Ice Melt

Prompt Day #265: Describe a monstrous living landscape

Yet again, I am here in the hospital trying to do both jobs at once. Trying desperately not to fall behind on these prompts again. I really must finish on time so I can devote my writing to my novel. That being said, I have to add that this is #265, which means I am on the final 100 prompts. I’m amazed at the work I’ve done in this time. While recently reading through my old pieces, I’ve found several worth polishing up and potentially submitting somewhere. Maybe a collection of pieces even. Who knows? Anyways this piece wasn’t an easy one and it shows. I don’t think I focused as much on the landscape as I could have or should have. But when you’re being pulled in several directions at once and you haven’t eaten all day, it’s not too shabby either. (P.S. I made up an Island called Ulgros. It’s an island in the Northern Atlantic. Its inhabitants are an Inuit type people who live in igloos called mashads and the community hut is called a qan. I don’t know why I made all that up, it just kinda went that way)

Ice Melt

 

Malje looked out at the land beyond their village. Ulgros was the only home her people had ever known but now, something was happening. The days were warmer, winters shorter and the snow that covered the island year round was melting back into the sea. When she was young, the elders told stories of the world beneath the frozen tundra. She remembered the nightmares she had as a child after listening to the old ones talk of the monsters that slept far beneath their feet. Horrible fire breathing things black as winter midnights, with eyes that shown like the auroras chased her into caves that were really mouths of other giant beasts. She would wake and cry for her mother who would gently scold her for listening to the tales that frightened her so and then rock her to sleep with a lullaby.

Now she was an elder herself and the old ones’ fables were coming true. The world beneath the snow was frightening, beyond anything her mind could ever have imagined. And worse, she had come to believe there really was something deep within the island and it was awakening. Her people were getting restless. The quakes were coming more frequently and were no longer rumbles heard more than felt. Yesterday’s quake had done much damage to the village. The community qan was destroyed as were several family mashads. In fact, in felt as if all of Ulgros was rising up from the sea.

Today, she would announce her plan. She and three other villagers would set out to explore the island. It would take only a day, two at the most. The island was not large and they were its only inhabitants. She had to see and sample the strange exposed landscape up close. The mountains that were once blue ice glaciers had been revealed to be grey verrucous peaks that seemed to undulate as if floating atop the waves. The white packed ground on which the village stood was thinning. Malje could see a scrubby green tangle of vegetation lying beneath like the hair covering her womanhood. Perhaps the island was gestating and now the time had finally come to give birth to all the horrors her ancestors spoke of in whispers around the elder fires.

The quakes began again and Malje stumbled to her knees. Her hands pushed through the melting ice and felt a soft, fleshy divot beneath. She scooped the ice away, throwing it frantically over her shoulder and between her knees. The saucer of sickly skin beneath radiated out. Black hairs erupted in clusters like thorns from the earth and rusty freckles marred the already nauseous hue. Something long and bristled wriggled out of a hole off to the side of her and crawled over her outstretched palm leaving a trail of mucus behind. She gasped and wiped the goo onto her leather pants. Cautiously, she peered into the hole which could have easily accommodated her fist. It was dark and lined with more of the wiry black hairs. She backed away.

It was time. They would need to go soon. She walked with unsteady footing as the ground rolled beneath her feet. Yes, there was something waking up and she feared for her village. She quickened her awkward pace. As she neared the labyrinth of mashads which themselves were melting away, exposing the creatures living within, a great geyser of steamy moisture erupted from the northernmost eminence. Thick, mucinous globs fell from the sky, landing on mashads and melting them to slush, crushing and smothering villagers within. The snow was consumed by each dollop that landed on ground.

Malje felt the land rising up far above sea level, she looked out to the ocean now far below. The island tilted, spilling villagers and their ice block mashads back towards the water. The land began to tear apart and separate. Malje dug her fingers into the green brillo scrub grass and clung fast. Another hot geyser erupted but this time, the angle was such that the tenacious mist fell down on her head like a slimy rain. It lubricated her grip and she slipped. Falling down this gigantic body that was once her home, she extended her head far back to see the Titan stand in the knee deep ocean. The Rock cliffs that once walled their island off on its north and south borders were fists that rose up to the giant’s sleep crusted eyes to rub away a millennia of hibernation. But now the Earth’s changing climate had warmed him from his sleep. The hands came down and dusted the last of the snow and any remaining bits of village from its algae stained belly.

Malje was brushed away like a bread crumb, plummeting to her death, she took with her the image of two green glowing eyes like auroras staring back at her.

 

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