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David Burster Feb 2014
Ice Ice Ice
Ice Ice Ice Ice
Capital I
see eee see eee
Ice Ice Ice
Ice ice ice ICE
Ice ice ice iceice
Ice Ice
ICE

Cream cream
Cream Cream Cream
Cream Cream Cream Cream
Cream Cream CREAM cream
CREAM cream cream CREAM
cream cream CREAM cream cream
krrr eeem krrr eeeem krrr eeem


Ice cream I love you
like a love song baby
But Ice cream is lovely
Cause it's such a wannabe
Cause ice cream is cream
who pretends to be ice
What say you ? Let's roll the dice
For my chocolate Ice cream PS: I love eating you
wayne mockler Mar 2019
journey to snow moutain
We all wake up in this great palace of ice and look around for the man to appear. I turn towards lieutenant megs to comfort her and the ice figure appears in strange clothing dressed like a wizard.

He stands  in front of us and says he is the ice wizard and wants to leads us through the ice forest  towards a place called snow mountain.

We all walk out through the palace and into the cold winter of the ice world.  The wizard tells us to follow him down a pathway of ice towards the gates of frozen eternity.

I start to walk along the path with lieutenant megs and the horses following the ice wizard  moving through ice trees with  snow leaves hanging down from our heads.  

The wizard leads us through the path towards the gate of eternity  and we all enter into the  core of the ice forest.  I turn towards lieutenant megs and comfort her with protective arms.  

We all walk through the forest  being lead by the wizard of  ice and into the cauldron of terror.  Walking through the forest of snow  we hear sounds coming deep  from the forest  depths  and see a large figure coming towards us.

The wizard tells us to run fast towards  an ice covering in the forest because the ice dragon has seen us.  We  hide in the  forest  and are protected by the horses force field until the ice  dragon has passed  .  The wizard warns us if the dragon see us we will be frozen by the dragons fire of ice  and never return home.

After a few minutes  we move on through the ice forest  and reach the gate of snow mountain but see other figures  watching us in the cold  sun of ice city.  The figures appear to be  ice  bears  with large ice teeth and green eyes  glare at our bodies with extreme intent

The ice wizard gives us a special key of ice to  open the gates but we struggle to open it because the lock is frozen stiff with the ice. The horses blow hot air from their mouths onto the key and it glows red  and ready  to  open the gates.  We enter into snow mountain and see  mystical place of ice beauty snow covered landscape.


The wizard waves to us  goodbye saying  be very aware and tells the horses to protect us from the perils of snow mountain  The wizard then waves at us and moves up into the frozen sky flying across the ice cold  sky and back to his home at ice palace.

We look up at ice mountain before laying down  and resting  wondering what will happen to us while we move up the  massive mountain of snow  that leads high above the clouds and into space

written by wayne mockler
ownership  copyright wayne mockler
Keith J Collard Apr 2013
In Japan, there was an ice cold assassin, that rose through the ranks of the Lin Kuei Clan.   Mid snow flurry, he could avoid every flake, and seize the brittle crystal without breaking it.  He could walk on snow without sinking in, japan's cold winter, is when he was unopposed and most ruthless--slaying debtee and their family.  His ice cold ego, came into contact with a shaolin warrior, who was trained to feel the cold, and never run away from it, nor get used to it, but feel the chill everytime without hardening his self.  Sub-Zero was defeated but not killed, and scorned to the Gods during a snowstorm, " I am the better, and was defeated by a lessor, I appeal to the powerful, give me the power of ice, so that no one shall adapt to my soul's chill, give me the power and my clan shall be in service to you."

Then a snow crystal fell, bigger than most, and he clutched it, and looked in his palm, the crystal was in the form of a pentagram.  The wind whispered, " The most cold and still realm of hell will be in your veins, if you partaketh of this crystal."  And the power of ice, that no man could withstand was at his disposal, and he was locked in a contract, that was unbreakable.

He rose to leader of the clan, and changed the color of the assasin uniform to the color of the cold region of hell, and he could not find the shaolin warrior who defeated him, and so slayed his mentor.
One hot day, his soldiers came back defeated, by a pearl diver, who refused to pay tribute to their mafia.  Sub-zero impaled the clan's soldiers who had their uniform in tatters--by raising jagged ice spears from hell.  The ice never thawed, and the men never fully died, but looked up at the high cieling from their bespearment to a mosaic of an icy and lonely realm-- a message to anyone who fails the clan--that you shall be pierced and preserved.  Sub-zero took the rest to pay a visit to the pearl diver who had stained the Clan's uniform with the blood color of disgrace.

The pearl diver, was in the bay diving down to the bottom for pearls.  He felt the water suddenly get cold, and swam upward to the surface, where he came in contact with the surface of the water, frozen over, and he saw the boots walking over the ice.  They were holding heads that leaked onto the clear ice underfoot and as the pearl diver struggled for air underneath, he saw the heads of his family dropped onto the ice.
Then Sub-zero kneeled down, holding his wife's head to the drowning pearl diver, and placed it on the ice, so he shall see the horrid picture as he drowned underneath.  The Clan took leave, from the bay.

The pearl diver did not fear death, but went mad, as he sank downward into oblivion, staring upward, rage took over his once good heart, and he turned away to look into the depths, shouting " Let me born again, so I shall live a life of fire, so that anyone who dares come close, shall be scolded, GOD OF REVENGE, LET ME BE BORN AGAIN."
The pearl diver breathed in the water unblinking, and his heart stopped, but still he lived as he sank reaching the bottom and there was a scorpion at his feet, and the depths spoke, " Let this scorpion sting both your eyes, and command the fire of hell, and be born again, to melt the ice."
He took the scorpion--who glowed hot in the dark depths-- and stung his eyes, his pupils went from his eyes, leaving milk swirls as his ovals of revenge.  " Now let it snip your lips and chin, so that you may breath the painfull sting of fire upon your enemies without singing your own flesh."

The scorpion greedily ate his lips, tongue and chin, giving him a mouth guard of skull.  " Now you are born again Scorpion, arise, and REVENGE."

Scorpion, screamed, no longer a human voice, but demonic, and grabbed the chain from his boat anchor, and climbed. Upon reaching the ice barrier, he touched his hands to it, and burned a hole and emerged forth.  He pulled up the chain with ease into the air from the depths, the metal barb on the end that served as an anchor, was now for impaling hearts and not the sea bottom.  He snapped his arm and the chain coiled around his arm, ready to sail out to impale and bring his enemies up to his eyes, so they can feel the painfull sting of fire up close, and see Scorpions eyes.
He walked to shore, his feet singing and melting Sub-zero's ice as he walked.
His walk was illusive, as a flickering flame, Scorpion could not be percieved directly without mesmerizing, as a fire in total darkness.

He reached shore, and found a Clan member, he harpooned him with his chain and barb, and brought him close to his face with his chained anchor, and melted the henchman's face with his hot breath.
He stripped him naked with his curved pearl knife, and donned the uniform of the Lin Kuei, ice blue, then the uniform turned yellow from his hot blood underneath, turning the uniform yellow as if it was boiled alive in a ***.  Scorpions' veins serpentined on his forearms, his muscles always a'sweat and full of blood .  The color of his revenge was yellow, mocking the blue Lin Kuei's uniform with the color of cowardice.

He tracked down Sub-Zero to his Clan hall that resembled the cold layer of hell with victims adorning his walls and floors that were pierced by ice sculpture and still a 'quarter alive staring at the cieling.  Sub-Zero felt the slight thaw of his ice, and knew the presence of Scorpion.  

Scorpion flickered from the torches that bedecked the walls, and burnt the guards throats with his hands so they crawled around uselessly.  When a clan member espied the demonic ninja, Scorpion was behind him, breathing on his neck, and the guard fell to the ground in three pieces.

Sub-Zero's throne room, had no torch, no fire, and Scorpion could only enter without his flame illusion through the front tall doors.  
" You have fought your way into my layer, just to realize it is a glacial tomb assassin," saithe Sub-Zero.

" Scorpions demonic voice echoed to him, " YOU HAVE MURDERED DOWN THE PATH OF LIFE, BUT THE PATH WAS THE THROAT OF A DRAGON, AND I AM ITS BELLY, YOUR TOMB OF STINGING ACID."

Scorpion took Sub-Zero's eye from him with his harpoon chain, and beat him mercilessly with kick and punch.  Sub-Zero's summoned ice but it only melted near Scorpions hatred.  But the water from the melt, slowed Scorpion--so it was hand to hand by their opposite powers, negating their satanicly endowed powers.  

But Sub-Zero was the creator of Scorpion, and so had the advantage.  Being beaten, and his face smashed, his nose flattened to his face, exposed rib slats, and his testicles smashed, Sub-Zero feigned mortal injury and non-defence as Scorpion walked up with his milky eyes to do his finishing move.

Sub-Zero's forearm protruded in injury from Scorpions kick before, and formed a sharp dagger, and this dagger sunk in Scorpions brain from beneath his chin.  Sub-Zero won with the treachery he knew best.  But Scorpion's body turned to hell's flames, and melted the layer completely drowning the wounded Sub-Zero, killing him, as Scorpion himself died the second death being extinguished in cold water of the clan layer.



They were sent back to hell, and forced to stand side by side of eachother, as Satan's servants of fire and ice--still donned in the Lin Kuei assassin robe,belt, and face-guard.
All of the magmatic, scolding statalactites dripped behind Scorpion who stood before the entrance to the fiery region of hell.  He stared forward with his scolding white phosphorus eyes.

Behind Sub-Zero, was the still and frozen layer.  He stood next to Scorpion, to the entrance of his own realm, with pupils bordered by ice frozen rivulets.  The proximity to eachother was their hell, and Satan was their master.  Scorpions pyscho hatred heat always attacking Sub-Zero's callous cruel cold, and vice versa, so as they never became adapted to the terms of hell and eternity.
Ron Sanders Feb 15
(Glade, World, Master, Boy, Hero)

                                                 GLADE

There is a glacier.
Its blue tongue’s tip just tastes a frozen gorge.
There is a gorge, its walls shattered by cold; a once-green thing that, in dying, birthed a thousand aching fissures. It works its jagged way downhill, round ragged rifts and drifts until it comes upon a little frosted wood.
There is a wood, an island locked in ice.
Within this wood the gorge descends. It wanders and it wends; it brakes and all but ends outside a clearing wet with sun. And there, forking, its bent and broken arms embrace a strange, enchanted glade.

There is a glade.
And in this glade the black bears sleep, though salmon leap fat between falls. Here the field mouse draws no shadow, the eagle seeks no prey; they spend their while caressed by rays, and halcyon days are they. Here rabbit and fawn may linger, no longer need they flee. For in this timeless, taintless space, the Wild has ceased to be. (Outside the glade are shadow and prey, are ice and naked death. There blood may run freely. There the eagle, that thief, is a righteous savage, a noble fiend. But once in the glade he is dove, and has no taste for blood, running freely or otherwise).
And in this glade there nests a pool:  a dazzling, blue-and-silver jewel; profoundly deep, pristinely clear. All who sip find solace here, for this is the Eye of Being. They lap in peace, assuming blear, not knowing it is seeing. And ever thus this pool shall peer:  a silent seer, reflecting on—all that Is, and all Beyond.
(Outside the glade there lies a world where rivers ever run, where ghastly calves in random file revile a bitter sun. East, the day is born in mist. West she dies:  her rest, the deep. And North…North the Earth lies mute. Wind gnaws her hide, wind wracks her dreams. Wind screams like a flute in her white, white sleep).
But in the glade are tall, stately grasses, sunning raptly, spinning lore. Roots render the rhythms, blades bend without breeze, as signals ascend from the glade’s tender floor. (In this wise the glade weaves its word, airs its views. All the glade’s flora are bearers of news). They do not wither with fall, for in the glade there is no fall. They do not bind or wilt or brown—they gesture, spreading the mood, the mind; conveying, indeed, the very soul of the glade. As ever they have, as they shall evermore.
Bees do not hum here; they sing. They fatten the dream. Mellow and round are the timbres they sound, sweet is the music they bring. Birds do not sing here—they play. They carry the theme. Dulcet and warm are the strains they perform. Gifted musicians are they. (All in the glade are virtuosi. They were born to create. Melody, harmony, meter…are innate). Now the performance is lively and bright, now full, now almost still. For, though all in the glade may lean to the light, they must bend to the maestro’s feel.
And yet…there was a day, long ago in a dream, when this ongoing opus was torn. And on that day (so the lullaby goes) the wind brought a scream, and Dissonance was born.
There was a noise.
Moose tensed, their coffee eyes narrowed, their patient brows creased. Bees mauled the tempo, birds lost their place. The grass stood *****, all blades pointing east. There was a crash, and a shriek, and a naked, bleeding beast burst stinking through the fern, fell stumbling on its face.
Moose scattered:  unheard of. Sheep brawled, geese burst out of rhyme. The symphony, forever endeavored to soar sublime, fluttered, plunged, and, for all of a measure, ceased.
The pool was appalled…what manner brute—what kind of monster was this? Furless flank to forelimb, hide obscured by blood. As for its face…it had no face; only a look:  of shock frozen in time, of horror in amber. A deep welling rift ran temple to chin, halving the mask, caving it in. Such a grievous wound…the pool watched it stagger, on two legs and four, thrashing about till it came to a rise. There it labored for air, wiped the blood from its eyes, lashed at illusion, looked wildly round. Beholding the pool, the beast tumbled down.
And there this wretch plunged his thirst, drank his fill, fell back on his haunches.
The pool became still.
The two traded stares.
The glass read his features:  that durable eye pondered the wreckage and probed the debris. Revolted, the pool sought the succor of sky. But that thing remained—that face…in all creation…surely there could be…no other creature so ugly as he.
And he gazed in the glass.
Beneath the surface were…images…swimming in currents of shadow and light. He saw half-shapes and fragments…hideous men, exotic beasts…saw blue worlds of water, saw white worlds of ice…it was all so vague and unreal—yet somehow strangely familiar. Deeper he peered, but, as his mangled face neared, the sun smote the pool and the shapes disappeared. The brute pawed the ground and, dreaming he’d drowned, shook his head sharply and slowly looked round:
There were starlings at arm’s-length, transfixed with suspense, their tail feathers trembling, their dark eyes intense. Fantails and timber wolves, stepping in sync, paused for a sniff, stooped for a drink. Bees, pirouetting, threw light in his eyes. Seizing the moment, the pool pressed its hold.
And the glade revolved.
The freak watched it spin—saw the ferns’ greedy fingers reach round and close in, saw the tall grass rise high in an emerald sheen, swaying to rhythms from somewhere obscene. This place was madness; he struggled to stand, but, weak as he was, keeled over cold.
And the glade heaved a sigh, and the tall grass reclined, in curious patterns once rendered in whim. Far off in thunder the hard world replied, as iced pines exploded and screamed on the breeze. Down bore the sun, a chill just behind. The pool, grown blood-red, fended frost from its rim. Details dissolved in the oncoming tide. The pool dimmed to black. Night seeped through the trees.
Now flora found slumber while, pulsing below, the pool was infused with a soft ruby glow.
Soon birds bearing beech leaves, and needles of pine, laid down a spread and returned to the limb. But breath from the North blew their blanket aside. The wind grew in earnest, the air seemed to freeze.
And the wolf and the she-bear, of contrary mind, abhorring their task approached, looking grim. They sniffed him for measure, then, loathing his hide, growled their displeasure and dropped to their knees.
All night these glum attendants flanked his naked quaking form. The rising moon drew dreams in gray.
In time the man grew warm.

