The following one thousand word story is my response to January’s Photo Prompt challenge over on Diane Wallace-Peach’s excellent blog.
Kelvin M. Knight
This ice in me, this ice in me, how I love this ice in me. It makes me strong. It makes me a survivor. Out here where the desolation and isolation would crush a weaker soul, ice boosts my strength until I feel the spirit of ten men, no, one hundred men, coursing through me. Yet, I am no man, even if I am subconsciously choosing the mightiest of their frail shapes.
There is nothing frail about ice. I revel in its sharpness. I admire its lightness. I cannot get enough of its untamed form: water, dear water, ever-changing, ever on the go, like a tidal wave inside me. One that creates these shapes flowing out of me. One which washes this beast out of me. See, here it is rising to devour me. This beast I willingly battle. This shapeless fury taken form, see how easily I crush its skull with one hand while stifling a yawn. Not that I am tired. I never tire. This ice in me ensures I am always alert, always observant, always aware… of anything… of everything.
Nothing can surprise me. Certainly not that moon attempting to sneak up behind me, so it might flop its bloated fulness on me, try and splinter my shoulders and back with its hollow craters. I could punch it away. I could knock it out into another orbit. I should.
This strength in me, this strength in me, oh how I love this strength in me. If there were any mountains in this never-ending sea of ice, my strength would move them, one at a time, all at a time. In fact, now that I think properly, my strength has already moved them, every last one of them, from here to nowhere. Nowhere is safe from me. Such is the never-ending coldness in this ice. Such is this eternal power inside me.
Power enough to create anything I desire, whenever I want. All I need do is spread my arms wide and ripples of me reform this stark landscape.
There, see, that city. Look at the magnificent sweep of those spires, glistening as they reach for that moon, turning a brilliant blue as they poke those hollow craters, those beady-eyed craters, into blackness. Hundreds of black eyes gawping at the corpulent domes beneath those spires, and these fat walls, rising and falling like breath, rising and thinning into finely sculptured walls which create glittering houses and gleaming palaces and sparkling marketplaces. There is such opulence in this city. There is harmony here, too, a symphony of life contained by one almighty wall. This city is their sanctuary, their slice of heaven on earth.
This city is mine.
This ice is mine.
This ice makes me rise. This ice makes my breath blast, my chest heave. This ice charges me. Dropping my arms, I charge forward. My boat-sized feet make no imprints in the ice, yet send cracks spiralling outwards. Cracks which rock their city. Cracks which cause horns to blow and gongs to echo. Now their symphony sounds discordant. Now I roar, louder than a pit full of monsters, prouder than an army of monster hunters. Armies of leather-clad feet thunder to my wall. I crash through it, through them and their feeble weaponry. My knuckles are red-hot brands pushing through shivering flesh. My fingers are swords slicing muscles and splintering bones. My feet become crushing machines. My swinging arms become engines of annihilation. Everything I touch is destroyed. Wall after wall of their aesthetic pleasure. House after house of their political artifice, their stooping statues, their blossoming fountains nothing is safe from the strength of my anger
I leave shattered ice and shattered lives in my wake as I head for the first palace, whose grandiose columns I swat away like a troublesome fly. The next palace I sit on, bounce on, until the walls resemble a tortured ice dragon’s tears. At the third and highest palace, I bend over and kiss the rooftops, one after another, and delight in watching them drip, drip, drip into lethal spears of ice. Trapped inside, white-skinned slaves are wailing while nut-skinned masters are whimpering.
Stop whimpering, I bellow, bowling them over, be men, be brave and fearless, be honest and true!
Sniggering, I kiss several more palace roofs and continue my rampage until I reach this detached building with a peculiarly decorated wall. Snorting, I glare at images covering this brickwork. There are no majestic flourishes and artistic splendour, here the colours are simple and faded, yet surprisingly effective. Rainbows are erupting from this giant purple bird whose golden beak flashes and whose crest of scintillating silver shines like a mirror. Under this bird’s outstretched wings fields of verdant grass are bound by white-leafed forests; trees whose branches are entwined like the humans do when they wail in fear or wail with the joy of reproducing themselves.
Lowering to one knee, I reach out to touch this mural, then pause as if expecting something to happen. When nothing does happen, I rip the roof off this building and peer inside. The internal brickwork is scabbed and pock-marked, and craters mar the floor. Despite this, everything else inside is pure-white and brilliantly bright – except for the small creature huddled in the corner. Its clothes and skin are streaked with excrement while its straw-coloured hair resembles an exploding haystack. With its back to me, it whimpers pathetically and rocks itself while its frail arms tremble. Everything about this pathetic creature screams petrified.
No, I howl. This is my creation, my city! Fear does not exist here, only strength. No pathetic weaknesses just pure passionate strength!
I headbutt the walls into icy rubble then prod and poke this creature until it yelps like a whipped dog and turns around. Now I see it is actually a human boy, an insignificant little thing whose frozen facial features are identical to mine.