Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Elemental Landscapes Part 1: Frozen

NOTE: I'm starting a new thing where I revive old, unpublished posts and fix them up. This was from May 2012.

I awoke one afternoon in a strange land.

At first, the dazzling white snow blinded me. And then it all came into focus.


I awoke next to two strange creatures.

They didn't appear to be hostile.


We had no idea who we were, where we were, so we just adressed ourselves on what we appeared to be: such as Girl, Bear, and Shredded Cloth.


There was snow everywhere, and not a soul in the world except for us.

ME: What should we do?

BEAR: Let us pick a direction and just go that way, what could we lose?

I took their hands and we started off across the snowy tundra.


Soon, instead of a light snowfall, the wind began to blow and the snow came down harder.

It got so cold I had to wrap Bear in Shredded Cloth and carry them. Then the wind got so bad I couldn't take a step further.

We sat down to decide what to do.

ME: If we do not freeze, we will surely starve!

BEAR: Let's eat Shredded Cloth.

ME: Let's dig into the snow and cover ourselves up. Maybe underground is warm.

We dug a shallow hole and Shredded Cloth covered the top.



BEAR: So...

ME: We cannot stay here forever! We must form a plan.

SHREDDED CLOTH: We need wood to make tools, and a fire.

ME: What trees for wood? What axe to chop down the trees with?

We sat in silence for a little while. I fumbled with my pockets to keep my hands warm, and found that I had items inside of my pockets.

ME: Look here! Look here!

I divided the treasures among ourselves.


Bear dipped his paw into his ears, which is a pocket for bears for those of you who didn't know.

He also discovered treasures; a purse, a bowl, a spoon, and a knife.


SHREDDED CLOTH: It has stopped snowing.

We popped up out of our hole. Sure enough, the snow had stopped.


It was now up to my knees in depth, but nevertheless we trudged on.

Soon, it was sunset.

ME: Oh no! The creatures of the dark will be out!

SHREDDED CLOTH: And I am afraid of the dark!

We watched in horror as the sun set on the snowy horizon.





But then, suddenly, as quick as a wink, the sun came back up again.


We had no time to query about the situation, because suddenly we heard a loud growl rise from behind us.








We ran as fast as we could.

BEAR: To the hole!!

But it was no use. The monster was made of snow, so imagine if you were connected to the floor; you'd be a lot faster.

So soon the monster caught up.






I brought the knife up, and chopped the monster's head off. Warm water spurted out, drenching us. We sighed in happiness. Now we wouldn't freeze.




The food was still steaming hot. We sat down to enjoy our meal.

ME: This cannot possibly be monster guts. It appears we were meant to slay this beast and collect the reward to stay alive.

BEAR: There's a note inside of the turkey.

He pulled the slip of paper out.



SHREDDED CLOTH: It must be a clue.

BEAR: What ice?

ME: Let us keep on going, in search for some ice.

 We wrapped Shredded Cloth around the food and hurried off.

The landscape change was so gradual we didn't even notice it until Bear slipped and fell on the blue ice beneath us.


SHREDDED CLOTH: Everything is suddenly blue.

ME: No duh.

BEAR: My head hurts.

SHREDDED CLOTH: I guess we'd better keep going. Look over there!


Even in the distance, I could tell what it was.

ME: A maze.

BEAR: Oh dear.

Bear scooped up a chunk of ice and held it to the growing bump on his head.

ME: We shall unravel Shredded Cloth and use him to navigate the maze, like a trail of bread crumbs.

SHREDDED CLOTH: No way! I'd rather be fat and lumpy than a pile of thread.

ME: Come here!

 I chased him across the ice.


When I opened my eyes, Shredded Cloth was nothing but a pile of thread at my feet. I had unraveled him.

SHREDDED CLOTH: I hate you.

Ignoring him, I tied him to a stalagmite and Bear and I entered the maze. Every step we took echoed horribly off of the great stalagmites.

Scuff, scuff, scuff, scuff.

ME: What is that?!

BEAR: It's just me. My footsteps sound like that, I guess.

ME: Do you have any bones?

BEAR: I guess not. Perhaps I am stuffed, like the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz.

ME: I know not of such a wizard, but even stuffed people have great hearts.

 We continued our trek through the icy fortress.