Morning swept through the glade in one broad stroke of the master’s brush, dappling the foliage with amber and rose. The pool was roused by the sweet pass of light. He opened his eye and the glade came alive:  into the whirlpool of life a thousand colors swam, chasing the scattering eddies of night. The magic of morning began.
Bluebird and goldfinch descended in rings, primaries clashing with robin and jay. Dollops of sun, repelled by their wings, spattered anew on the palette of day. Banking as one, the hues struck away.
There was a crowd.
And in this crowd that oddity sat, its chin on its chest, its rear pointing west. Its forepaws lay leaning, upturned and at rest. ***** and blood messed its muzzle and breast. Passed overnight. Or perhaps only dozed…tendril by tendril, claw by claw, the crowd decompressed:  the ring slowly closed.
And the stranger cried out and shifted his seat. His eyes sought his feet—rounding the arches, and topping the toes, the tall grass was questing. The little brute froze.
And the fauna took pause, and the flora went slack. Leaves followed talons, stems followed claws. Hooves tromped on paws as the crowd drifted back.
Not a breath taken. Not a move made. Stillness, like fog, enveloped the glade.
Now the grass tugged his feet, now the sea of jade splayed—left hand and right, the slender shafts reared. Gaining momentum, blade followed blade. The green field was torn till a deep swath appeared. The swath hurtled west, reflecting the sun. A hundred yards distant it died. Once more the grass stood, its tips spreading wide. The swath, born again, repeated its run.
Plain was the message, and clearly conveyed. The newcomer gawked. Confusion ensued.
The tall blades were swayed by the pulse of the glade.
But the swath was not renewed.
Something tiny bounced by. He ventured a peek, barely rolling an eye.
A chocolate sparrow, with pinfeathers black, popped past an ankle and paused to look back. The bird cocked its head, rocked in place, hopped ahead. It fluttered. It freaked. It glared and stopped dead. Vexed to its limit, it burst into flight.
The sitting thing watched till it passed out of sight.
Now a breeze bent his back, picked him half off his stern. The wind, done its best, grew flustered at last. It trailed to the west, thrilling lilies it passed. It wound round the willows and didn’t return.
So the fauna repaired to the live oak’s shade.
A strange kind of stupor fell over the glade.
From deep in the wood came a shape through the trees—a pronghorn, perhaps, or an elk swift and sure. But up limped a moose, a flyport with fur, low in the belly and wide at the knees. Wizened he was, scarcely able to see. Neither vision, nor vigor, nor velvet had he. He hobbled abreast, then groveled or died, his nose facing west, his tail flung aside.
The brute merely glazed.
But the glade was unfazed.
Those long shafts reshuffled. A tense moment passed.
The ominous shadows of badgers were cast. Three left their holes, as if to attack. They pedaled like moles and the stranger jumped back. He stumbled, fell flailing, and, kicking his guide, threw out his arms and tumbled astride. First he stepped on his tail, then he stepped on his pride. The moose bellowed twice and shook side to side while the little pest clung to his high, homely hide.
And the old moose unbent to his knees by degrees. He reeled like a drunk down the path of the breeze. Together they lurched through a break in the trees. And all morning long, and on through the day, both beggar and bearer would buckle and sway. The moose lost his temper, but never his way.
And the wind blew the sun to its deep ruby rest; the scrub, in obeisance, inclined to the west. Their slow taffy shadow in slinking would seem to slip round the rocks like a snake in a dream.
And the sun became a beacon, and the underbrush a stream. The wide Earth took their weight in stride, and the wind named him Hero.

                                               WORLD

When the sun was low the old moose began to stumble, at last limping to a halt beside a swift river lined with stunted pines. He’d half-expected a somewhat graceful dismount, but Hero, dug in like a tick, wasn’t about to let go. The moose knelt until his joints objected, shimmied, bucked, and with a sudden whirl sent the little bother flying.
Hero scraped himself out of the dirt and looked up forlornly. The ancient moose, his good eye gone bad, glared a long minute before hobbling away, his bony **** rocking with dignity, his scraggly tail fighting off imaginary flies.
Hero managed a few steps and dropped, staring in disbelief as the moose disappeared between half-frozen pines. He remained on his knees for the longest time, his jaw hanging, waiting for the moose—waiting for anything to show. At last a ruckus to his left snapped him out of it. His head ratcheted around.
Fifteen feet off the bank, three screaming gulls were dancing on an immense stone outcropping, fighting over a rapids-tossed sockeye. Hero was instantly famished. He wobbled to his feet and stumbled twice wading out, only regaining his balance by leaning against the current while rapidly wheeling his arms. The shrieking gulls reluctantly backed off as he stepped in slow-motion through the rushing water. Hero lunged at the slapping fish, cracked an ankle on the rock, and hopped around howling with both hands holding his shin. One foot was as good as none in the surging water. He went right under. Before he knew it he was being swept downriver.
This was glacial meltwater, so cold he quickly lost all sensation. Hero swallowed a mouthful and surfaced fighting for life; too disoriented to combat the current, too numb to realize his waving arm was striking something solid. That solid something turned out to be a swirling clump of rotted birches tangled up in scrub. He embraced one of these trunks as the mass slammed against isolated rocks, kicked his feet wildly, and somehow hauled himself aboard. The raft ricocheted rock to rock until repeated impacts sent it spinning. Giddy from the whirling and soaking, he clung freezing to the trees, retching continuously while the river roared in his ears. Through spray and tears he made out only cartwheeling fragments of the world.
But then the river was widening, its fury dissipating. The raft was approaching the sea. Hero gasped as the seemingly boundless Pacific swallowed the broad red belly of the sun. And as he spun he was treated to a panoramic, breathtaking spectacle:  the great indigo ocean with its slow traffic of driftwood and ice—voiced-over by the dismal calls of foraging gulls, and broken rhythmically by intermittent glimpses of the river’s rocky banks growing farther and farther apart. Whirling as it went, the dying man’s soul was taken by the sea.

At the 59th Parallel in winter, the Pacific coast plays host to numberless floes and minor bergs orphaned from Alaskan coastal glaciers. Hero cruised into a watery gridlock on a boat of ice-glazed birches, one bit of flotsam among the rest.
The cold wouldn’t let him move, wouldn’t let him breathe, wouldn’t let him think. He lay supine, feet crossed and hands clasped, terrified that to budge was to roll. An ice patina grew over the tangled trees like a white fungus—this growth soon webbed his fingers and toes, speckled his chest and thighs, glazed his hair and face, danced and disintegrated with his breath’s tapering plumes.
Floes and frozen-over debris tended to group with passing collisions; Hero’s married birches bit by bit accrued a mostly-submerged tangle of trunks and branches, all becoming fast in a creeping ice cement. Night came on just as resolutely, until land was only a flat black memory. The raft moved silently over the deep, still accepting the occasional gentle impact. And the floes became thicker and wider in a freezing doldrums; soon the proximate sea was all a broken field of packed ice, bobbing infinitesimally with the planet’s pulse.
Long ghostly strands of fog came striding over the torn ice field. They leaned this way and that, their mourners’ skirts tearing and patching and leaning anew. The ghosts were there to seal it:  their locked fingers and gray diaphanous wings were quickly becoming a wholly opaque descending shroud, its boundaries lost in the soughing wind.
Collisions came less and less. Darkness and silence, breaching some previously impenetrable barrier, began to take up residence in Hero’s chilling marrow. From his very center broke a weak little cry of refusal, of denial, as mind mustered frame in one desperate bid for freedom. His skin, frozen to the raft, peeled right off, and at that his inner brave succumbed. Hero’s smashed head arched back. His face contorted frightfully while the little lamp fluttered and paled within.
A raucous chorus slowly worked its way through the mist. It emerged a few hundred yards off—a tiny, terrified barking, growing in clarity as it grew in volume and urgency. It was a sound beacon. Hero strained eagerly, and when for one excruciating minute the beacon was cut off by a large passing body, was certain death had claimed him. Then it was back, and his heartbeat was quickening. He caught a heaving sound…something was moving his way down a wide tributary between floes. Hero could hear a gasping and snorting, accompanied by a hard slapping and splashing. The sounds vanished. In a moment the raft was rocked from below.
A sputtering muzzle blew salt in his eyes. A cold slimy flipper flapped across his chest and slapped about his face. The fur seal barked directly in his ear. Whiskers raked his dead cheek. The seal barked again.
Back below the surface it slipped. Hero listened anxiously as the splashing sound retreated whence it came.
The seal swam off perhaps a hundred feet and began barking hysterically.
From much farther off came a profusion of answering barks.
The seal swam back to Hero’s raft, circling and calling, circling and calling, while the responders approached en masse.
Now a sallow beam could be seen cutting through the fog. Several more showed vaguely along a plane yawing with some huge, barely discernible object.
A herd of northern fur seals burst into sight, barking madly, beating through the ice. They converged on Hero’s raft, really bellowing now.
Those odd yellow beams came in pursuit, and soon were close enough to eerily illuminate a gigantic wooden vessel parting the ice. The seals barked ferociously. Whenever the vessel leaned away, those nearest Hero’s raft would absolutely howl.
The fog deepened, condensed, crystallized, and then the collective light of a dozen lanterns was playing over a low, listing nightmare. Hero could hear the shouts of many aggressive men, but the waterborne seals, rather than scatter, boarded the ice and redoubled their din, fighting their way onto his quickly mobbed raft.
The sealers hurled serrated spears even as they clambered down rope ladders. When these men reached the ice the seals snapped and gnashed madly, refusing to be dislodged. The sealers lost all composure with the thrill of the hunt:  wielding clubs, spears, and hatchets—sometimes using iron bludgeons or any old utensil handed down—they crushed skulls, dragged carcasses, hooked animals still spurting and bleating. Clinging though he was, Hero was flabbergasted by the way the slipping and scampering men went about their butchery, hacking and smashing more with passion than with precision. But not a single seal attempted to flee—throughout the carnage they barked all the louder, egging on their slayers, carcass by carcass drawing the impassioned sealers to Hero’s ice-locked raft.
It was all so hazy and macabre. Hero’s eyes rolled back, and the next thing he knew he was sitting hunched on the vessel’s sopping deck. Two men were rubbing his limbs while another poured warm water down his back. He looked around in shock. The very notion of a boat containing more than one or two individuals—a sort of floating tribe—was way beyond his ken; so to see it, to have it come looming out of nothingness, was an experience almost supernatural.
He remembered some of those fur-covered men force-feeding him mouthfuls of halibut and seal fat, and he recalled a small group standing around him, shouting words that made no sense at all. After that he had a very vivid memory of their angry little chief repeatedly punching him while hollering one angry little word over and over and over. Hero couldn’t make out his inquisitor’s face, for the large feather-lined hood quite engulfed the man’s head, yet he could see those quick eyes flash as they caught the oil lamps’ light. Finally this man stopped boxing Hero’s ear. He stared hard. In these remaining decades of the tenth century it was fully within his power to administer as he saw fit—he could have ordered Hero’s immediate execution and not a man of his crew would have objected. He hesitated only because there wasn’t a hint of resistance in his prisoner’s pinched and frightened eyes. He leaned forward, studying the wound that all but split Hero’s face in two before grunting, raising his right arm, and yanking down its seal hide sleeve. Attached to the stump of his forearm was a primitive prosthesis consisting of a thick oak cap strapped to the arm with lengths of gut, and, hammered squarely into the center of that cap, a broad, cruelly hooked blade chiseled from a narwhal’s tusk. He held this obscenity in front of Hero’s eyes, traced the face’s deep diagonal rift, and once more demanded his captive’s identity. Hero then vaguely remembered being dragged along a tilting deck and thrown into the ship’s tiny hold. He retained a strong mental image of landing in a place of musty odors and dank projections.
There came a soft scuffling in the darkness, and presently a blind and exceedingly old woman felt her way to his side, mumbling as she approached. Her speech was comprised not of words; it was rather a running gibberish of cooing vowels and clucking consonants. The old woman was as mad as her circumstances; sick with sea and solitude, bedeviled by age and confinement. She sat cross-legged, patting her withered palms up his arm until she came to his face. Her strange mumbling soliloquy rose and fell as her bony fingers daintily explored the newly opened wound. Hero let his head fall back in her lap. A pair of hands like emaciated tarantulas scurried through the filth and tiny bodies until they came upon an old otter’s pelt bag that held her secrets. The woman loosened the bag’s cord and extracted an assortment of herbs, sniffing each in succession. She then scooped a handful of blubber from a bowl made of a previous occupant’s skull, kneaded the selected herbs into the blubber, and commenced gently massaging the wound, clucking and cooing while the black rats watched and waited.
For nine interminable days Hero remained in that cold, stinking compartment, rocking back and forth between life and death. The old woman never gave up on him. She clung to him during his seizures, rubbed his limbs vigorously when his blood pressure fell. She gathered various accumulated skins and, using woven strands of her own long hair, sewed him a multilayered, body-length wraparound with arm sleeves and very deep pockets, working by touch with a needle formed of a cod’s rib. By this same method she was able to fashion a pair of heavily lined snug-fitting moccasins. The old woman made him eat; she masticated the cod and halibut their keepers pitched into the hold, then shoved the results down his throat with a long gnarly forefinger. She called into his screaming nightmares, talking him out of sleep and back into their foul little reality. Together they lowed in the dark, while the keel groaned along and the waves beat time.
At the end of those dark nine days his strength was restored, but not his mind. Once again he was taken on deck.
The vessel had reached a chain of remote wind-swept islands, rocky and treeless, naked except for patchy carpets of hardy grass. These islands stretched far to the west, shrouded in mist. The ship was making for the smallest; just a chip on the sea. When they reached depth for anchorage Hero was hustled into a rowboat and lowered over the side. He looked up, saw two men climbing down by rope. These men positioned themselves at the oars and slowly rowed toward the islet. Seated between them, Hero felt like a man being led to his execution. He snuck a peek. The rowers’ heads were lowered, their features completely obscured by the heavy feathered hoods; they had all the somberness of pallbearers. Not a word passed between them as they rigidly worked their oars:  the only sound was the dip-and-purl of wood in water. Hero looked away. Against his will, he found his eyes drawn to that rocky islet waiting in the fog.
Not a bird, not a sea lion, not a shrub. It was lonesome beyond imagination.
Upon landfall one of the men used a spear’s point to **** Hero ashore. While his companion steadied the boat, he removed a skin sack full of half-frozen halibut, followed by a few armloads of precious tinder. These articles he tossed at Hero’s feet. He resumed his place at the oars and, without looking back, used the blunt end of his spear to shove off.
Hero watched the boat moving away, watched the men climbing their ropes, watched the boat being hauled aboard. As the mysterious vessel receded he saw a number of those silent men standing at the stern, stolidly returning his stare. Their hooded forms grew smaller and smaller, finally becoming indistinct. The vessel was swallowed up in fog.
Hero looked around, at a desolate world of rock and drifting ice. In the sunless pools at his feet a few purplish, flaccid sea anemones were waving in a sickly phosphorescence; along the rocks ran a tattered quilt of wild grass and lichen. It was the end of the world. He began to pace in his anxiety, only to crumple bit by bit inside his furs. At last he just sat with his face in his arms and wept. When he could weep no more he raised his head and opened his red, swollen eyes.
There were gulls all around him, staring like statuary in a madman’s garden. Standing in their midst were auks and puffins and murres, absolutely spellbound, unable to lean away. The silence was broken only by a wild, fitfully pursing wind—a wind that seemed, eerily, on the verge of producing syllables. And on that wind a flock of terns was rising slowly, their beady eyes fixed on the lone sitting man. The terns watched as he trembled, and banked as he swooned.
Then, beating as one, they threw back their wings and blew into the sun.

