Ice Planet

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Here in the great expanse, there is no time for joy, no room for peace or innocence.

(Art by Alejandro Mirabal)

Submitted: December 20, 2015

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Submitted: December 20, 2015

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I often tried to imagine what it would be like to be warm. Like how it is when heat reserves were at maximum, or if all four walls of a room were covered with fish oil heaters without choking on fumes. I also tried to imagine what it would be like to feel my hands and toes, to be able to read with my fingertips like the stories.

 

I thought all this as I was trailing behind my father through the marketplace to the fish lodge. You kept your arms close, head down, and business to yourself. Those were the rules for walking. You wouldn’t want to give the wrong look in the wrong direction. I was only 7, so I hadn’t learned to take these rules to heart yet. I began to look at all the different stations and shops, all the shades of brown and steel. Half rotten crustacean carcasses the size of my leg were strung up on most cart corners. Trying to sell scraps before refinery pickup. With all the toxic oils and insulation, a catch that size could barely feed one person. Sometimes, while not much good for food, these small catches would be bought up before the refinery took them and used to make experimental suits with, given that the bones and skin and shell were dense and repelled the cold. It wasn’t just suits that were made, but I didn’t learn that until I was much older.

In the darker parts of the marketplace, you would see deep sea finds, crafts, weapons, and other generally useless stuff. Down the main artery leading to the fish lodge is where you would find your most useful and everyday supplies. Drill Bits and ice splitters hung and clanked together like windchimes along with repair booths for suits, both for traversing the great expanse and deep sea fishing. We had to make a stop at these places before the fish lodge.

I waited behind my father as he began to haggle with the mechanic. He was gearing us up for my first trip into the great expanse to do some fishing.

As I waited, I tried to follow his rules, arms tight look down, arms tight look down. I really do remember trying, but I heard the cackle of a fire and the rasping of a voice, “...And that’s when it wrapped it’s wiry tentacle around me.” His voice was like magic, and my heart raced with excitement at the thought of a story. I checked to see if my father was looking after me, and when I saw that he wasn’t, I ran straight to the story teller and joined the group of his listeners.

“I didn’t know how such a thing could exist! Such rubber, only armor plating on the top half of the arm. It dragged me clear-cross the ice away from the ship. It had somehow slithered up from the cracks in the ice some yards away and managed to find me atop it - it knew exactly where I’d be! Imagine the thing! I made great blows on the beast, but it’d just kept coming. I thought I was gone for. If it weren’t for Xavior, rest his soul, I would be.”

There were a few murmurs of awe back and forth with the close of his story, one man spoke out, “Tell us, Ricketts, tell us the story of how you lost your face.”

A man drilled an elbow into the eye socket of the man who spoke, nearly knocking him off his seat, “It’s Captain Ricketts, you putrid husk.”
“Lads, lads,” The story teller returned, “All the unnecessary fuss. I lay no claims to that name. All there is is the job, and the work. All titles mean nothing in the great expanse.”

One clutched his face as the other nodded.

“But ah, yes. The story of how I lost my face.” He leaned in close to the fire and unclasped the half mask revealing a deep crevice across the left half of his face, exposed cheek bone, teeth, and his missing eye. The right side of his face seemed as solid and cold as steel, and the left was unrecognizable, necrotic tissue reaching from his ear to almost half of his mouth.


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