Another Furious Fiction story!
This month was the usual 500 words and 55 hours, with the parameters of containing a train (I pushed the definition of that a little), containing three three-word sentences in a row, and containing something frozen.
Eyes as blue as the ice walls that surround us stare back at me; another traveller from another time caught in the frost. How long has she been there? Years? Decades? It doesn’t matter, her expression remains. Lost Guardians of the Mountain is what our guide called them before she also succumbed to the cold. But what’s the point of a guardian who can’t help us?
It’s hard to tell whether the frozen woman or the blizzard is sending the chills through me. Is she watching? Can part of her still see us, desperately wishing to warn us off this path? Or is the terrified, hopeless expression simply the one she died with?
I look back over the line of colours trailing into the distance – significantly shorter than we started with. Our Rainbow Train, we initially called it. Everyone thinking about safety and bringing bright colours so we wouldn’t lose each other on the trek. No-one bothering to worry about if we got ourselves lost though. Another chill runs through me, and I pull my hood in closer. I have to go, have to move. Gotta keep the blood flowing and stay warm. So I do. But it doesn’t help, not really. I’m still cold. We’re still lost. I’m still terrified.
And she’s still staring at me; her present is my past. Hopefully not my future.
It’s all the motivation I need. I get up and move, trudging across the ice, and it seems like its working for a time. I’m focused, everyone else seems a blur and I’ve almost forgotten about the burning and tingling in my fingers. My mind is a paradox – a focused haze, oblivious to all but the immediate pursuit of survival, of leading our Rainbow Train to safety.
It feels like an eternity when I finally slow down, weary and exhausted. My limbs feel like they can barely move, though at least I don’t feel cold anymore.
I don’t even feel tired, not really. It isn’t so much an aching as my legs just refusing to work anymore, forcing me to slow down for my own good, so I don’t lose the Train.
I turn to look for them, to make sure in my blind rush I haven’t left them all behind.
Except. . .I can’t. My neck, my head. . .they won’t move. Instead, I’m looking into the eyes as green as the forest I’ll never see again. She’s staring back, the misty wisps of her breath blowing across my face. I stare back, wanting to warn her, to tell her this is not the way! There is nothing for her here but to share my own fate!
She hears nothing. My words remain in my mind, as unable to break free of the ice as I was. I see hope in her eyes, and a fear reflecting my own.
“Who were you?” she whispers to herself.
A Lost Guardian of the Mountains, I think bitterly. My past, my present, and your future.
Also, if you’re wondering about the title, it comes from another one of my favourites – Futility, or The Wreck Of The Titan. I would have called it Futility if that wasn’t taken, so instead its the formula that leads to it.
2 thoughts on “Hope + Time”
I really enjoyed that, Nathan. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks KM 🙂