There was a blaze.
Behind that blaze a pair of black, bug-like eyes met his and immediately withdrew. A man wrapped in caribou hides stood abruptly, drawing angry swarms of sparks.
The Aleut peered queerly into the icy Pacific, his craggy profile merging seamlessly with a jumble of rocks showing just beyond his shoulder. The man was very tall, closer to seven feet than to six, and thin almost to emaciation.
He was also a mute. Soon enough he would display a talent for communication through gutturals, but now his body language spoke louder than words. It told the shivering stranger that he was not only disliked—he was feared.
The islander removed the hides he’d piled on the sleeping man. He produced a bone awl and strategically pierced a caribou hide, draped the hide over the old woman’s handiwork, and ran a cord of tightly woven tendons crosswise through his made holes, knotting it at the bottom to create a kind of cloak. He then killed the fire, heaped wood, fish, and remaining hides into Hero’s arms, and led him to a tiny cove where his long skin canoe lay in the grass. This was not the one-man kayak used by his people for centuries, but an actual canoe modeled on the graceful vessels he’d observed under the control of northern coastal tribesmen. After dragging it into the water he perched Hero in the fore, placed the cargo in the middle, and stepped into the rear like a gaunt furry spider. The Aleut dug out a paddle and began pulling with smooth strokes of surprising muscularity, his black eyes trained on his quiet companion’s back.
So began their long island-hopping journey. They stepped the chain one stone at a time, living off the sea. But much as the islander disliked Hero’s vapid company, it was not in his nature to proceed expeditiously; his people, remote as they were, had learned to count not in days but in generations. Given this, the Aleut took his time. He showed Hero how to build shelters of skin and gut; during bad weather the two would sit on an island in utter silence while rain hammered on their stretched seal-intestine window. And one very clear night he pointed out constellations while attempting to demonstrate, using broad gestures, just how the brighter heavenly bodies were in perfect alignment with the Aleutians. Hero followed his guide’s gestures as a pet follows its master’s movements and, like a pet, soon became bored. The Aleut did not grow flustered. He grew ever more wary:  behind that granite, weather-beaten exterior squirmed a very primitive imagination. Superstitious as he was, the Aleut was almost certain Hero could read his mind. So one time, and one time only, he threw a searing look at the back of Hero’s bowed and listing head. After a long minute of vigorous thought-projection he shifted his gaze aside. The brute appeared to feel this shift, and gently turned his head. And both saw the ocean break rhythm, and watched as otters and sea lions surfaced, noted their progress, and slipped without tremor beneath the waves.
In spring the fogs lifted. The grimness gave way to serenity, a generous sun buttered the dappled sea. On the islands grass grew lushly. Wildflowers leapt on the color-starved eye.
And one day the islander’s nape itched. He turned to see a flock of arctic terns casually tracking them under a gorgeous, white-plumed sky. As the day progressed the terns came drifting high overhead, slowly but surely taking the lead.
The Aleut squinted against the sun. He’d never known these birds to pursue a westerly migratory pattern—the terns were distributing themselves into a rough wedge shape, much like geese on the wing.
For a while he let the flock be his guide. Then, to test his stars, he cunningly steered his canoe north. At once the wedge disintegrated. Not until he’d lowered his eyes and pulled purposefully to the west did the disrupted pattern reassert itself. He peered up timidly. The wedge was now in the shape of a perfect arrowhead.
Just so were the fates of mariners and aviators inextricably entwined. At night, once the Aleut had landed his canoe on the nearest pearl, the terns would light in a quiet circle and remain until sunrise. As the Aleut and Hero took to sea, the flock would quickly form that same authoritative pattern.
In time the Aleut paddled his companion clear to the westernmost islands of the Aleutian chain. His people had dwelt, even here, a thousand years and more, but no contemporary islander knew for certain what lay beyond. Legend told of an enormous land mass forever gripped by cold, where a cruel people waylaid innocent seafarers for barbaric sacrificial rites.
So here the islander paused. But even as he vacillated he noticed the terns were veering south.
If the Aleut had been able to curse aloud he would have been vociferous. He was being compelled to follow an even less desirable course—that of the unknown open ocean. Now he looked upon his passenger’s hunched back not with fear but with loathing. He took a deep breath, rolled his shoulders, and defiantly continued west. The wedge broke up immediately. The terns dive-bombed the canoe, whirled around the windmilling Aleut, tore skyward and hovered determinedly. Something huge broke surface behind them, but the Aleut was way too frayed to turn. He dropped his head, a beaten man, and began paddling south. Little by little the birds returned to formation.
The tiny canoe had no business going up against the mighty Pacific. It would soon have been swallowed and smashed, had not the terns veered in close formation whenever the distant sea appeared too rough. Once he’d lost his bearings the Aleut religiously followed their serpentine course.
The days began to warm.
Now the sea’s bounty all but leapt in the canoe.
It seemed the Aleut was forever catching the finest currents, practically sliding down a corridor entirely free of peril. In this manner he was able to safely navigate waters no such craft had mastered before.
They were proceeding south by southwest, awed children of a plenteous, generous sea. The going became easier by the day, the ocean heavier with cod.
Nights the Aleut drifted comfortably, but a lifetime of wariness made him wake off and on. He’d slowly rise to find Hero sitting quietly under the stars, and soon he’d see, pallid in moonlight, a large body neatly pleating the ocean’s surface. The shape would precede them a while, only to vanish without a ripple.
All this strangeness kept the Aleut’s heart in a whirl, though he took pains to maintain his poise.
To allay his fear he kept a flat black stone planted squarely between them. It was his oldest treasure; an oddity he’d taken off the body of a mauled Tlingit woman when he was a child. Who she was, and how she’d come by the stone, were mysteries far beyond him, for no such piece had ever been known to Aleut or Inuk.
The stone was smooth and had been worked perfectly round. Bright yellow specks were scattered about its dull black face.
Long ago someone had etched a quaint and clumsy rune on that flat black surface—it was the crude, universal symbol for sun:  a broad circle surrounded by several rays. When the stone was rubbed against a pelt it possessed the curious property of growing quite warm and bright in the rune’s grooves, while the surface remained cool and dull.
This stone, both friend and overlord, had always “spoken to him”. It caused him to become restless when it was time to move on, and allowed him to relax when a destination had been reached. In this way he’d come to the familiar islet and discovered the unconscious little man. Just so:  the stone, he was sure, was responsible for making him “feel bad” as he watched the stranger shiver, and “feel better” once he’d built him a life-saving fire from the small pile of tinder he’d found nearby.
By now, however, the Aleut was wholly disenchanted with his stone, and deeply regretted having done its mysterious bidding. Never before had he been so long from sight of land, and never before had he felt so very, very small. The unimagined immensity of the Pacific was really starting to get to him when, after all their while at sea, a gray, seductive haze broke the horizon. They had reached another chain of islands, an Asian chain, the dark and smoky Kurils. Here a cold current kept the climate cool and foggy, and the chill, along with the prevalence of otter and seal, made him feel almost at home.
But this place gave him the creeps; he was a stranger, a trespasser somewhere sacred. There was a looming quality to the island mountains that made him extraordinarily aware of his transience, his pettiness, his puniness. He grew more and more cautious, sure their progress was being monitored—he could have sworn he saw wraiths in the trees, and wolves padding warily in the brush. The big islands looked on breathlessly. All along the rocky cliffs, thousands of auks and puffins followed the canoe in dead silence, their heads turning simultaneously, their countless tiny eyes peering redly through the fog. As the weeks passed, the Aleut’s anxiety was manifested in tics and sighs, and he’d cringe each time the crimson sun sank behind those black volcanic summits. In his imagination the mountains would rise right out of the sea, as though to pluck him. But the islands, in all their dignity, would always refuse to acknowledge so meek a stranger, and return their eyes to sea. The Aleut would hang his head, and timidly paddle by.
Then for days and days he pulled his weary canoe west—through a strait parting two mighty islands not part of the chain, and thence across a sea that was a warm, enticing bath. Spring had come to the East Asian coastal waters, and the Ainu, alone and in groups, were venturing deeper in search of increasing bounty. The Aleut, absorbed in his thoughts of sweet climate and bitter fate, was unaware they’d been spotted.
This first meeting between strangers of different worlds was a brief and awkward one. A lone Ainu fisherman, seeing the Aleut come paddling out of the unknown, dropped his net and turned to stone. The Aleut, for his part, instinctively froze with his body turned half-away to make the leanest target possible. Their stares locked. Never had the Aleut seen a face so heavily bearded, and never hair so fair. The Ainu began banging on his bronze catch pail. Other fishers soon appeared from the north and south, effectively cutting off the canoe. The Aleut caressed his stone and looked to the sky. The wedge had vanished. He put down his head and paddled for all he was worth.
With the word out, uncountable fishing craft appeared out of the blue and broke into hot pursuit, their pilots determined to force the canoe ashore.
Suddenly they were in sight of land, and the sea was absolutely riddled with watercraft. A train of small boats cast off from the mainland, even as a posse of two-man coracle-like tubs began to surround the battered skin canoe, their inhabitants calling back and forth in astonishment at the sight of these dark, savage newcomers. But the pursuing little coastal men, banging excitedly on the sides of their boats, were not Ainu. They had very straight black hair, prominent cheekbones, and strangely slanted eyes. And their speech, oddly marvelous as it was, was a rapid series of coos, chirps, and barks. Their boats formed a tight semi-circle around the canoe, forcing the Aleut to approach the mainland. The little men banged their boats maniacally, with more joining in as the canoe neared shore.
A bit farther south was a natural harbor swarming with fishing vessels of every description. As the canoe was forced into this harbor, people along the rocky coast began banging whatever they could get their hands on, until the air was filled with their lunatic percussion.
Tiny brown men came running along a soft yellow cliff overlooking the harbor, gesturing wildly. The canoe was squeezed between a chain of tubs and the shore, and, as it slowed, the tempo and ferocity of the banging decreased accordingly. When the canoe came to a halt the banging and shouting stopped. Hero creaked to his feet. The first North American to set foot on Asian soil stepped out shakily.
There followed the profoundest silence imaginable.
A second later it was as if a dam had burst.
Hundreds of hysterical, yammering voices erupted from hundreds of hysterical, clinging men and women. Hero was spun around, jostled about, handed along. He stared into their astounded, pinched little faces, and the sun, pulsing between their heads as he was turned, repeatedly stabbed his eyes. There came an excited outburst and frantic splashing which could only have been the Aleut’s violent demise, and then Hero was somehow limping alongside a primitive fishing village, blindly following a narrow dirt path that hugged the yellow cliff’s base. The warm spring sun caught the dust as he shambled. He rounded a bend and stopped.
Half a dozen children stood in his way, too fascinated to run. A chatter and scuffle rose behind him. He looked back to see that he was now in the midst of a small crowd of these children, and that more were running up with cries of amazement.
A stone struck his shoulder. As Hero turned another glanced off his chest.
A moment later he was being pelted from all sides, and the giggles and gasps had become something wildly unreal. He dropped to his knees in a hail of hurled rocks, covered his head with his arms, and slithered up the path on his belly.
A new voice broke in; an older, authoritative voice.
The children scampered off squealing.
Hero, shaken to his feet, found himself face to face with a diminutive, shouting, incomprehensible old man. The old man threw his arm around Hero’s waist and, jabbering all the while, led him to a secondary path cut into the cliff’s face. This path sloped gently upward over the waves. Together they picked their way to a place maybe halfway up, where the cliff’s face was honeycombed with natural alcoves and dug-out caves. Most of these spaces were used as one-man shelters; a few, cut deeper in the earth, as family hives. Strange gabbing people slid out of these holes like worms, reaching, but the little old man, who was evidently a little old man of some stature, embraced his find possessively and shouted them back inside.
The path narrowed as they climbed.
At its summit spread the upscale end of the neighborhood. Hero was led to a hovel nestled amid dozens of similar hovels, all scattered around a dainty stream wending between patches of stunted vegetation.
The old man’s place was basically a one-room hut fashioned of earth and salvaged boat hulls, with a slender side-yard surrounded by dry, dusty hedges. But inside it was clean and tidy, with rice paper partitioning and, built into the far earthen wall, a miniature stone fireplace. The old man sat his guest in the exact center of the room. There he fed him scraps from his bowl, using long sticks to pluck out bits of fish and clumps of tiny, starchy white pellets.
He studied the brute closely, watched him chew, walked round and round him. He poked here. He pinched there.
And that night he lit a fire on his crushed-shell hearth.
Hero curled up on a mat where the gossip of flames could reach him. Nearby, at his delicate wicker table, the old man sat in semi-darkness, illuminated only from the waist down.
But his eyes were alive. They spat and darted as they reflected the fire’s light, and, when at last they’d begun to sputter, his scratchy little voice came pattering out of the dark, muttering something vile and oddly modulated, sometimes in a whisper, sometimes in a gathering snarl.
Hero feigned slumber, unable to ignore those paired ominous flashes. Still, the room was cozy, and the fire warm, and the play of light and shadow kicked sleep in his eyes.

