Ice!

Reads: 28  | Likes: 2  | Shelves: 1  | Comments: 2

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: The Imaginarium
A short story inspired by The Imaginarium House Picture Prompt 18.

Submitted: August 02, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: August 02, 2017

A A A

A A A


Ice.

What woke me up so early? I lay there, listening to nothing unusual. It’s not silence but the sounds of sleep that surround me now; the snores, the snuffles, the rustling of covers. I’m the only one awake then; everyone else is fast asleep.

And suddenly it seems to me too good an opportunity to pass up. I’ve been waiting to get outside for so long now, weeks and weeks. But always I have been forbidden. It is too cold, freezing, icier than it has ever been before. I can still remember when snow was still romanticized, with snowmen and robins, and glistening Christmas trees. Now it just means death.

How many people have perished out there? It doesn’t bear thinking of. Thousands, millions, maybe even billions, perished when the less than zero temperatures swept swiftly around the globe. Nobody expected it, no one was prepared, and how many have survived I really do not know. I guess there are thousands of other groups like ours, scattered around and barely staying alive.

I know what to do. I have to cover every single part of my skin. Even an inch of exposed flesh could lead to frostbite, gangrene, death. Triple layers of clothing, and then the boots, the gloves, the hat, the hood. And I mustn’t forget the goggles. They will be all that prevents my eyes from freezing over almost instantly.

I’ve been quiet. No one has stirred, no one has woken up and forbidden me to leave. Quietly, I make my way from the room, ensuring it is securely closed, before I reach to open the outer door.

Even through all the clothing that I’ve put on, the cold hits me like a wall of ice. For a moment, I hesitate, think of heading straight back inside to the comparative warmth. But no, I’ve got this far, an opportunity that might not present itself again for ages. I won’t go far, just want to take a look.

I’m not the first to venture outside. The door has been cleared of lying snow and there is a path, clearly visible, between the huge heaps of snow on either side. I’ll stick to the path – clearly I do not have any choice! The snow is so high it is taller than my head.

The path, such as it is, is slippery to walk along. Several times I almost lose my balance until I find some way of walking forward without my feet sliding off in their own way. It is a world of white. Painfully bright and sometimes glittery, where the ice crystals sparkle in the sunlight. Don’t look at the sun, I remind myself; never look at the sun.

I don’t have to go far to realize the extent of the freeze. I had not even noticed that I was walking on top of a frozen sea before the boat came in to view. It had been sailing through the ocean’s waves when that icy blast had swallowed everything up. If I look hard enough I can see a member of it’s crew, frozen in position. For a moment I am engulfed by a feeling of horror but at least his death had been instant.

Suddenly I feel nervous, standing out on the sea. What if it was thawing underneath? The ice would crack and I would plunge underneath the surface to simultaneously drown and freeze. I’m going back. I’ve seen enough.

If anything my return journey is colder, but whether that is from the outside temperature or from the ice that has suddenly gripped my veins I could not say. I want to get back inside to the comparative warmth and safety of what is now my home.

I sneak back inside, secure the door. Carefully, I replace all of the protective clothing. Maybe no one will notice that it has been used; I’d rather not have to answer questions as to why I went outside. And as I snuggle back under my covers, trying to get a tiny bit of heat flowing around my body I can’t help but wonder if we can possibly survive until the thaw. I guess I will have to wait and see.


© Copyright 2017 hullabaloo22. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

Comments

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

More Flash Fiction Short Stories