Alto woke up to the sound of his father screaming his name. “Alto! Get up, boy! Come quickly!”
Scrambling out of bed, the young shepherd tripped on his wool blankets in his haste and came crashing to the ground. Entangled in a nest of wool, he yelled back, “I’ll be right there!”
A glance out his window told Alto that the sun was just beginning to rise. A normal time for him to wake up, but usually not to his father’s shouts. He wondered what was wrong.
Just then, a llama ran past his window and down a hill, kicking up snow where its feet hit the ground. “Dad?” He called. “Dad, is that llama supposed to be out there?”
His dad ran into his room and almost threw his boots and snowboard at him. “You have to go after them!” His bearded face was as red as Alto’s hat. After that, his father ran off, probably to go catch as many llamas as he could.
Alto nodded, although he was still kind of confused. He unraveled the restricting blanket and changed into his snowboarding outfit as fast as he could. Then he rushed through his small house and into the glistening white outdoors. He only had a moment to appreciate the glittering red tiled roofs and the outline of a hot air balloon against the orange and pink sky before he caught sight of a few llamas wandering around the road.
As soon as those llamas were herded back into their yard, and the wooden gate was securely shut, Alto set off to find the others.
The first few hills right outside his house were pretty short and level. They were barely hills at all. Alto ran up those. The hills after, however, were way more steep. His experience with the art of snowboarding let him glide purposefully down, and he listened contentedly at the familiar wssshhhh of the snow underneath the board getting kicked up behind him.
And that was when he saw it. In the distance, a furry brown and white head disappeared over a hill.
Alto sped after it.
...What he didn’t expect was the rock.
Before Alto knew it, he was sent flying through the air, only to land in a sad little heap a good ten feet away from the rock. It stuck out if the ground with an ugly grey leer, half covered in snow and almost invisible. Thank god his snowboard remained intact!
Alto dusted the cold snow off his jacket and took off his grey mittens to shake the snow off of those too, but was back on the board in no time.
Again, he set off to find his missing llama. And this time, when a rock came up in front of him, he swerved to avoid it. Barely, just barely, he didn’t go flying again. Ahead, some poles with strings attached to them had been decorated with colorful triangle shaped papers. While he whizzed past the bunting he stuck out his arm to feel all the papers flap against his fingertips.
As he came to the top of the hill, running on pure luck, skill, and more importantly velocity, he saw it again. The brown llama.
He recognized her. That specific white llama with brown patches had always been Alto’s least favorite. She always spit on him whenever he got too close. However, she absolutely loved his dad. Alto didn’t understand what he’d done wrong to earn such pure, evil hatred in every look she gave with her big brown eyes. Llamas are one of he most spiteful creatures on Earth, this Alto knew for a fact.
She saw him standing at the top of the hill, and Alto could swear her eyes went wide for a second. Then, being the stupid llama she is, she started running again. “Wait! I’m just trying to get you home, you spit-filled ball of fluff!”
He crouched low, keeping his head forward and his feet planted, speeding up the most he could. The velocity carried him up the hill, and then over, and he was flying down the glittering hillside again. The llama looked back, saw Alto approaching, and started running faster.
“You’re impossible, you know that!”