, all that could be seen was a tiny dot falling from a gigantic mountain.
The Baby Kougra stood up, kicking apart his snowman, and watched Prince grow smaller with each passing second. Tiger ran up beside his brother, wincing as he heard Prince continue to scream. Then he heard him take in a breath and scream some more.
It took another minute for him to hit the snow below.
"...should we get him?" Nicky asked, looking up at his brother.
"I find one, I lose another," Tiger groaned, starting down the hill with Nicky at his heels.
Once the group was finally returning to the cabin, Lizzy was outside, building a snowman in the shape of a Kougra.
"Hey, guys!" she called, dumping snow on her project.
Tiger blinked. "Um... sorry we left without telling you."
"Eh, it's alright." Lizzy shrugged. "I watched the whole thing. Prince falling down the mountain was HILARIOUS."
Prince frowned and pouted.
"And I lied. I wasn't doing games, I was at the Happy Valley... Happy Valley Fun Shop of Happiness or whatever that place is called." She scooped up another handful of snow.
"Well, at least we're all breathing. ...not unscathed, but breathing!" Nicky declared, throwing up his hands.
"That's for sure," Lizzy's snow Kougra grunted and it stood up, startling the three brothers.
"Oh... hey, Kougra," Lizzy chuckled. "Gee, you can really blend in with this stuff..."
Kougra gave her the "Are-you-kidding?" look. "I really wonder about you, Lizzy."
"Don't we all," she shrugged, leaning against the Snow Kougra. He shifted and she slipped, falling and soon tumbling down the side of the mountain.
"...who wants cocoa?" Tiger started into the house, getting enthusiastic cheers from his brothers.