In the morning he woke in the old man’s side-yard, his head pounding, a rusty iron clamp securely fastened around his neck. This clamp was attached to the outermost link of a crude three-foot chain, and the link at the other end to a long stake driven into eight inches of solid rock. The chain and stake, like the clamp, were hammered of local iron. The clamp was too tight for comfortable swallowing, the chain too short to make standing possible. Hero could, however, spread out on his chest and stretch an arm to a low row of hedges. By parting the tangled undergrowth he had a limited view of the fishing village below, and of the harbor beyond. As the days passed he was able to tweak himself a view-space discernible only from his peculiar vantage. He accomplished this by gently breaking small branches strategically, then guiding their interrupted growth with the utmost tenderness. It was his secret garden.
He had no memory—none whatsoever—of being staked here. Obviously the old man hadn’t set this up overnight. Hero’s mind prodded timidly…how many others had been chained to this spot, and why?
But over the subsequent weeks and months he went beyond caring. Each day was the same:  just after dawn the old man would storm into the tiny side-yard swinging his reed whip wildly. The lashings were savage and unremitting. The old man, except for his eyes, would be mute. Only his whip need speak. And the snap of his reed had but one message:  when you see this whip you go down, and you go down immediately.
The naked savage, scarred head to foot, learned to go prostrate on the moment. Even so, the old man couldn’t resist the temptation to indulge in the occasional good old, all-out thrashing. And after each session he would toss the prisoner a vile mess of dead fish and rotting leftovers.
Hero lived like this for many months, lost in a confused world of pain and anticipation. Perversely, he came to look forward to the bite of that whip, for, whether he flogged him in passion or just for sport, the old man was always sure to make it personal. It seemed their relationship might go on forever.
But one day there was a great commotion in the sleepy little fishing village. Hero parted the leaves and beheld a small train of oblong coaches at rest near the harbor. Large oxen yoked in pairs lolled between the carriages, immune to the clamor around them. There were dark shaggy horses and colorfully dressed Bactrian camels. The horses and camels were tethered in the rear, but were occasionally paraded around the carriages by little men wielding long painted bamboo poles. The whole affair was exotic and mesmerizing, eccentric and profane. Hero watched all day in amazement, infected by the hubbub, though he was totally mystified by the crowd’s fascination on the carriages’ far side.
And late that afternoon he saw the old man come walking out of that crowd, talking heatedly with another man. The stranger was shorter and broader than the old man, with long stringy hair and long stringy mustaches. He saw them climbing the path, saw them crawl inside a hole lashing furiously. They were lost from view for a minute, then popped up big as life. Hero glowed and curled up eagerly as they approached.
The old man and stranger came into the narrow side-yard still arguing. The old man grabbed Hero by the hair and twisted until he was facing the newcomer.
The stranger had oily, porous skin, and a round but grave countenance. His highly slanted eyes were bright and restless. He studied Hero’s mutilated face with keen interest before borrowing the old man’s reed. When Hero scraped at his feet he grunted and returned the reed.
The stranger pulled out something shiny and hefted it in his hand. He then raised his other hand while considering Hero, as though weighing him too. The old man’s eyes glinted, and for an instant his expression became grotesquely servile. The stranger and old man, facing, nodded curtly in unison. The stranger dropped the shiny thing onto the old man’s itching palm. The old man whipped Hero frantically before taking a small ax to the chain. A few hard blows split a link, the broken link was bent back by the tool’s shaft, and the prisoner was at last released.
The old man handed the stranger a short hempen rope. The stranger bowed deeply. He then tied an end of the rope through one of the remaining links and began dragging Hero along. Hero’s hands sought the old man, who kicked and cursed him all the way to the path. The three stumbled single-file to the bottom. The old man waved his arms and shouted hysterically, trotting behind until he ran out of breath. But he got in a final kick and, before he came to a gasping halt, managed to lash Hero once for old time’s sake, and to spit on him twice for luck.

There were five carriages; a long one in the center hitched to four oxen, and two smaller coaches in the front and rear with a pair of oxen on each. The carriages were old and battered, built of splitting wood slats and rusted iron braces. Various hides, spare wheels, and a hundred odds and ends were tied to the sides and roofs. Hero’s new master, using him as a ram, shoved him through the crowd to the long carriage. He hauled him up the single wood step and watched the crowd’s reaction. Children hid behind mothers, mothers hissed and jeered, men spat in that smashed, disgusting face.
Satisfied, Hero’s master twisted the rope tighter and dragged him through the hide flap that served as the carriage’s rear wall.
A strange ruckus began at their entrance.
Inside the carriage were bulky shapes and quirky movements, yet the immediate and overwhelming impression was one of unbelievable stench. Hero, instantly covered with flies, was kicked and shoved down a foot-wide aisle. The carriage’s walls were riddled with black flecks of old dried blood, the floor coated with standing *****, a variety of small carcasses, and some clinging, indefinable slime. But the living contents of this hell were so horrifying, and so unexpected, that Hero at once dropped to his knees. Observing this, master grabbed a whip off the wall and lashed him along the floor.
A number of bamboo cages lined either side of the carriage, each four feet high, four feet wide, and three feet deep. In the first cage to their left, a quadruple amputee dangled in a leather harness in a cloud of flies, jealously gnawing a chicken carcass balanced on his belly. The second cage held a man who had been burned over ninety per cent of his body, and the third a middle-aged woman with no eyes or tongue, her head shaved. The next cage housed a fully grown black leopard, its bright eyes fixed on the horrified newcomer. Then an empty cage, and finally a cage containing a demented man whose long yellow nails were busily raking a face deeply scarred and bleeding.
The first cage against the opposite wall held two girls rolling in their own excrement. Siamese twins unable to part, they had developed a unique method of locomotion, and now executed a three-quarters cartwheel in Hero’s direction, their mangled, severely bitten hands attempting to reach him through the bars. In the cage next to theirs a naked dwarf glowered menacingly, his eyes following coldly as Hero’s master shoved him down the narrow aisle, occasionally pausing to lash a cage. The hissing and howling increased as each prisoner beheld the new neighbor.
The third cage held an intensely sick adult Bornean sun bear, so confined it was entirely unable to move. Its hide was a patchwork of scraggly fur and grayish skin, glistening with odd eruptions. It rolled its sunken eyes in Hero’s direction, its muzzle twitching feebly.
The next cage contained a man who was frightfully diseased. Broad fungal patches covered his face and limbs, terminating in waxy folds that dangled like a rooster’s wattles. Welling sores spotted his chest and back. His eyes were bugged and sallow; his lower lip drooped below his chin. He barked wetly at Hero’s passing legs.
The second-to-last cage housed a rare, completely hairless Chinese albino, and the last cage a very tall, skeletal woman. The albino snapped at Hero while repeatedly banging his head against the cage. The woman hissed and coiled like a snake, her spine arching amazingly.
Master hauled Hero to the empty cage on his left, swung its door open with his foot, and forced him to his knees by pushing down with all his weight. He kicked and punched until Hero had been squeezed inside, then shut and secured the wide bamboo door.
Master inched his way back down the carriage, hammering the **** of his whip on each cage as he passed. There was a glimpse of daylight as he lifted the flap.
Once he’d departed, the carriage grew eerily silent.
Hero cautiously turned his head. Less than a foot away, the black leopard was frozen in place, one paw waving hypnotically in his face. The beast’s fangs were bared, its ears straight back, its eyes glistening. Hero turned ever so slowly, until he was looking into the eyes of the demented man in the final cage. The man cocked his head quizzically. A second later he was screaming his lungs out in a bizarre downward spiral.
At once the carriage erupted. The freaks shrieked and scrabbled, the leopard spun in place. Directly across the aisle, the albino hurled himself against the bars of his cage. He batted his face with his fists, threw back his head, and just howled and howled and howled. The snake woman curled even tighter, her long scrawny legs entwined behind her head.
Hero sat with breath held, absolutely silent, absolutely motionless. He very, very slowly closed his eyes.

Later that night the flap was flung high. The menagerie came alive as master, weirdly illuminated by moonlight, slowly made his way down the aisle carrying a skin sack oozing blood. He stopped at each cage to toss in a dying chicken and a handful of smelt.
When he reached Hero’s cage he looked down thoughtfully.
He extracted a quivering chicken and held it above the cage so that blood dripped on the brute’s deeply pleated forehead. Hero lowered his eyes. Master’s face darkened. He smashed the bird against the cage, over and over, a vein throbbing in his temple. Finally he hissed and displayed the limp chicken high over the albino’s head. The albino yelped and kicked, thrusting his hand up between the bars and jerking it back to lick away the blood rolling down his forearm.
Master eyed Hero coldly before pointedly dropping the chicken into the albino’s searching hands.
Master hissed again. He slowly made his way out.
Soon there was a commotion outside. The carriage rocked a bit before settling. Hero, turning in his cage to peek through a rift in the wood, saw horses being urged forward. He could hear men shouting. The carriage rocked again. He looked up and saw the gibbous moon suspended in mist. For just a second something wedge-shaped cut across its soft white face.
But then the oxen were grunting, the wheels had been freed, and the horses drawn abreast. Master’s lash spat left and right, and the show proceeded…west.

                                              MA­STER

She was very round and very small, with very short, very shaggy black hair. Her arms bore the scars of numerous bites from beast and man, and around her neck ran long wheals from a particularly savage owner. Hero, having spent the better part of the morning watching master storm in and out of a strange screaming house, now watched him drag the little round woman through the dirt. For a while he listened to the song of his master’s lash, waiting for the woman to break. But there was never a whimper.
It had been a difficult transaction for master, and an altogether difficult morning. For hours he’d paced up and down the main carriage, alternately murmuring affectionately into, and lashing at, each cage he visited. The sun bear, long dead and stuffed, had been taken outside for barter. It had soon been returned.
Master had lingered over Hero’s cage for a good while, staring critically. He’d begun shouting, and three of his men had burst in through the flap, unlatched the demented man’s cage, and dragged him out by the feet for trade, master personally stomping on his torn and groping hands.
And now master was kicking and shoving the little woman down the aisle as his men restrained her by the hair and throat. Upon master’s command these men stripped her naked and commenced pinching and slapping while making threatening faces and mocking noises. The freaks sat right up in their cages.
The woman looked as though she’d fainted:  her arms were lax, her eyes rolled up. Her whole face seemed to purse, and her body, head to toe, began to run blue. Her fingers quivered, arched, and clawed—the woman was self-asphyxiating. Master fairly leaped with delight while the cages rocked around him. He had the men slap her awake. Once she was fully conscious they stuffed her into the demented man’s old cage next to Hero’s.
Master then looked in eagerly, one to the other, his hands balled into fists. The woman buried her odd round face in her forearms as she squeezed herself into her cage’s deepest corner. Hero gazed indifferently and went back to his peephole.
Master exploded. He smacked and kicked the cages over and over, swore up and down, ran the shaft of his whip back and forth against the heavy bamboo bars. Eventually he calmed somewhat. He stared coldly at Hero, made a ***** smile, and spat right in his eyes. A tense minute passed. Master slowly made his way outside.
Hero automatically relaxed. Across the aisle the albino ****** his face between his cage’s bars to sniff the newcomer. The leopard, bobbing rhythmically, emitted a high-pitched squeal that gradually descended to a steadily throbbing growl.
Hero looked the stranger over. Once she’d lowered her hands he saw that her eyes were crossed, her jaw slack, her face as round as the full moon. He looked closer. There were scars all over her throat and arms:  plainly, the small round woman had been treated very badly. Hero instinctively slid a foot between the bars; the woman cried out and scrunched even deeper. Across the aisle the albino quickly extended an arm. Without knowing why, Hero turned on him. The albino flinched, his eyes tearing into Hero’s. A second later he was stamping his feet and grinning wildly. Hero went back to his peephole.
Next morning master and two of his men dismantled the bamboo walls separating Hero’s and the woman’s cages. They bound the frames with broad leather bands, making a single cage of the two.
A common door was fashioned and secured. Master used his broad blade to shear away Hero’s rags. The men hunched around the long cage expectantly.
The naked couple backed away. Master was instantly exasperated—he shouted, lashed furiously, stamped and screamed, jabbed a broken shaft between the bars with malevolent intent, whirled and hurled the shaft at nothing. The carriage’s inmates went out of their minds. At master’s bellowed command a man scurried outside, returning with a long rope of woven leather strands. Master opened the cage and, applying all his weight, pinned Hero and his new mate in an awkward embrace while his men tied them together.
Again master and his men bent over the long cage to watch.
When Hero realized his predicament he made a desperate attempt to reach his peephole.
The men, misreading his struggles, babbled and cheered, but master threw up his hands. He then, through gesture, ordered his men to drape a number of hides over the long cage. Once these hides were in place he very quietly bent to one knee and placed an ear against the cage. After a while he cursed and rose to his feet. He shook the cage and stormed out, whipping and kicking the howling inmates.
In the semi-darkness the man and woman quit fighting their bonds.
A muffled patter began on the hide-covered roof.
Rain, as always, had a calming effect on the carriage’s occupants, causing the freaks and beasts to slip, one by one, into lethargy or slumber. Under such a spell, the attainment of master’s goal was inevitable.
It was a coupling both innocent and vile, without passion or celebration. Occasionally the freaks would surface, register their excitement by shrieking, shaking their cages, or otherwise clamoring…but very quickly the air would stifle them, weighing their heads and confusing their impulses. The atmosphere grew heavier by the minute. And, when night rolled over the carriages, the rain came down in sheets.

Leaning ******* the woman’s cage, master slipped his gnarly hand between the bars and slowly rubbed her belly in a counter-clockwise motion, his sinister features soft in the candle’s light. And he told, in nonsensical cooing whispers, of a lovingly secure and impossibly prosperous future.
How large and promising that belly had become! And how wise was he, the cunning and aggressive master, in his far-reaching business decisions. He turned his affection to the motionless gaping brute; stroked the battlefield of its face, tossed in another lizard. Master rubbed his palms together. From now on it was extra lizards daily, for both the woman and her mate. He remarked, with only passing interest, his star player’s continuing indifference. They didn’t know each other, didn’t need each other.
There’d been months of shows on the road now, broken only recently by this sensible rejoining of the mates at conception.
Hero’s horrible disfigurement was unquestionably top draw; he was a guaranteed crowd pleaser at every stop. So now master looked him straight in the eyes and smiled. He held the reeking candle high. The carriage was absolutely silent. Master smiled again, rose to his feet, tiptoed away.
Hero watched him retreat until the flap had fallen. He returned to his peephole, saw master round the rear of the carriage and slowly crunch by. For a time he could see nothing but the half-shapes of junipers bathed in starlight. There was a tentative movement to his right and a large shape came to obstruct his view.
The horse stood for a minute in profile. It slowly brought its head to rest against the carriage, applying its eye to the peephole. Hero froze. The two remained fixed, eyeball to eyeball, while a breeze played odd tunes on the outer wall’s hanging paraphernalia. The horse’s big dark eye rolled nervously. A long moment passed. Slowly the horse backed off. It stood uncertainly for a while, staring at the peephole. Then it quietly moved away.

