The Mind of a Huagerdon November-December 2020 Contest, Theme was "A Place to Call Home." Spoiler: Thought Process on Writing This I wrote this piece at the last minute. I had a general idea that I wanted to try a Jack London-esque story about a huagerdon, but wasn't sure how to do it. I pushed through this writing on the adrenaline of last minute panic. When I realized I couldn't come close to the Third Person Omniscient that Jack London I opted to go for First Person limited and try to go from the huagerdon's view. I threw in an arbitrary happy ending with an unlikely reunion to differentiate this piece from my first huagerdon based story. The pads on Lata’s feet were getting sore, but the huagerdon had to continue through the jungle, his instincts carrying him forward. SNIFF Sweet smell ahead. Too sweet. Could be carnivorous plants or benign plants attracting wasp. Go around. Lata continued through the jungle. SNIFF Air getting moist very fast. Hint of ozone. Rain coming soon. Lots of rain. High winds. Need shelter. SNIFF Swamp to the west. Not good during storm. SNIFF Stale blood and rotting flesh to the north. Carcass attracting scavengers. Not safe. SNIFF Nothing unusual to the south. Terrain gets steeper. Maybe safety here. Rain starts to fall. Earthy smell permeating air with water. Need to use ears and eyes more than nose. Thick shrubs, better than open ground. No sounds other than rain and insects. SNIFF Do not smell poison, carcass, or animals. Wait for storm here. Sleep long as can. Need rest The storm stopped in the morning. The shrubs provided little shelter, the huagerdon got very little rest. Lost time. Feet feel better. Stomach growls, must keep going. The huagerdon marched from dawn to dusk before collapsing in exhaustion. Birds chirp, not chirp I want. Must wake up must continue. Stomach growls. Must feed. SNIFF Smell of blood. Food. Danger. Food. Danger. Food. Lata cautiously approached the carcass of an antok. Growling and barking to scare off the vulture. The antok was somewhat decayed but the haugerdon hadn’t eaten in days. The meat and marrow was needed. Stomach full. Cannot rest. Must keep going. Feet sore. Keep going The next day, the rotted meal he had yesterday caused Lata to vomit. Dizzy, stomach empty. Must keep going. The next day when his hunger was too much to tolerate Lata had to stop his journey to catch a squirrel. Fresh meat good. Want more. Must keep going. Feet sore, must keep going. Two more days and a squirrel later, Lata’s hunger was getting unbearable. SNIFF Carcass. Fresh. Danger. Food. Danger. Food. Food. A hawk had taken down an especially large rabbit. The Huagerdon roared and snarled. Food. Mine. Food. MINE! The two creatures fought. The hawk fled after Lata bit its neck. The bite barely drew blood but it was more resistance than the hawk wanted. After the adrenaline of the fight and the enjoyment of the meat passed, Lata realized his hind leg was badly clawed. The huagerdon licked his wound clean as well as he could. Stomach full. Legs hurts. Keep going The huagerdon got slower over the next two days. Leg hurts. Stomach empty. Leg hurts. Keep going. Leg hurts. Feet sore. Leg hurts. Lata’s leg was not too injured for the huagerdon to travel but catching squirrels and rabbits was out of the question now. Leg hurts. Stomach empty. Leg hurts. Stomach empty. Leg hurts. Keep going. Another day and a half and the huagerdon could barely stand. Must continue. Cannot continue. Must continue. At least I die seeking home. A gentle breeze wafted over the huagerdon, carrying a familiar scent. SNIFF The huagerdon perked up. “YIFF!” “Lata is that you?” “YIFF!” The skink rose over the crest of a hill and Lata hobbled towards. Immediately noticing the huagerdon’s hurt leg, he gently scooped Lata into his arms. “I was looking everywhere for Lata. I found you now.” The huagerdon licked the skink’s face. I found you. “Let’s go home.” I am home.