We came to our first dead end, and wound our way back to try another route. Soon, we both began to panic. Everything looked exactly the same. We twisted and turned and bounced and sprinted, and finally...


I plunged down into the freezing depths of the lake beneath me. The cold wrapped me in a cocoon, leaving me numb in a matter of seconds. I could see Bear through the ice.
















With one last burst of energy, I launched myself from the water and attacked the foe that had assailed Bear and Shredded Cloth.


OH. MY. FLAMING. WALRUSES.

It was another human!!


2ND GIRL: Um, hi.

ME: OMG OMG OMG! Yay!

2ND GIRL: Who are you?

ME: I'm Girl! Who are you?

2ND GIRL: I don't know.

ME: Well, if you had to give yourself a name, what would it be?

2ND GIRL: I'm lost.

ME: Nice to meet you, Lost!

I extended a hand.

LOST: No, no, I mean... oh, what the hey, it's a nice name!

We shook.


Bear made a strange noise that I took to meant: 'My stuffing insides are scattered all over and I am dying please help' and I scooped him into my arms.

ME: He needs treatment! I must have a needle, thread, and it is imperative we gather up the stuffing you scattered.

LOST: Really? But I was going to eat him.

ME: Eat him?? He is my companion!

LOST: But he's a stuffed bear.

BEAR: That's Mr. Bear to you, you hussy!

LOST: *GASP* He speaks!

ME: Of course he does!

LOST: I see now. I am sorry I attacked you. And, if I may ask, what is this pile of threads that twists away beyond eyes' sight?

ME: That is Shredded Cloth, another companion.

SHREDDED CLOTH: Hello.

ME: See, there he is. He leads to the beginning of this cascading maze.

LOST: Then there is a way out?!

ME: Yes, but it leads to no where. Where did you come from?

LOST: A land of water. I was swimming for days. I am so desperate for food, I tried to eat your friends here.

ME: Oh, poor you. We would give you food, but it is with Shredded Cloth at the beginning of the maze.

BEAR: Why did we leave it there in the first place? Owww!! My stomach!

ME: He needs help immediately.

I had Bear sip a few gulps of icy water from beneath the ice beneath us, but I could tell his wounds were serious.

LOST: Ahh! I am so hungry! I will take you the way I came if you will allow me to return to your food and keep it for myself.

ME: Deal.

BEAR: Are you kidding, Girl? We need that!

ME: It is for your own good.

Lost promised she would lead us out of the maze her way using marks she had etched in the ice with her fingernails along the way, and then head back along Shredded Cloth. Once there, she would take the food and try the snowy landscape for her own, and we would gather Shredded Cloth up, knit him back together, and brave the ocean.

Lost and I carried Bear along, as he became more and more frail from the the gaping wound in his stomach. We pressed his stuffing back in but he was unfixable, it was clear, without a real needle.

Along the way I wrote on my skin with the pen about our journey, describing Bear, Lost, Shredded Cloth, and myself. I described our crazy, amnesiac adventures, hoping that one day we would find a civilization to tell these tales to.

Right as the sun set, and rose again, we saw the first glimmer of the ocean peeking around the corner. I tied Shredded Cloth to the last stalactite and we bid Lost farewell and thanked her for her help. Although Bear was bitter at her for doing this to him, it looked as though he had forgiven her and was sad to see her go. She had been a good conversationalist.

We gazed at the never ending stretch of water.


I had never remembered, in my memory-loss state, anything like this. The incredible voluminous ocean was unlike anything I had seen. As if in a trance, I spent many hours dipping my feet in the smooth, ripple-free surface and writing things about it on my arm. Oddly enough, the water was salt water, unlike the stream water that flowed beneath the ice.

On the border of the blue ice landscape the ice appeared to be indestructible, as stabbing it with a knife absentmindedly didn't even put a dent in it. Both landscapes extended forever in both directions, and I suddenly felt small, insignificant, and confused.

By the time the third sunrise and sunset without food rolled around, I was getting ready to dive in and search for fish when Shredded Cloth announced that Lost had made it safely to the other side and was gone. We reeled him in, and I used the pen and the knife to sew him painstakingly back together. Those few hours cost us dearly, and we were all close to starvation by the time I dove into the ocean and pitifully splashed around.