Master kicked the cages one by one, left hand and right, as he slowly made his way down the aisle. Into each cage he delivered a personalized warning in passing—a growl, a hiss, a bark—but he was quickly losing control. Animal electricity hopscotched the carriage, cage to cage, ceiling to floor, front to rear and back again. Master froze. Much more of this excitement, he feared, could seriously agitate the woman—with grave consequences for master.
She was splayed on her back, in labor’s throes, her ankles and wrists bound to the long cage. Hero had been removed to give her room, and now sat hunched atop the snake woman’s cage, two men holding him by the throat and legs.
Master gnashed and snarled, listening to the woman scream, watching her stupid round head bounce up and down and back and forth. He knew it! He’d been suckered, hoodwinked, scammed—ripped off like a common rube. The woman was too ******* to handle even something as natural as childbirth. Still…it was too late to second-guess himself—all these months he’d been patient—he’d been supportive and vigilant and now he would not be denied. He flogged one of the men to alleviate his tension.
The blue lady was very slowly, very dramatically arching her spine. Master wiped the sweat from his eyes. When the bars were pleating her big round belly, her shoulders began drumming on the straw-strewn floor.
Master screamed one very colorful expletive.
A razor silence came over the carriage. Not a body moved or breathed.
At last two men tiptoed around their purpling master and leaned into the cage. One obediently ****** a foot between the bars. He pushed ******* her right knee while using a hand to grip the left knee, spreading her legs wide. The other man drew a broad leather strap between her teeth. After lifting the woman’s head he pulled the strap behind her neck, knotted it to make a gag, and yanked a skin sack over her face. He looked up anxiously. Master licked his lips and nodded. The man made a fist and frantically punched the woman’s face until her muffled screams ceased. She moaned gently throughout her contractions.
Master genuflected, brought a spitting candle in tight, and took a deep breath. As he raised his hand the candle’s light bounced off his knife’s chipped and scored eleven-inch blade. Master swore and reached down carefully. He flicked his wrist twice and the menagerie went mad.

The child was a tremendous disappointment.
Master had eagerly anticipated an infant ******* and deformed; something embracing the best qualities of its parents. He had even designed a special cage that could be expanded by degrees as the spawn developed. There also remained the tantalizing option of a family display, though such an undertaking would require the eventual construction of a structure even larger than the cage its parents now shared. Master anguished over the logistics, knowing it would break his heart to have to cut one of his jewels’ throats just to make room for a growing child. Nights he would slowly pace the carriage with all the possessiveness of a jealous suitor, one hand maneuvering a sputtering candle, the other tenderly rapping his whip’s **** against each visited cage.
But the boy was a flawless specimen; a beautiful, undemanding baby. From the moment master angrily tossed the placenta he felt cheated, even betrayed. He grimaced as it peaceably took to its mother’s breast, despite the surrounding horrors. Master hated it, immediately and entirely. The ****** thing was so docile it was almost charming. He drew his knife and was just reaching down, when an overwhelming sense of dread shook him like a rat in the jaws of a mastiff. Sweat poured down his squat, pig-tailed nape. He knew he would live to regret it, but decided to not cut the child’s throat right away. It was the oddest feeling. His knife hand had trembled for the first time in his life, and he had found himself momentarily contemplating right and wrong at the outset of a perfectly simple and commonplace procedure. That was it, then. His business instincts were letting him know there was a good, albeit unknowable, reason to let the sweet baby live. Master left the carriage anxiously, muttering in his ambivalence.
The boy grew to embody his worst expectations. Not only was it a poorly oriented child, clinging to its father rather than its master almost from the moment of weaning, but it soon proved a lousy draw with the patrons. Those who paid to view the child dangling in its special cage inevitably departed unsatisfied, some vocalizing, strangely, an acute sense of shame. So once again master entered the carriage with his knife hand steady, and once again he exited trembling, his heart in his throat and his soul in a whirl. He whipped the dwarf savagely before leaving. What place conscience in the mind of a businessman?
Soon as the boy could walk, master put him to work fetching and feeding. But the brat was slothful in his chores, preferring to hang around his family’s cage while staring wistfully at his father. For their part, the parents were wholly disinterested. Master would fume while Hero gazed for hours out his peephole—even as the mother lolled, perpetually ill. Sometimes that accursed woman’s condition riled poor master to no end. She could teeter at death’s door for months at a time, her body changing hues to the fascination of customers, only to bounce back with a hardiness that was of interest to no one. But at the peak of her performances the blue lady could really hold a crowd. Master produced an entire outdoors extravaganza around her:  within concentric rings of raging torches his men would slowly strip her naked before wild audiences, then allow the dwarf and albino to take her while the leopard strained against a gaily festooned chain. Master circulated his crew through the crowds to encourage his patrons’ cult-like behavior of breath-holding and fainting. No getting around it:  the customers were crazy about her—village to village, master’s Bactrian vanguard’s colorful robes shouted her approaching fame. And Hero’s popularity continued to soar. Many were the nights when master, pacing the perimeter, wondered just what devilry could have produced the lovely boy.
Overall, Hero remained his master’s favorite conceit and hottest property. Part of the little brute’s appeal was, of course, his exoticness. And certainly the ugliness arising from his deformity was compelling…but there was a detachedness about him that fascinated every soul with a fistful of copper cash coins. Whether they ****** him, cudgeled him, or spat in his face, he remained unflappable, staring only at the aching sky. Though many would leave uneasy, master noted with deep satisfaction that they almost invariably returned.
The boy soon evinced an amazing affinity for animals. No matter how agitated an ox or horse became, the child could pacify it with one hand on a lowered brow. This was a source of endless fascination for the crew. Wagers were made. The boy was pitted against oxen whipped to a frenzy. But they would not harm him; they would rather go prostrate and take the lash. Master tried to work this knack into a viable act, but his patrons just weren’t buying. They wanted freaks.
When the lad was a mere five years old, master had him trained in the peripheral art of the pickpocket. The boy worked well alone, and had all the makings of a fine little flimflam artist. Master sighed, his chronic nightmares a thing of the past. As ever, his business instincts were guiding him well.
Then late one afternoon he found the boy squatting outside his parents’ cage. The boy had done the unthinkable:  he had deposited his day’s pickings at the feet of his father instead of bringing the ***** to master. Master flew into a rage and raised his whip to give the little traitor the lashing he deserved. But before he could deliver a single stroke his other hand shot to his chest and he staggered back against the albino’s cage. He blinked down at the boy, who regarded him steadily while scooping the plunder into a little pile.
From that day on the boy placed whatever he could get his hands on at his father’s feet. As time passed he became ever more adroit at thievery, growing into a youngster both admired and despised by master and his crew; admired because theft was a cinch for him, despised because they were all that much lighter in their possessions.
Now, for eleven long years the strange little train had bounced along, sometimes camping outside villages for months, occasionally pausing on connecting roads. The show traversed the heart of Manchuria, skirted the Gobi in the north, and so eventually crossed almost the entire width of Mongolia before proceeding north to the confluence of the rivers Yenisey and Ob’. Much silver and copper had come to master’s coffer, much fame to his name, but he now sat looking over a vast, unmapped Siberian wilderness. The mostly nomadic characters they’d been encountering spoke in tongues unfamiliar even to his personal valet-translator-accountant, and the tone of these nomads had been unmistakably hostile.
Master huddled surlily under a canopy of sopping hides. Night was falling hard during a merciless rain, the wind was picking up, and his supplies coach was bogged in a growing sea of mud. At that moment he accepted the whole end-of-the-line concept, and knew he wasn’t going anywhere but back. And when he got back he was going to shine! He jumped from the coach.
The earth took his weight for a heartbeat—and he was up to his chin in muck, splashing about on his hands and knees, sliding forward on his palms and toes. He did a belly flop into a rain-filled depression and churned to his feet with the devil in his eyes. Wallowing in mud and bile, master stomped to the supplies coach and kicked wildly at the stuck rear wheels.
Somewhere between kicks he lost it completely.
Master broke for his whip. One minute he was blindly lashing his men, the next he’d succumbed to a mindless ferocity. He thrashed about like a berserker; whipping the beasts, the coach, the very night. His men were scarcely able to move in all that mud, but their dread of his savagery kept them hopping. They gathered as one and shoved the coach recklessly; slipping, splashing, shouting. A minute later, three lay splayed underfoot, but the mired wheel had been freed.
Throughout all this the oxen had swayed nervously, while the horses softly tramped their hooves in place. Master had his men turn the oxen about until the rickety train was pointing dead east. He checked the hitches and personally applied the lash. The oxen didn’t budge. Master swore and wiped the rain from his eyes. He had the horses hitched ahead of the oxen, but they were even less obliging. Master flew into a spectacular rage. His men, fearing for their lives, ran liberally with the lash.
The swaying of oxen picked up until the entire train of carriages was rocking. Yet the oxen could not, would not be compelled, under any amount of prodding, to take an eastward step. Master looked around in exasperation.
The night had gone insane.
Horses were fighting hitches, oxen walking on fire.
Master cursed the rain and mud and lashed all the harder. His men, seeking to please, whipped maniacally until the horses and both lead oxen broke their hitches and bolted west. The men immediately embraced the rear oxen, but the hitches shattered and the beasts stormed off. The remaining horses blew it, kicking at everything and nothing.
Inside the long carriage all was chaos. The albino was neighing and screaming, the aged leopard spinning in its cage. Hero stared out his peephole, amazed at the blur of figures stumbling by in the rain.
A pair of clopping blows rattled the opposite wall. Three slats cracked. A tremendous impact, and a huge section collapsed. A thrashing, hysterical mare burst through the breach in a veil of rain.
The horse went mad, killing the albino and snake woman in a flurry of hooves. She fell ******* the near wall, crushing the cages. The leopard shot into the air like a rocket, slashed at the mare’s throat and vanished in the rain. The horse reared above the family cage. She was just coming down in a wheeling storm of hooves when something made her freeze. Her stare locked with Hero’s, and a second later her eyes were rolling in their sockets. The mare kicked crazily and came down ******* her left flank, smashing the long cage’s side. She whirled upright and leaped outside.
For a tense minute the family sat in the rubble, rain bombarding their eyes. Nothing in their years of captivity had prepared them for such a situation. But by the end of that minute the son had taken full command. He rolled onto his back, braced himself, and kicked his parents across the aisle, through the remnants of the opposing cage, and out of the carriage. They all fell about in the mud and rain. To the west, the mare stared back strangely as she splashed into the night. The boy wedged himself between his parents, threw his arms around them, and pushed with all his might. Their bodies found a common center of gravity. Fumbling drunkenly, the family staggered through the rain in the wake of the mare.

The boy was the natural leader.
Master’s innocent-looking little ex-student could quickly assess and exploit almost any situation. He did the foraging and the figuring, slept with one eye open and one fist ready. He got what he wanted by charm or by stealth, slipping off at nightfall, returning at daybreak with small slaughtered animals and chunks of dark peasant bread. He also pilfered any bauble or oddity he could get his paws on, to be placed reverently at his father’s mangled feet. Breadwinner and watchdog, he faithfully held the family together; a nuclear son. He sewed hardy feather-lined cloaks of reindeer hide, and turned a cache of marmot pelts into a kind of side-slung backpack. He was doting nurse during his mother’s episodes, and unbending apportioner of calories in lean times. Dauntless when it meant crossing mighty rivers, relentless when it came to finding mountain passes. But the endless marching, the unreliable diet, and the countless predators made the three wanderers lean, haggard moving targets. There were times when the little lamp of family was all but extinguished, and long stands in places that seemed absolutely impassable. Still, the boy would work things out. He would stoop to any level to feed Hero, and for a stranger to threaten his father was to summon a psychotic, unyielding monster. He was both spear and shield.
The toughest job of all was maintaining a tight unit, meaning he was forced to become a hard-nosed ******* whenever his father was ready to wander off, which always seemed to be whenever the mother was hurting most. She’d become a tremendous impediment to Hero’s compulsion, and therefore her son’s chief nemesis. It wasn’t a big-picture concern anyway; the writing was on the wall. The blue lady’s attacks were increasing spectacularly on the steppe; her world had always been an enclosure of some kind, and the great horizon was proving just too much. Perhaps these intense affairs served as links to Hero’s suppressed memories, for at the onset of each attack he’d turn and hike, and then only exhaustion could curb him. The boy would press his mother on, dragging, shoving, and smacking—he could be mean when necessary, and though circumstances had made him the nucleus, their worlds unquestionably revolved around Hero. Where he sat, they sat. When he rose, they did the same. In this manner they marched for years across the vast steppes, single-file—father, mother, and son, respectively—unmolested, lacking possessions, always following the sun. Long before they could be measured they had drifted into obscurity.
The woman’s end came quickly and dramatically, in a rocky little depression on a half-frozen field. One moment she was responsive to her son’s prompts, the next she was flat on her back, her eyelids fluttering. That night she leapt from fever to chill, from alertness to stupor. The boy, squatting beside their campfire, watched her face and hands run cadaver-blue to fish belly-pale and back again. While he was staring her eyes popped open and her hands came scrabbling. He sweated through the clawing embrace until he could bear it no longer. He oozed out and ran down to fetch his father.
When they got back Hero watched incuriously for a while. His mate’s face was scrunched up and her skin the color of sapphires. She wasn’t breathing.
His gaze became glassy, his eyes returned to the night. As he rose the boy immediately grabbed an arm. Neither moved for minutes. When the boy at last relinquished, his father casually stumbled off.
Strange things were going on in Hero’s world. Some days he would notice how animals regarded him oddly, in a manner that seemed almost personal. He found, for instance, that particular creatures were recognizable even over great distances. A number of times he would sit with one in a stare-down, waiting patiently, until the animal’s natural disposition caused it to bolt. Though the meaning of these encounters was way over his head, he would watch, and he would listen.
In time he noticed an increasing skittishness in some of these familiar creatures. Something had them spooked. He then observed a number of lean gray wolves moving in and out of the picture with an air of complete indifference:  these wolves weren’t hunting; they were loitering—lounging in the grass, lackadaisically padding to the rear, filing by slowly in the distance. Once in a while a lounger would raise its head, yawn cavernously, and drop back out of sight. So unobtrusive was their behavior that even Hero’s ever-vigilant son began to take them for granted. They paused where the family paused, and halted whenever the woman broke down. Perfectly camouflaged by the gray boulders and dire sky, they were completely forgotten in the drama of her passing.
There were other, far subtler events existing for Hero’s senses alone. He could perceive patterns in everything around him; in the manner vegetation gave way wherever his heart was leading, in the way so many animals appeared to be not merely mirroring, but making his course. And wind, rain, running water:  these phenomena had voices. Yet not for everybody. No one—not his mate, not his son, not another soul on the planet could hear this call, for they were all of a sort. They were static, they were temporal. Hero couldn’t have cared less about the lives of his family, or about the mundane goings-on in the encampments and small tribes they skirted. Such beings lived in a world that was defined by the moment. They shouted, they banged, they clamored.
But west—west was music.
For his boy, once again watching Hero shamble off, the moment of truth had arrived. He looked back down, at his mother’s death mask being remade by the dying light of their campfire. As the flames dwindled he could have sworn he saw shadows creep into the wells of her eyes, while others, crawling up around her jawline, drew her bluing lips like purse strings. He hopped to his feet and ran for another handful of tinder. When their little fire provided enough light he dropped to his knees and looked again.
She was sinking right before his eyes, every aspect of her expression in collapse. The boy watched clinically, fascinated. As the flames began to sputter he thought he could see large purple bruises spreading across her cheeks like the seeping limbs of overflowing pools. He bent closer.
From deep in the night came the longest, the leanest, the saddest wail he’d ever heard. He turned to see the starlit ghost of his father, facing away, staring at a low barren hill. Uncountable stars embroidered the spot. The boy made out a low shape moving along the hilltop, cutting off patches of stars as it passed.
The wolf howled again; a mournful, spiraling cry to nowhere and nothing. Hero’s head notched upward. He began to hike.
Halfway to his feet the boy stopped dead.
It took a minute to sense why he’d frozen in place, and a good while longer for his heart to quit pounding. He was aware of a nervous padding, and, once his vision had adjusted, of a lazy stream of eyes gleaming in the dying campfire’s light. The eyes bobbed around him, glared momentarily, returned to the ground.
A massive gasp, and his mother was tearing at his wrist. He watched her hyperventilating, saw her bulbous yellow eyes sinking in a wide violet pool. With a sizzle and pop the last tongue of flame was taken by the night.
Then her clammy hands were all over him, pulling and demanding, caressing and beseeching. He had to pry them off like leeches, had to place them clasped on her shuddering arched belly.
A silky snarl rose almost in his ear.
With a little squeal he sprang to his feet, even as something nearby jumped back in response.
The boy stood absolutely still while the panting thing padded nearer. They stood very close, smelling each other. He instinctively extended a hand, palm forward. But it was no good; his arm was shaking out of control. The snarl rose again, not so tentatively this time. His mother’s nails tore at his ankle.
The boy gently stepped away, only to find himself surrounded by the shifting silhouettes of half a dozen gray wolves. They approached in a calculated manner:  two from the left, one from the right, another from behind. He was being goaded away from his mother; he could hear her fists beating the ground, and a few seconds later the sounds of a nauseating assault and ravaging.
He shakily raised his other hand. Now both arms were extended, and their message was clearly one of defense rather than control. Two snapping wolves stepped aside, leaving him a gateway into the night. A cold wet nose bumped his wrist.
Screaming like a woman, he took off after his father just as fast as his feet would carry him.

