A Terrible Thing

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Four figures cut through the frozen drifts and rimefrost air. They are wrapped in thermals and jackets and parkas, faces obscured. The wind has taken their words. The cold has taken their speech. They know where they are going.

The spook leads them. He walks with the confidence of a man half his age.

The librarian follows. They crane their neck, probing for answers and place.

The jailer comes third. She is focused on the path, controlling her breath.

The freak comes last. He is larger than the rest. He wears no parka.

The jailer falls. Her foot breaks the fragile ice, and her leg disappears into the cold abyss. She cries out in shock, unformed words pleading for help. It is the only sound for miles. The cold intrusion had broken her composure, but it was no matter. Her life had been made forfeit long ago.

The librarian and the spook do not break pace.

The freak lifts her from the crystal waters. Their eyes meet, separated by ice and emerald glass. They exchange no words.

At the edge of the world, the four figures trudge through the static towards a small metal shack.


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