BEAR: If only a water monster would rise up so we should slay it and collect the tasty rewards!

I sank beneath the surface.

I wanted so bad to give up. My stomachs gnawed at my ribs and forbid me from swimming up, so I sank, and didn't protest. Best to end it all, even if it was by the slow, painful way of drowning. Anything was better than the even slower and even more painful doom of starving.

Suddenly, as my eyes drifted close, a silhouette emerged through the hazy water.


She approached, and I could see it was a woman. She was very beautiful, and I remained still, trying not to startle her, infatuated in a way.

Yes I did draw this.


She began to sing in a voice like silk, the tune haunting my ears for years to come:

My heart is pierced by cupid
I disdain all glittering gold
There is nothing that can console me
But my jolly sailer bold

I had no idea what it means. I was too enchanted by the woman's hypnotic eyes.

It was just... beautiful.

She extended a hand for me. My mind cleared, I reached for it.


THWACK

I snapped back to reality, and found my lungs screaming for air. I shot up, leaving the woman behind, and gasped for air as I broke through the water. I flopped up onto the ice beach and saw Shredded Cloth half in the water, and Bear holding onto Shredded Cloth with all of his might. He began to reel Shredded Cloth back in, and I scrambled to help him, feeling the last of my strength fading.

We pulled Shredded Cloth out of the water, sopping wet, and found him holding onto the knife, which was embedded deep into the woman's flesh. Shredded Cloth and Bear had harpooned her.

BEAR: I am sorry. We were starving.

ME: I suppose it is for the best. That looks like a Siren.

BEAR: Ah, indeed.

We hauled her onto land, and Shredded Cloth wrapped himself around me to keep me warm from the chilly water I had just come out of.

We cut the Siren's head off and she disintegrated into nothing but a few snowflakes. In her place were three hamburgers, a candy bar, and an apple.

We feasted for hours, gorging our empty stomachs on our newfound treasures. We almost ate it all, but I reminded us we must save a little for dire emergencies, and I placed the apple gently in my bag.

SHREDDED CLOTH: Well, now that we are nourished, do you suppose we should venture across the ocean?

ME: I shudder to think of the task ahead, but, yes, I suppose.

BEAR: We need a raft. I fear we are not as strong as Lost was and cannot even hope to swim as far as she did.

SHREDDED CLOTH: Should I flatten myself to make this boat?

ME: I'm afraid not, SC. You will not hold us. We will sink. I fear we are not as light as you.

SHREDDED CLOTH: Then what do you suppose we do?

ME: Bear has not yet healed, and, as is proven, will not without medical assistance. I could see the food run through his digestive system today in this afternoon's meal. He is getting worse. We must attend to him before we conquer the sea.

SHREDDED CLOTH: I seem to recall the sea floor being made of sand. Sand does turn into glass, doesn't it?

ME: At too high of a temperature for us to manage, I am afraid. Why?

SHREDDED CLOTH: It sounds silly aloud, but I was just hoping we might make a glass boat.

ME: Well, now you know that it is out of our hands, I'm sorry to say.

SHREDDED CLOTH: Well, why don't we chip the ice in order to make a needle? It doesn't seem to melt and it is strong enough. If it does melt, it is abundant enough that we could sew up a hundred Bears and not even put a dent into this landscape.

There was a pause.

ME: That's brilliant!!!

We all high-fived Shredded Cloth for his genious plan and I set to work chipping at the ice. It was hard work, since almost every time I came out with a needle that was uneven or too thick or too thin. Eventually, though, my hands red with splinters from the knife's wooden handle, I broke off a perfect needle. Gratefully accepting a strand of Shredded Cloth's thread for the surgery, I sewed Bear up in no time.

ME: Thank goodness that is over. I am hungry.

BEAR: Thank you heaps, Girl!

SHREDDED CLOTH: We should save the apple for the journey across the ocean. Now we must figure out how to cross the sea.


ME: It seems as though we have been avoiding the simplest methods to the hardest problems. We are trying too hard. We merely tear a sheet of ice and set it afloat for us to ride on. This ice is thick and sturdy, and does not melt.

BEAR: Astounding!

SHREDDED CLOTH: Brilliant!

I grinned.

ME: You sound like critics now.