                                                  BOY

Alon­g the great Kazakh Steppe a man could wander a lifetime and never meet another of his kind—especially if his kind happened to be Alaskan Inuk, and if he happened to be the teenaged patriarch of a two-man family going nowhere.
Here history is mostly mute.
Upon this continent-spanning steppe, unnamed communities were scattered and rebuilt, lives blown about by the wind. The only centers of humanity a traveler might encounter, far removed from the Silk Road at the very crack of the new millennium, were temporary encampments of civilization at its rudest—shifting holes of cutthroat commerce existing solely for the barter of silk and spices and hapless souls. Life here was revered far less than merchandise, and the longest-lived men were those who kept their distance.
Hero and his boy hiked over permafrost and tundra for years; their meandering course a drunken mapmaker’s scrawl. Chronological entries along this imaginary line would reveal that they’d stopped, sometimes for months at a time, when the father had grown too weak and disoriented to continue. Hero’s internal compass was long-sprung, and his weight had fallen considerably. He’d sit on his lonesome, scarecrow-scrawny, wistfully scrolling a 360-horizon while his boy scouted and scavenged. Then, for no apparent reason, he’d just up-and hike—sometimes northwest, sometimes along a tangential plane that always threatened to spiral. It was brutal:  winters were frigid, summers, by odd contrast, running steamy to baking. Season by season these marches lost their tenaciousness, and eventually their heart. Hero’s obsession was becoming his demise.
Now, to a hypothetical observer, the ratty pair of woolly camels materializing out of the rising August heat might have been mirages.
These beasts were novelties here, and pioneers, for they were way beyond their normal stomping grounds. They’d tramped for months with a mind-numbing monotonousness, a thousand miles and more; round the Urals to the south, and through the hard territory braced by the Volga and Voronezh, avoiding anything that even smelled of men. They’d been wild camels; ugly, ill-tempered, and unpredictable, until the boy tamed them by touch…but this new pattern was a literal change of pace…for weeks the frail little man and his dark teenaged son rose and fell with the animals’ rhythm, lulled by it, sick of it, dreaming of lands far removed from hoarfrost and peat moss. In this manner they were borne clear to present-day Belarus, whereupon the camels’ stupefying march began to quicken. Mile by mile they put on steam, until one day they reached a broad area distinguishable from its bracing terrain only by its many deep surface cracks. Here the camels’ behavior became erratic; they crouched at an angle while tramping, their long necks oscillating, their noses bobbing along the ground. Eventually they came upon a dingy pool nestled in a pebbly depression. The local brush surrounding this pool was situated like iron filings about a lodestone. The boy hauled back his camel’s neck and laid a hand on its brow. The brute slowed to a halt. The other camel imitated its partner, move for move. Simultaneously the animals dropped to their knees.
The boy jumped off, catching Hero as he fell. The camels stood watching stupidly as son maneuvered father, but after a while grew nervous and began tramping their hooves in time. They slowly stepped to the pool’s rim and knelt woozily, their noses poised just above the surface. Their whiskers danced on the pool’s face, their lids became heavy, their hindquarters quivered as they drank. Their nostrils, having fluttered in unison, remained agape. They appeared to be asleep.
The boy began filling skins.
The water was quite warm; he slurped a palmful and almost immediately felt intoxicated.
He flicked it off his fingers; the water was bad.
Three heads were now mirrored in the pool; the camels’ at ten o’clock and two o’clock, the boy’s at six. He watched their reflections continue to ripple, long after the pool had become still. His face, melting and firming, rapidly fluctuated between extremes of age, and between his own recognizable features and those of some…monstrosity. The effect was hypnotic. He felt his joints stiffen; his eyes became weak, his thoughts muddled…his face was irresistibly drawn to the pool’s surface, and for a moment he was in real peril of drowning. He ****** his head aside and creaked to his feet.
Where the camels had knelt were only the prints of their bellies and knees. In the distance they could be seen galloping all-out for the horizon, right back the way they’d come. The boy watched until they were swallowed by their dust, and when he turned around his father was long gone.
Now he knew it was all just a matter of time.
And sure enough, after eleven more days of feebly staggering along, Hero completely ran out of gas. The boy bundled him up in a shawl, like an old woman.
Sitting there, cradling an unresponsive man weighing less than eighty pounds, he couldn’t help but let his morbid fantasies run wild. He was now old enough to realize his father had at some time suffered severe head trauma, and honest enough to accept that the man was rapidly approaching a vegetative state. This understanding accompanied him like a shadow, and that night he questioned, for the very first time, his own convoluted rationale.
He was just beginning to sense that his will was not his own.
He built a semi-permanent camp west of the Desna and foraged in a tight spiral, always returning in a straight line. Some days he came back feeling uneasy, sensing another presence. Then it was every other day. It bugged him to no end. At last, when it became every day, he hauled his father to his feet and began a resolute march to the west.
Again he became anxious, and after only a dozen yards.
He turned slowly while hunching, certain something bulky had just dropped out of sight. Nothing looked suspicious, everything looked suspicious. He walked Hero some more, occasionally peering back over his shoulder. There was…something.
He whirled:  only masses of rock and high brush. Yet, when he really strained his eyes, he was sure, pretty sure, that he could make out a large crouching body continuous with the rocks. Heart in his throat, he began a slow steady creep, only to pause, positive the bulge, whatever it was, had shifted in response. The boy very gradually raised his arm until it was level with his eyes, faced the palm outward, and extended the arm parallel with the ground. He could almost feel some kind of current passing between his itching palm and…nothing. He walked over to Hero, stopped again. There’d been the subtlest sense of traction. The boy propped up his father in a cloud of flies and waited.
In a minute the bulge drew *****.
Out of the brush strolled a furry gray wild ***, her back inclined from countless weary miles; stretching her neck, pausing to nibble, taking her sweet time. Grungy as she was, she fit right in.
At the boy’s first casual step she immediately hit the dirt and remained flat on her belly, one big dark eye staring between her hooves. Another step, and her **** bunched up. The closer he got, the higher her rear end rose. When he was almost at arm’s length she sprang back and danced away, seeming to bound with delight. But not to the east, as she’d come.
To the northwest.
She backpedaled while the boy came on whistling and cooing, matching him step for step. But the moment he threw up his arms in resignation she spun round as though cued, dropped on her belly, and peered over her shoulder.
The boy was first to blink. This time he approached fractionally, keeping movements to a minimum. She rose just as carefully, sauntering northwest in reverse, and at the first sign of hesitation turned, dropped, and cautiously gazed back. The boy glared at that huge mocking **** and broke into a sprint. She easily danced out of reach, plopped down, and continued to stare.
He began hurling stones, with venom and with accuracy, until she’d scurried into the brush.
But on the way back to his father he could feel her tagging along.
Twenty feet behind she halted, looking bemused.
The boy nodded ironically. He walked Hero over, murmuring baby talk all the way, and firmly placed a palm on the animal’s muzzle once her breath grazed his fingers. She stroked his hand up and down with her whiskers, gave a kind of curtsy, and waited on her knees while he helped his father mount.
At Hero’s touch a shudder ran down her body. She stood up straight. Her eyes became set, her back absolutely stiff. She put down her head and began the long trek northwest, never once breaking stride.
It was an amazing march, an impossible feat. For a little over three days and almost four hundred miles she progressed like an automaton, driving herself without rest, without food or water.
After trotting alongside for an hour the boy climbed on and force-fed his father berries and smoked meat, his dark eyes constantly searching the countryside. Occasionally he’d see a run of red foxes to their left, watching intently, padding cautiously. Sooner or later they’d vanish, only to be replaced by a train of feline or equine pursuers. Packs approached and receded while, high overhead, flocks formed triangular patterns that continually broke up and reformed. There was a peculiar rhythmic quality to this ebb and flow that lulled his senses further. The boy shook his head to clear it, but his exhaustion was deeper than he’d supposed—even the brush appeared to be leaning northwest.
That first day he grew numb with the pace, and that night the relentless pounding of her hooves drew him into a miserable slumber. He wrapped his arms around his sleeping father and lay half atop. When he couldn’t keep his eyes open any longer he tore strips from his skins, then looped his tied wrists round her neck, his ankles round her belly.
On the second day she was breathing hard, but her back was still high and she showed no signs of faltering. Her eyes remained focused on the ground dead ahead. She always sensed the best routes; finding mountain passes, fording wetlands.
But by the third day they could feel her ribs quaking against their legs. Her breath exploded as she marched, blood frothed and caked about her nostrils. Still she pushed herself on, her pace so steady it was almost metronomic.
On the fourth day her legs were gone. She veered and stumbled, shuddering every few paces. The boy hopped off for the umpteenth time and tried to bring her to graze, but she wouldn’t be turned. He ran behind her as she staggered along, unwilling, or unable, to rest.
At last a foreleg gave and she went down hard. Sobbing and snorting, she plowed her muzzle back and forth in the soil, the useless leg repeatedly pounding the ground. After a minute she raised her head and brayed at the sky, her neck muscles taut, her head slowly swinging side to side. Her cry went on and on.
With a tremendous effort she pushed herself upright and butted the boy aside. Every part of her body was shaking. From her depths a low moan grew to a steady bray, and finally to a wild, pulsing howl. She came to a rise, but was too weak to climb without sliding. Stamping in frustration, she managed a few feet, reared feebly, slid some more. The boy got behind her and applied his back; it took all he had to assist her almost to the top. With a desperate lunge she crashed on her belly.
Amazingly, she dragged herself on, her howl now a scream, her head whipping left and right. When she could pull herself no farther she ****** forth her neck to its very limit and, with a shudder that ran from the tip of her nose to the tuft on her tail, shoved her muzzle straight into the dirt and died.
The boy hauled off his father and fell back. The animal’s eyes were fixed upwards, seeming, even in death, to be straining for a glimpse of what lay just beyond the rise. The boy half-dragged Hero the last few yards. They collapsed at the top, and together looked over the cold Baltic Sea.

At water’s edge a haggard fisherman sat on his boat’s ravaged deck, blindly staring out to sea. His was a queer vessel; a family structure built more like an aft-cabined barge than like seacraft typical of that period. The fisherman’s boat, like his mind, had been abused beyond repair.
He’d lost much in his life. Time had taken his dreams, pox his face, hardship his back and shoulders. And, more recently, a brawling band of drunken Baltic pirates had ***** his wife and daughter before butchering them along with his two fine sons, while he sat helplessly bound to the mast. Finally, to further their delight, they’d set the boat aflame and sent it crackling against the sun; knowing he could hear their hoots and howls, knowing he would drift undead, accompanied only by this last unspeakable memory.
But a squall, without prelude, had doused the flames and blown his home ashore.
There he’d remained for a full long day, staring at nothing, his shattered life caught on the rocks. On the second day he’d worked himself free and commenced staggering about in his memories, gathering shards. It was a pathetic claim. He made a pile of all the old bedding and linen and usable cords, and set about sewing a sort of mementos sail. All that third day he had sewn, and on the fourth he had hoisted this sail and been moved to see it billowing in a northwest-blowing breeze. Again he just sat and gaped. And later that day he’d become aware of a commotion taking place on the long grade leading down to the water, where a writhing mass of seagulls was proceeding like a tremendous slow-motion snowball. He’d never seen anything like it. It wasn’t uncommon to find gulls in a group of many dozens or more, but there must have been two, maybe three thousand of the birds now swarming toward his boat. They were making an incredible racket. In the midst of this cloud could be seen a couple of slowly walking figures; as they neared he made out a small man accompanying a boy in his late teens, both dressed in odd skins. When they reached the rocks his eyes were drawn to the small man’s face. It was a foreign face, brutish and dark, with a deep cleft running from above the right temple to the jaw’s left side. Whatever instrument had felled this man had been devastating—everything in its path was smashed, and with permanence. The forehead was caved in. There was no bridge to the nose, the left cheek was completely collapsed, one side of the mouth was a mangled mess. The jaw itself had set improperly, so that it jutted to the side. The general impression, especially from a distance, was of some unforgettable circus freak’s countenance puckering at an angle. It was a face right out of a nightmare. But there was nothing frightening about the eyes. They were the eyes of a child.
Maybe half the gulls hopped screaming on the rocks. The rest circled overhead.
The boy considered the fisherman curiously before placing a foot on the charred deck. His gaze went around the boat, lingered on the makeshift sail, returned to the slumped figure. He passed a hand before the eyes. No response. He then leaned in close and placed his fingers on the man’s forehead. Immediately that bleak expression became fluid, brimming over with horror and heartbreak. Tears rolled down the fisherman’s cheeks as he gasped, shuddered, and backed up the scorched mast to his feet. Thus propped, he squinted at his visitors and was overcome by a wave of homesickness so strong he had to turn away. The feeling bewildered him, for this vessel, and this sea, were all the home he’d ever known. He clung to the mast while the boy helped his father board. Once he’d collected himself, the fisherman tore a heavy crossbeam from the toasted cabin. He and the boy used this as a lever, and together they shoved the boat off the rocks. The wind picked up nicely, and the little craft was swept across the water.
Exploding off the rocks, the gulls shot after the boat as if it were brimming with fish, the loudest and orneriest vying for favored positions directly overhead. The melee attracted additional gulls—they came shrieking in their hundreds from all sides, banking and calling in the oddest manner, until the mass grew so thick as to cast a permanent shadow on the boat. All day long the clamor continued, and all that night. The fisherman rolled with the rudder, listlessly, allowing the sea to control him. Eventually he let go, that the wind might bear them where it would. His sail ballooned but held firm, and the boat fairly zipped across a sea somehow smooth as glass, broken only by the vacillating ripples of bottleneck dolphins and migrating humpback whales. The three tiny sailors sat hunched together, motionless, all throughout the next day, until the black coast of Sweden loomed in the twilight.
As the boat neared land the cloud of gulls broke up, shot to shore, and landed in groups of a thousand and more; a dizzying, wildly uproarious reception committee.
The dung-covered boat slammed into the rocks, shattering the fisherman’s trance. He intuitively walked his **** up the mast and, swaying there, watched the boy draw his father over the side and lead him to a clearing at wood’s edge. There in the dusk he made out what appeared to be a hefty spotted runaway heifer hitched to a rickety wood wagon. He saw the cow gallop up to meet them, saw the boy look around warily, saw him help the little man into the wagon and climb in beside him. The animal immediately began picking through the woods, the large brass bell round her neck clanging forlornly.
The clarity of that bell made him realize just how quiet it had become. He craned his neck:  there wasn’t a gull in sight. He fell back against the shot mast and slid onto his tailbone with a clacking of teeth. His eyes were misting up. In the gathering dark a few sail fragments flew past and were ****** into the woods. The boat rocked and relaxed. After that there was only the sound of the receding bell’s sad, monotonous song being batted about by the wind.

