It played the part of a harmless stick fallen from some bedraggled branch.
I immediately felt repulsed and sickened, and flesh crept down my legs to my feet. The shaking fear of countless ages consumed me.
Closer inspection—it was dead. What a strange little thing it was, all green and pink and glistening in the early morning sun; lifeless next to the hole it mistakenly emerged from so prematurely into deep snow. A reptile needs warmth, and thisss winter’s been ssso cold.
Guilt crept in.
It was quite beautiful really, but I don’t care much for the mouth and fangs.