We giggled, and then set to work carving out the sheet of ice to carry us away.

Once finished, we said goodbye to the ice landscape and climbed aboard our new raft, each of us taking a bite of the apple to keep us going.

Thinking back to the note we had found in the snow monster, I reached out and held a match to the edge of the border of the ice. To my delight, a piece melted away, and I snatched it up. It went brittle in my hand as soon as it was away from the flame, and I stuffed it into my bag.

SHREDDED CLOTH: Curious. It can be melted but not broken by force.

ME: This is a strange place.

Bear pushed us off, and soon we were watching the blue ice landscape recede in the distance.


There was hardly anything to do, and by the next day we were so bored we were reduced to unraveling Shredded Cloth, tying him into knots, untying the knots, and sewing him back together again.


BEAR: We are NEVER going to get off of this blasted ice chunk. It's too cold to go swimming, we're bored out of our minds, and Shredded Cloth's just about done with us unraveling him.

ME: LOOK!

SHREDDED CLOTH, piecing himself together again: What?

ME: Land!!


We started freaking out. I hugged them both and we paddled all the way to the small sandbar, fueled by adrenaline and excitement.

I flopped out onto the sand, safe and warm at last.

SHREDDED CLOTH: I see a box!

We scrambled over to where Shredded Cloth had been pointing and crowded around the metal box he had gestured at.


ME: Let's open it.

BEAR: But what if there are demons inside?

Shredded Cloth and I stared at him. Bear shrugged.

BEAR: I dunno. It could be a trap. You know.

ME: Not really. We will not know what is inside until we open it, though.

SHREDDED CLOTH: Enough dallying! Open it already!

I lifted the lid of the box, feeling as though I was a pirate finally claiming its booty.

ME: It's... empty.


I sat back on my heels, not sure what to say.

BEAR: Get out of the way!!!!

Bear dove and tackled Shredded Cloth and I to the ground just as a blinding beacon of light shot up out of the box and into the air.


The beacon continued to shoot fiery white light up into the air so high I couldn't see the top for a solid minute before abruptly stopping. The silence was nerve-wracking after the deafening blast. There was a quiet whirr to the box now, and we hesitated in approaching it again.

I peered inside, ready to spring back at a moment's notice. We waited another ten minutes, and sat back, satisfied it wasn't going to go off again.

BEAR: Well, if it doesn't do anything else, it can fit all of our items in it for carrying.

I nodded.

ME: Let's wait for a while and eat the rest of the apple to make sure it won't go off and fry our stuff once they're inside.

We finished the apple, and afterwards I tossed the core into the box. Nothing happened, so I began to move our things.

I started with the ominous note that read BREAK THE ICE. Then I put in the ice shard from the ice lands, and then Bear spoke up.

BEAR: Do you suppose we are supposed to find a way to break the indestructible ice that was on the border of the ice land?

ME: You cannot do so, you can only melt it.

BEAR: But did you see that light... it could break anything!

ME: It will not come again. We missed our chance.

Bear laid down, closing his eyes. I found myself exhausted too, and flopped down next to him. Before I knew it I was asleep.

When I awoke I discovered Shredded Cloth had taken a watch for the night, and so I took over and let him rest.

I continued etching the story of our adventure into my arm, and began to count the days. I marked each day with a tally on my neck. I had estimated we were up to day 8.


When Bear rose, he and Shredded Cloth teamed up to make their harpoon with the knife again, and set off to fish on the other side of the half-mile long sandbar. I sewed up my battered dress with another strand of Shredded Cloth's thread for a while before I heard something.

A low rumble shook the ground, and I could feel it originating from the box.

Acting so fast I tripped and fell and had to lunge ungracefully I dumped out the box's contents and the beacon that shot out only moments later missed our treasures just barely and bored into the ground. I screamed for Shredded Cloth and Bear and they were over in a moment, helping me tip the box up so it stopped digging into the sand. I could see glistening shards of glass in the ground afterwards.

BEAR: Quick Girl! Put the ice in the beacon! NOW!

I threw the shard.




An earsplitting roar rang out, and all three of us disappeared.

--Jane









I hope you liked it! Sorry for not posting for a while. The return of this saga will be back soon! As school ends I will be less busy and more posting! Thanks for reading!