Thursday, 27 February 2014

Random Fridays: 06



POV:           First person
Genre:         Horror
Subject:       Measure, Week & Concerned

It had been a week since we had last seen Thomas; long enough in this land to safely presume anyone dead. Sure enough, it didn’t take long to find Thomas’ body.

The search party was small; just Jacobson and myself. We found Thomas in the early hours of our sixty fifth day. He had frozen, as sure a death as you would expect in this frigid wasteland; his skin blue and brittle, stretched tight over a contorted face. It didn’t take a detective to locate the reasoning behind the man’s fate: his foot had become caught in a fissure between the ice plates and he had been unable to wrench it free. Long-time exposure to the freezing temperatures had frozen the poor man as solid as the ice he had been sampling.

Jacobson shared a puzzled look with me and I shrugged in response, pulling the fur trim of my coat hood tighter. There were many questions to ask regarding the situation but none that ought to be asked there and then. We pulled Thomas free from his resting place and gathered up the tools he had taken. The borer was still in situ and it appeared that Thomas hadn’t managed to collect the sample before he died. After dismantling the device we found a long cylindrical tube of solid ice in the collection chamber which we took back with us.

Sabos gave a grim nod when we returned to camp and showed him Thomas’ body. It were as if he had expected a grim outcome and this was the very best he could have hoped for; I shuddered to think what the worst might have been.

There wasn’t much we could do with Thomas; there was barely room for four people within the confines of our tiny hut and none of us felt guilty acknowledging our joy at the new-found comfort in additional space. The decent thing would have been to preserve his body for the return home, but that was some months away. Besides, the tundra was a natural preservation environment and anything we could have done would only have been a step backwards. We wrapped him in linen sheets like the civilisations of old and left him in a marked spot some hundred metres from our cabin.

We showed Sabos the ice sample that we had retrieved. It was the first time any one of us had really looked at it. Seeing it in an even light revealed that something was trapped inside it. It could have been just what we were searching for; proof of life beneath the ice, ancient life. Sabos seemed unconcerned though and asked that we simply set the sample down on the side. We agreed without question, one of many actions that now seems so uncharacteristic of us all. Why did we treat Thomas’ death with such indifference? Why was he outside alone? Why had it taken us a whole week to search for him? Why are we not filled with excitement over the prospect of the sample? No matter how I tried, I could see no reason to feel anything other than apathy. I felt tired and drained, as if a lifetimes emotions had ravaged my mind in a single day. I needed to sleep.

Thomas’ face haunted my dreams for some nights after that, as did the creature that lurked inside the ice sample. Although I had not seen its true form I imagined it as a giant black, preying mantis-like insectoid larger than a man. Each time it would raise its giant pincer arms and thrust them into the back of an unsuspecting Thomas’ skull, blood and viscera spraying as his face twisted into that same cold expression of horror.

When I awoke on the sixty ninth day both Jacobson and Sabos were dead. There were large bored holes in the backs of their skulls and there was dried blood on my hands. The ice sample had completely melted and the creature contained within was nowhere to be found.

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ADDENDUM
I apologise for the absence of last weeks Random Friday entry. It has grown into something larger than I anticipated and may be used as a short story for an upcoming assignment of my writing course. As such it will be given a different level of priority and probably won't appear here for some time yet. Sorry!

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