The little cow strode through moonlit woods until she came to a path formed by the rutting of wheels over many years. She followed this broken, serpentine track throughout the night, and by morning was passing farms and, occasionally, crossing broader paths that might realistically be defined as roads. All day long she bore down that ragged track, until she came in late afternoon to a clearing near a village. Here many such tracks converged. And here the boy slipped away while she grazed.
Sometime after dark he returned with a load of straw, a couple of pilfered blankets, and a fat iron kettle. Crammed in this kettle were salt, tubers, cheese, a few loaves of rye, legumes, and a plump foot of lamb sausage. Most of this ***** he’d brought in tied to the bowed back of a huge, puffing, highly amenable black pig which, thus laden, now followed the boy’s every step like a fresh convert tracing the heels of the messiah. The boy built a fire under the stars, filled the kettle with creek water, and commenced simmering their dinner. While waiting, he couldn’t help but note an odd feature of the local flora:  plants, especially trees, all seemed inclined to a northwesterly disposition, though no amount of wind could account for it. He shooed the pig. But rather than run along, it backpedaled in a nervous circle, round and round in reverse, until it lost its balance and fell on its ****. There it remained, a yard behind the wagon. The boy fed his father and lined the wagon with straw. They settled in for the night. The boy must have nodded, might have dreamt, but while he was drifting he became aware of a stirring in the woods. He sat up, saw the pig’s eyes gleaming inches from his nose. And there were a number of animals, some wild, some strayed from farmsteads, arranged in a broad circle around the wagon, their eyes glinting with moonlight. Not a rustle, not a peep, was lifted from the woods.
In the morning he woke to find the pig still staring. The fidgeting heifer, impatient to roll, began her long day’s march while Hero and his boy were yet stretching and scratching, and the ******* pig, galloping heavily, fell in close behind. Each new day this routine was repeated. They banged past farms and small communities until the ruts intersected a broad rocky road wending halfway across the kingdom. The cow addressed this road with vigor. They picked up followers—a goat here, a couple of sheep there—which hurried after the wagon as best they could. The cow stomped on with resolve, mile after mile, day after day, her bell keeping steady time. That bell’s peal attracted foals, lambs, and kids into the wagon’s narrowing wake. Hares hopped between hooves and wheels, boars and blue foxes fell in and withdrew. White falcons, normally solo fliers, whirled into wedge shapes high overhead.
At night the entire train would camp on the road while the boy raided proximate farmsteads, always returning fully laden. And as soon as the fire died the colony grew, creature by creature, and the moment the sun broke the horizon the heifer came to life and moved on, but each day a bit more resolutely, as though straining to meet a deadline. The march took on a sense of real urgency. The cow pressed on with attitude, the clang of her bell more strident with each passing mile. Soon her followers numbered in the hundreds, as animals deserted their farms or crept out of the woods to tag along. Tillers and traders stood dumbfounded, amazed by the bizarre flow.
Once they’d crossed into Norway the frothing cow veered hard to the west. The pace really picked up; no longer were Hero and his boy afforded the luxury of a night’s sleep in one spot. Days blurred into a single variegated flow as the bashed and lopsided wagon continued building its entourage; the riders were surrounded dawn to dusk by a confused and confusing scurry. Word of the flow’s weirdness preceded it clear to the Norwegian coast, so that now plowmen and merchants, wearily gathering their goggling families, found themselves lined in anticipation along the king’s highway. Horsemen went pounding to and fro with news of the procession’s progress and particulars, children ran through the streets banging pots in imitation of the cow’s approaching bell. Livestock wheeled and stamped, fowl leaped and crashed.
The slobbering cow broke into a run.
Bystanders trotted behind, calling back and forth excitedly, while the wagon’s permanent following squealed and squawked between their heels. The cow made a hard turn onto a widening swath in the brush. This swath, seeming to strain against the soil, ran straight down to the crest of a low hill overlooking the Atlantic. On either side a crowd had been studying the phenomenon for some time, but now all eyes swung to the dark and disfigured man and his son, clinging to the disintegrating wagon behind the careening spotted cow.
The trailing people traded views as they ran. Most—at the very outset of the new millennium, with Christianity burgeoning throughout Europe—leaned to the miraculous. Others, just as superstitious but prone to a darker point of view, threw looks of horror at the deformed little man. Yet they ran no less eagerly.
The galloping crowd made for the seaside, where only one local event of any moment was brewing:  on the coast a Greenlander Viking was preparing his longship for the rough voyage home. Impetuous son of the great island’s first permanent European settler, he’d just been baptized in Olaf’s court, and was now eager to sail—but not as a warrior—as a missionary. While his spirit remained in a tug-o’-war between his father Erik’s will and that of gods old and new, his duty was clearly to his king. And Olaf had charged him with the Christianization of pagan Greenland.
Something on the wind now made this destined man turn his head. From behind the gentle hill to his rear came a kind of thunder. Heads popped up, followed by a confused explosion of voices, and seconds later a frantic bug-eyed heifer burst into view, dragging the wheel-less skeleton of a shattered wooden wagon. On the wagon’s splayed frame a man and teenaged boy clung for their lives as the spewing animal made a beeline for his ship.
The new missionary, still egocentric enough to assume his Maker might actually toss him a personal, surreptitiously rolled up his eyes. The sky yawned at his arrogance. At his side a smallish cowled man rose irritably, but the missionary sat him right back down. He then snorted, squared his shoulders, and signaled his men to halt their preparations.
Knowing it was expected, he gathered his hard Nordic pride and coolly made his way into the crowd.

The priest clung to port, gagging above the waves.
After a completely uneventful minute he leaned back and stared through tearing eyes at the distant backdrop of gathering mists. Weeks now…a man of his constitution had no business at sea.
Along, too, were a quirky little man and his fiercely devoted son.
Through his pantomime, the boy had been so persistent in begging their passage that refusal, under the circumstances, would have been unbecoming not only a man of God but a man of the world.
So there it was:  a priest who couldn’t hold his lunch, a witless eyesore who couldn’t sit still, and a surly teenaged protector who snarled at the first hard look. This crossing just had to be some kind of divine test—of mortal patience as well as moral values. Norsemen weren’t made for babysitting.
The mists condensed.
And the shifting shape became a hard familiar coast.
And the longship was mooring, and the crew were jostling and clambering, and the big missionary had booted off the haunted little freak and his hypersensitive son, and was condescendingly half-escorting, half-carrying, the green priest ashore.
And they were home.

Priest in tow, Leif quickly took up the Christianization of Greenland’s Western Settlement, as per Olaf’s command. The mangled little man and his son followed him around like dogs, slept outside his door and annoyed his visitors, ultimately proving far easier to adopt than to shake. Barely tolerable shadows…still, the lad was simply amazing with livestock…and though the youth’s useless father seemed time and again to be just begging for a whooping, his son’s presence bore some ineffable quality that always curbed the missionary’s hand. Several times he’d witnessed the father approached by settlers bent on abuse. Each time the boy had stepped in, and each time the troublemakers were mysteriously repelled. The missionary of course didn’t attribute any kind of celestial intervention to these episodes, and certainly the popular notion of devilry was a natural reaction to the pair’s outrageous exoticness, but…in the son’s company, and even under the sharp eyes of his fellow Norsemen, Leif more than once found himself oddly moved to protect the father. And so the deformed man and his boy day by day blent in—as village idiot and mystic guide. And when in time a ****** brought tales of an unvisited land to the west, it was only natural for the restless Greenlander to buy that ******’s boat and, before stalwart comrades, weary family, and whimsical God Almighty, reluctantly accept the eccentric father and son as sort of seagoing mascots.
Hero was from then on irrepressible. During preparations he would pipe and stammer in his half-mute way, brimming with a confounding anxiety that kept him underfoot and at odds with all. On frigid nights he perched on the westernmost rocks, moaning to the horizon in the strangest fashion while his son stood guard. He positively spooked the locals; they’d gossip, nervously and with bile, of an answering wind that came wailing off the sea like a banshee in labor. The whole island wanted rid of him. And when his champing beneficiary, still clinging to the notion of Christian charity, bundled him aboard with his son and a crew of thirty-five, not a single settler was sorry to see him go.
Almost from the moment they cast off everything went wrong, as all attempts to control the longship were met with some kind of unknowable countermanding force. Vikings were not renowned for passive resistance—they fought, squaresail and steering oar, leaning oarsman to oarsman, until the ship rocked on the waves like a bucking bronco. An erratic weather system pursued them, worsening dramatically at each minute variation in heading. The Norsemen doubled down, and when the clouds finally burst wide, the cowling sea went mad. Dervishes whirled about the hull, crisscrossing winds bedeviled the sail. Patches of kelp belonging to much warmer waters came heaving alongside, fouling the work of the oars, while far to the west a humongous fog bank formed, eradicating the navigable field. The lightning-streaked horizon was a throbbing gray slit.
The longship became locked in a slow westerly current.
Fatigued crewmen complained of headaches and hallucinations, and of a nasty, slightly metallic tang to the air. There were numerous walrus sightings; bobbing flippers and snouts amid drifting ice chunks that came prowling the North Sea like a circling pack of famished white wolves.
Worst of all was the boy’s father—instantly agitated by everything and nothing, prey to some primitive impulse that caused him to periodically incline his head, shudder to his feet, and loop his arms as though embracing the sky. Leif would watch him scrabbling at the prow like a cat at a tree, furs snapping in the wind. He’d watch the boy re-seat him for the hundredth time, and for the hundredth time be filled with an immense contempt. By now he’d acknowledged that it takes a special kind of strength to shoulder charity and tolerance. That brown little freak struck him as an enormous malformed barnacle, slowly working its way back up the prow. Trying so hard to go unnoticed, looking and listening so intently, though there was nothing to see other than the growing shelves of fog, and nothing to hear save the rising, almost hysterical voice of the wind.
Leif sniffed the air, his ******’s instincts nagging him. This was a foul current, and a fool's errand; he took a deep breath and tentatively ordered the longship brought about.
The ship kicked twice, as though an enormous submarine hand had seized and released the hull.
A whirl formed in the water, causing the keeling ship to sweep around like a clock’s second hand. All about them, those drift-ice ghosts cruised dangerously near.
But they’d been liberated from that accursed current. Leif fiercely urged on his rowers, and at last the ship broke free. They made a bead due north.
Night came and the temperature plummeted.
Small sheets of ice converged, drifting between the hunks. The Norsemen, instinctively huddling amidships, passed out one by one in a massive pile of fur and flesh. In the freezing silence the floes bumped and recoiled, bumped and gathered, bumped and bonded. The tiny ship, swallowed whole, was dragged along in a labyrinth of black sea and interlocking slabs of ice.

The Norsemen came to in a surly, foul-smelling heap, lost at sea. While they were still groggy a voice cried out that a darker patch was developing in the fog. The men all fell to port. Under the confusion of their voices could be heard a distant rumble.
At this Hero hauled himself up the high curved prow. A half-light began to penetrate the fog, barely illuminating the irregular faces of drifting ice. The missionary stormed forward and indicated by gestures that if the boy didn’t restrain his father he would have the man tied down.
The longship stopped dead in the water.
The men found themselves regarding a perpetually frozen coastline swathed in bluish veils of mist. Directly before them loomed an immense ice cliff hundreds of feet high. Rising beyond this cliff were endless snow fields, where lean violet shadows seemed to drag about of their own volition. And upon those bleak fields a thin howling wind prowled, kicking up brief white dervishes, leaving a strange zigzagging signature.
Even as they stared, a darker shadow high on the ice cliff’s glistening face began to widen, accompanied by a cracking sound that could be felt before it was heard. With the illusion of slow-motion, a stupendous chunk broke out of the cliff and came screaming toward the sea. It hit the water like a bomb. The thunder of its separation and the explosion of its impact took a moment to reach them. Then, out of a spewing crater of crests and spume, the new calf came lunging, tromping the sea so hard the longship, fully a mile to sea, was swept out and ****** back in like a cork. The floundering mountain of ice bobbed and lilted, generating huge waves which continued to rock the ship long after the monster had settled. In a while the roaring in their ears subsided and there remained only the swirling, nerve-wracking howl of the wind.
The missionary’s eyes swept left and right. Whatever this place was, it sure wasn’t the fair shoreline he’d been promised. Hero again scrambled up the prow, and Leif again yanked him down. This time he made good his threat; he had the little nuisance bound, though he was half-tempted to let him take his chances overboard.
From somewhere deep in the haze grew a soulful, otherworldly call. It went on and on, electrifying the air, bottoming out once the ship had merged with that previously fought westerly flow.
By now Leif’s nerves were shot. He ordered the oars raised.
The longship began to drift. Ship and ice were pulled due west.
The clouds fell far behind as the ship embarked upon an amazingly calm sea—so calm its entire visible surface was featureless except for the faint wakes provided by the ship and its hulking ice companions. To the east a huge fog bank appeared on the horizon, and a while later a smaller bank to the north. Then a very dense one to the south. In time these banks converged, imperceptibly becoming a single mass that closed about the ship, bit by bit creating a slowly heaving dome. Tiny beads of water appeared on beards and eyebrows; in a minute everything was soaked. The only sound was that of the dragging steering oar. The men were now sopping ghosts, speaking only with their eyes.
Directly ahead the fog began to dimple. The dimple became a hollow, the hollow a cave, and then ship and ice were being towed through a low, ever-extending tunnel in fog. The current increased its pull. Ship and drifting ice accelerated through the tunnel.
After a while the missionary quietly stepped forward. He stood with one hand on the prow’s neck, listening to the mist, so motionless he might have been a carved extension of the longship’s aggressive design. Not a man breathed. The tunnel’s dilating and contracting bore was producing an all but seamless series of oscillating, near-phonetic sounds. Leif almost tiptoed back. No god, pagan or Christian, could account for the strangeness of this situation.
They were borne on a course that grew more southerly, and the following day beheld an inhospitable shoreline glazed by dazzling white beaches. Their course held. Two days later they came upon a far pleasanter, thickly wooded coast. Here the current released its hold, and here the missionary untied Hero and personally placed him and his son in a tiny oak faering. He was just as sick of them as he was excited by this promising new land. Once the rowboat had been heaved over the side, he and another man stepped aboard and took up the oars. They began rowing with easy, powerful strokes.
When the boat kissed sand the missionary stood unsteadily.
The first European to set foot on North American soil now placed one hand on his crucifix, the other on his sword’s hilt, and awkwardly plunged his leg into the thigh-deep, ice-cold surf. Before he could take another step the boat lurched as Hero leapt headfirst into the water, followed an instant later by his son. The Greenlanders watched sourly as the two splashed their way into a mad dash for the waiting pines. Leif wished them both good riddance and turned to grin wryly at his fellow Norseman. He must have blacked out for a second, must have been blinded by a shaft of sun, for he found he was staring stupidly at a point midway between his companion and the longship. It felt like he’d been kicked between the eyes.
Everything was dissolving.
He studied the beach and pines closely, but saw nothing of the man or his boy. He turned back, disoriented. With what seemed a superhuman effort he took up his oars. He rowed out sluggishly, in a dream, and the fog rolled in to meet him.

