October 22 2001 at 7:07 PM
|Harbinger of Death
|Far to the north, a handful of Debs had
escaped in the hopes of outlasting the Harbinger of Death. It wasn’t
that they wanted to miss the party in the afterlife; they simply wanted to
show that they could be more clever than he, and be able to brag about it
“It’s not so bad out here,” said Lyrical, pulling her hood up. “I can get used to the snow.”
“I can get used to the snow, but these snowshoes are tough to use,” said Puppy, picking up her feet awkwardly.
“It’s beautiful.” Alura looked around her at the snow-crested mountain tops. “Just breathtaking.”
“I’m scared of heights.” Alayna looked down at the valley below her, and then covered her eyes, gulping. “I wanna go home.”
“Just hang in there,” Puppy told her with a reassuring pat on the shoulder, although neither of them could much feel it, between Puppy’s huge mitten and Alayna’s thick coat. “It’ll only be for a couple of weeks.”
“And just think of the feather in our caps when we can say we eluded the great Harbinger!” Alura said with relish.
“We’re here!” said Lyrical. “It’s just where the map says. What a lovely pond, and the ice is so thick. It must be frozen all year round.”
They got out their ice skates, and laced them up, although it was with some difficulty. They had to take off those big mittens, and their fingers quickly became red and nearly numb; it was hard to tie the laces fast enough. Finally they ventured onto the pond. Indeed it was thick ice, and they could tell that the pond was shallow anyway. No danger here, thank goodness.
“I can do a figure 8,” said Lyrical, demonstrating her claim.
“My figure’s a 10,” Puppy quipped.
“Hey guys, what’s this?” Alura was looking down at a spot under the ice next to the edge of the pond. It was dark, and looked almost like a cloud slowly seeping in the ground.
“It looks like oil! We’ll be rich!!” Alayna pushed her aside. “Look, we must have put pressure on the ground and forced it out.”
“We don’t own this land,” Lyrical reminded her.
“But if we tell the owner, they’ll give us a cut, or we won’t tell where we found it.”
“Are you sure this is oil?” The cloud was quickly growing, and reaching all of them where they were standing.
“It looks weird, you’re right. Maybe we should get off the ice.” They looked around, and realized the color had surrounded them, and they eyed it apprehensively.
“I see something,” Alura said worriedly.
“We all see it.”
“No, something else. It’s a crack in the ice.”
“We’ll be all right…we can’t fall through, it’s not deep enough.”
But somehow the crack got longer, and weaved itself all through the ice where they were standing, and with a deafening crash, they indeed fell through the ice. They found themselves treading frantically in the black liquid.
“This is impossible!” Puppy sputtered. “It’s not this deep!”
“It’s magic!” Alayna cried. “He’s found us!”
“My skates are like lead on my feet,” Lyrical coughed. “I can’t keep afloat!”
“Help! Help!” Alura called, when her mouth wasn’t filling with water. But no one heard them, and with those heavy skates they quickly sank to the bottom of a pond that became a deep, deep watery grave.