BOOK IV: CARNIVORE

The object was too far beneath the surface to reach with one length of the drill, so they situated holes some distance away, then connected and widened them to where they could reset the drill at the bottom of the shaft and go sideways.  At last they were at a point some ten feet from the creature with a wall of ice between.  The voice had become more and more insistent as they fought exhaustion to reach their goal.  But not yet did the voice lose its enticing sweetness, its alluring promises of untold wealth.

Joe looked through the ice wall at the creature.  It was still impossible to tell what it was even though they were now quite close.  But one thing stood out in bright contrast.  They could see what appeared to be chains made of crystal.  These were wound tightly around the creature and flashed with cold fire when the sun hit them at certain angles.

The others stood close, crowding to see what lay beyond.  “Let’s go!” rasped Morrie.  “Let’s get in there!”

“Guys, we gotta sleep first!  We don’t even know what it is.  We can’t finish this without rest!”  Joe looked around.  “Drew, didn’t you bring some sleeping pills with you so you could sleep in the daylight?  I say we force ourselves to sleep.”  When they nodded in agreement, he climbed up the rigging and led the way to the tent, a hot supper and two sleeping pills each.  No one spoke his thoughts aloud.  No one spoke of the struggle he had disobeying the seductive voice.  They managed to sleep for four or five hours and woke refreshed in body if not in mind.  Each had dreamed of wealth, of houses built with rubies and sapphires.  But each had slept.

Now, they were once again hard at it.  Not trusting the drill in such delicate work, they used pick axes to move more slowly through the ice.  The work was backbreaking, but no one complained.  When less than a foot of ice remained, they caught a clearer vision of the crystal chain but the figure remained indistinct.  It was dark-skinned, the shape of a human but much taller and more muscular.  Its head was turned away from them and they could see no sign of life.  Except for the voice – the voice that now allowed a momentary fury to color its temptation – a voice obviously under tight control.

As Joe carefully tapped the last shards of ice separating the crew from the figure, his mind suddenly cleared.  “What are we doing?” He whirled away to those behind.  “Are we all crazy?  How do we know what this thing is?  Nobody knows where we are.  We sent out false co-ordinates to the company.  What if something goes wrong?”

“What could go wrong?  That thing has to have been here for at least a thousand years.  How else would it be so deep?  You can’t tell me a thousand year-old mummy is gonna be dangerous!  Move over.  I’ll finish it.”

Drew pushed Joe aside, but not before Morrie spoke up.  “Then whose voice did we hear?”  That brought all the men to a halt.

“We didn’t actually hear a voice,” argued Charley, “We just thought the words.  Maybe it was set to send out some kind of aural signal so somebody close enough could hear it.’

“Yeah, maybe there’s a message somewhere in there for earth.”  Joe felt his resolve to back away from the adventure crumble in the face of their logic.  He motioned Drew back to work and watched as the body was exposed.  The ice was easier to separate from the body than was expected and soon there lay before them the figure of a man lying face down and wrapped in crystal chains.  The body was perfectly preserved.  No clothing hid the bulging muscles and sinews.  The hands were clenched into the ice as though trying to move the glacier by sheer effort.

Drew, closest to the creature, reached out and touched it.  Instantly, he jerked back.  “It’s warm!”  He moved back forcibly until he was behind the others.  “I tell you that thing’s alive!  I agree with Joe.  We need somebody to know where we are and what’s down here.”

Morrie nodded, “We’ll send a message as soon as we’re back up top.  But look at the chain!  The thing can’t move as long as that chain is in place.  Hey, Joe, what do you make of it?”

Joe looked over Morrie’s shoulder.  “Yeah, it looks like diamonds.  But how did they make it into a chain?  That either had to be one huge diamond or it’s something we’ve never heard of before.”  He reached out to touch it but something made him pause.  Did he see a finger move slightly? He watched the thing’s back to see if he could detect any sign of breathing.  He shook his head.  Breathing?  The thing was ancient.  It was dead.  Joe touched the chain.

No message was sent topside.  No word was heard from the crew of young scientists who’d been sent to explore a glacier within the Arctic Circle.  Crystal chain, forged in another world where evil had never walked, exploded when touched by a human.  A crater swallowed the men, the camp, the drilling rig as though they had never existed, blasting them to dust as a monstrous entity boiled out of its crystalline prison.

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About dswan2son

Poet, author, artist, columnist from the heartland of America. Author of The Windfallow Chronicles; Rachel's Daughters and With Heart Divided.
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