The boy broke into the trees and embraced a trunk, fighting for breath. What happened next happened so fast and so unexpectedly he didn’t have a chance to react.
Three savages stepped from behind the pines and beat him to his knees. They twisted his arms behind his back and hauled him to his feet. He’d barely processed the impression of a wild painted face when something sharp struck him ******* the temple and tore down his cheek to the jaw. Two of the assailants manhandled him into an upright position and held him in place while the third brought his weapon down again and again and again.
All but dead, he watched a nightmare countenance shouting through a shot veil of blood, and behind that image a reeling crimson sun. He lay there gushing while the savages went through his rags. They propped him against a pine and shrieked with triumph, tore the hair and gory scalp from his skull, threw back their heads and screamed at the screaming sky. Tooth and nail, they ripped apart his face and throat and, certain he would die, split what bits of fur were left and let his carcass lie.

                                                HERO

The weeks stretched into months while he fought his way back into the light.
He progressed in stages; only half-conscious, stumbling along in a blood-red stupor punctuated by a slow strobe of frequent blackouts. Days loomed and decayed, nights pounced and were gone; the backlit, swirling gray cosmos collapsed and expanded on every missed beat of his pulse. A thousand times he broke down to die, and a thousand times he clawed to his feet, driven to pursue a tiny, ghost-like figure fluttering in his memory.
Everything conspired to check him.
A bay like an immense landlocked sea was skirted over months or years—it was all the same. Cold locked him in, Hunger drove him afield, that rude ***** Wind lashed him blind, wore him like a shoe, screamed for his skin while he worked his way west.
Somehow he ate, somehow he avoided being eaten; the instincts that had served him halfway around the planet were still vital beneath the abused exterior. His simple burrows became sturdy temporary shelters. He relearned the art of fire, and began to cook what he killed. He manufactured crude snares and weapons and, when his recuperation was complete, paid closer attention to the on-again, off-again trail he’d been following…forever.
Sometimes this trail would call to him like a lover. Other times he stood peering uncertainly, trying to recapture meanings and aims. Then the ground would turn spongy and the sky revolve, and once again he’d be lying all but dead in the woods, while from the face of the sun emerged a vile winged horror, its ugly pale head lashing side to side, its cruelly hooked beak dangling something that glistened in the wild pulsing light…then the fat moon, rising like gas against the icy black night…the feel of the wind:  the slashing of her nails, the chafing of her hem…the sound of things crunching and pausing and sniffing…then the sun, blazing anew. And again that thing, descending, its wide black wings beating slowly, metronomically—but none of that mattered any more. For his mind had quit him, had flown howling into ice and pine to roost with things surreal. In the day his madness might muddle and run, or spend the light stalking, cat-like, watching and waiting. But at night it came creeping from all sides. Sometimes it came in waves. It could gnaw like the devil, or wrap around him like a warm second skin. But none of that mattered either.
The only thing that mattered was the trail—whether it was lost for good, or for only a while. He’d been following it through his episodes, always north, wondering just who and where in the world he was, and trying to shake a ridiculous notion of being led on a wild goose chase.
The cold was unbelievable.
The deeper north he delved, the more confused he became. He grew starved for colors and scents, finding nonexistent patterns in the stark contrast of shadow and snow. He thought he could detect a kind of otherworldly design in the overwhelming number of dead ends he encountered, and, too, in the diabolically frustrating locations of natural obstacles. He seemed to be forever fighting the wind—a hulking, despondent snowman, he hiked face down and focused, while another aspect of his attention floated just behind, disembodied, watching his silent pursuers…leaving no tracks, blending perfectly with the environment in their clever winter coats…not predators, but creatures that normally should have been hightailing it away from him. By the time he could turn, they’d become nothing more menacing than snowdrifts. But they pursued him nevertheless.
And so his paranoia increased…had there ever really been a trail…and when did this miserably cold, miserably anemic crusade begin…his long-term memory was falling apart a chunk at a time. It just got colder and colder and colder until at last, one snippet of a day during one blur of a year, he found himself utterly lost, and clueless as to his history or objective. His mind was a blank, as colorless and featureless as the endless world of ice around him. He’d come this far solely to learn that the only trail he’d been following was his own—and now even that trail was succumbing to ice. On all sides there was nothing to see but an infinite field of glaring whiteness, and nothing to hear but the ululating wail of the tubular polar wind. It was the loneliest, the unholiest, the creepiest sound imaginable. But it wasn’t insanity that made him wheel. It was his self-preservation instinct.
And then he was somehow on his knees in the woods, facing a furious setting sun.
Whole seasons had passed from his memory like chalk from a board. His only recollections were those of a broken, haunted animal:  of being perilously sick, of fearing the unseen, of blindly struggling across a solid-white wilderness. That he’d survived such an ordeal meant nothing to him. And that he had in some indecipherable manner stumbled across the cold-as-stone trail did not fill him with amazement or with thankfulness—there simply wasn’t anything visual or emotional left to draw on. A significant part of his life had been whited out.
But now he could focus entirely on the trail. And before he knew it, the fuzzy area between fantasy and reality found a seam. He began to analyze and plan. He paid attention to hygiene, and kept a kind of running mental journal. Things were sorting out. Yet there were nights when the old sickness would resurface, reestablish its hold, and leave him sweating and uncertain under the stars. Then, paradoxically, his perception would become razor-keen. And so he would see, on a distant hilltop, a pair of scrawny silhouettes, one on four legs and one on two, slowly crossing the faintly pocked face of the setting moon. He would become strangely excited, and thereafter retain crystal-clear images of himself, as if seen from above, hurrying with adroitness through the silent, graveyard-like setting of black and blue night and white-frosted trees. Then the fuzzy area would broaden, and it would be the next morning, and he would be staring at the prints of man and elk in snow. And he would see how the elk’s prints doubled back, and how the man’s prints terminated where he had obviously mounted his guide. An unfathomable glow would bring tears to his eyes. But, even as he gathered himself, a fresh snowfall would wipe out the prints. And once again the world would plummet into white. And the wind would howl as the snow hammered his eyes. And he would ***** on.

A haggard animal sat shivering in a small grove of frozen pines, watching his campfire die. His eyes were fixed. Like the fire, he was running out of warmth, running out of fuel. There wasn’t a whole lot of tinder round his bones, and not much feeling left in his limbs. The slowly heaping downfall was burying him alive, but he was too numb to care.
It had taken him six long years to cross an entire continent, and during that time he’d known only cold and excruciating pain. The pain was leaving him now. The cold was making it right. His eyes glazed over.
Along a narrow plain to the west a herd of caribou filed dreamily through the snow, cutting across a panoramic backdrop of dazzling white mountains. The slow-motion parade was hypnotic. After a while it occurred to the drifting man, in a roundabout way, that he was dying, that he was nonchalantly freezing to death. Concurrent with this notion there rose in his chest a wonderful liquid warmth. His eyes slowly closed and, once shut, began to set fast.
He was jolted from within. It was as if he’d been kicked in the heart.
He ****** to his feet, pounded his fists on his thighs, felt nothing. The breath spurted from his mouth in small white clouds as he stumbled downhill after the slow caribou train. He swam through the snow, hallucinating, imagining that certain individuals in the herd were mocking him by slowing and accelerating, while others glanced back with expressions of contempt.
As he burst into their midst the animals stepped aside indifferently. A few galloped ahead to keep up the herd, but most simply sidestepped while he danced there, stamping his feet and smacking his hands. The herd grew thinner, until only the old and infirm were filing by. The man desperately embraced a hobbling female for warmth, but she cried out and kicked, triggering a panic reaction in the herd. Clinging for his life, the man was dragged along beside her as the herd stormed into a maze of flying ice and snow. His weight caused her to stagger sideways until they slammed against the flank of a sick male. The man instinctively threw an arm over the male and, thus draped between them, was borne across the drifted plain for upwards of a mile, his freezing feet alternately dangling above and dragging through the snow. The herd broke into a hard run, forcing him to assume a broken trot. Soon his legs were stinging. Sensation rushed through his body.
Now the herd, still picking up speed, began to contract, jamming him between his bearers. There was a quick jolt to his right and he was lifted clean off his feet, nearly straddling the bucking female. It had become an all-out stampede. Through hard-flung snow he saw the cause:  just ahead, the caribou had run head-on into a solid wall of galloping wood bison, and both frantic herds had blindly veered to the east; were in fact running side by side down a deep, ragged canyon—were pouring over the canyon’s lip like a cataract. He was approaching, at breakneck pace, that very place where the converged herds so abruptly swerved. The hanging man snarled as he was borne inevitably to the point of deflection.
There came a concussion at his left shoulder, followed by a blast of snow. In an instant the ailing male was tumbling head over heels to the east, ****** into the stampede’s plummeting mass by the fury of its descent. The man and female, rebounding from this impact, were shot to the west in a crazy jumble of flailing legs. The caribou lost her footing, flew nose-first into a snowbank, and came up running. Kicking off, the man used the last of his strength to heave himself astride. At first she fought to shake him, but the spell of the run was too strong. She and half a dozen others went pounding in the opposite direction of the stampede, quickly joined by a number of bison that had likewise splintered from their herd. The riding man could make out their huge hulking shapes thundering by in a blizzard of flying ice, could hear their heavy gasps and explosive grunts. One passed so close he felt its massive flank brush his leg. He peered to his right and saw a black, pig-like eye regarding him excitedly, moving up and down like a piston as the beast ran alongside.
The eye shifted, focusing on the gasping, completely obsessed female. The bull dropped its head and slammed into the caribou’s side, sending her and the man careening down a ***** to the west. The caribou brayed hysterically and her backside went down, but she managed, despite the weight of her rider, to return to all fours and frantically continue along the *****. Again the bull charged, crashing into her shoulder. The man and caribou were launched sideways into the white searing air.
He sat up carefully. The huffing bison was straddling him like a bully laying down the ground rules. Its big wiry beard came right up to brush his chin. The stench of its breath was stupefying.
The bull stamped and snorted, thrusting its stubby horns left and right as the man used his elbows and heels to back away. The bull followed, move for move. When the man collapsed under his own impetus the bull shoved him along with its snout, bellowing furiously. Clear down the ***** they lunged, shoving and lurching, until the man lay sprawled on his back; up to his chin in snow, completely helpless. The ton of a bull butted and kicked, but only glancingly:  those hooves could **** with a blow. At last the man, in one clean sequence, spun on his rear, dropped to his side, and went rolling down the ***** using his elbows for ******.
At the bottom ran a narrow fence of frosted saplings marking an ice cliff’s precipice. He lay face down in the snow, too done in to do anything but **** at an air pocket.
And there came a high-pitched crackling, a sound like the protracted gasp of embers in a dead fire. He turned just as those saplings began leaning to the west, their frozen skins cracking with the strain.
The bison bellowed menacingly.
The sprawled man looked back and saw it still standing with legs spread wide, silhouetted against the sky. In a moment it began huffing downhill, lurching side to side, surfing the snow between lunges.
It chased him through the genuflecting saplings straight into a frozen gully where, protected by a few feet of insurmountable verticality, he was able to slide on the ice between its stomping hooves, downhill out of reach, then downhill out of control—spinning just in time to glimpse a breathtaking vista:
Partly framed by the gully-straddling saplings was a vast crescent of jagged white mountains seemingly huddled round a small stretch of snow-draped pines. The little wood these mountains surrounded was isolated in a broad lake of solid ice. Hundreds of fissures radiated crazily throughout this packed ice field, appearing to issue from somewhere near the frozen wood’s center, which was completely obscured by a ring of rising mist. Above this thumbnail panorama the sun showered gold.
Then the gully dipped radically, and he was skidding headfirst, slamming back and forth against its slick white walls. This uncontrollable plunge had the positive effect of getting his blood flowing. Yet it tore him up. Had the gully concluded in a cul-de-sac, or had further progress required a single calorie of uphill effort, his struggle would certainly have ended here. He would have been too weak to move, and death would have been swift.
But there was a glacier—a great river of ice pouring slowly out of the clouds. The gully, terminating in a little scoop formation near the glacier’s base, spat him flailing onto its gnarly glass hide. He went head over heels, bits of skin and fur flying like chips from a band saw. Somehow he gained his footing, and then he was running against his will, tumbling and recovering and tumbling again.
He didn’t catch much of that crazy run. He half-glimpsed whirling walls of ice, felt a fickle surface underfoot, and broke through an assaultive mist that clung to his ankles and arms. He remembered having the ragged hides torn right off his body, and then being skinned alive. And he remembered reaching the glacier’s base and crawling like an animal; round its sweeping drifts, past its peaked moraines, all the way to a twisting frozen gorge.
And he followed this gorge down; ricocheting wall to wall, delirious, small plumes of thrashed snow marking his descent.
Through a freezing wood he fumbled. In a veil of mist he tumbled down a steep and verdant grade. As cold consumed his closing breath, he fell upon, near-blind, near death, a strange, enchanted glade.

There is a pool.
And in this pool a man lay purged, his broken body half-submerged.
The stumbling man stopped. He knelt to weep, but lost his thread. One hand took a bicep, the other, the head. With a twist and pull the corpse emerged.
That visage…that face—misshapen mask, contorted, bleached; of life’s deposits fully leached. Essence dispatched—a void, sodden wretch.
He let it fall and the glass was breached. All a freak, all a stretch:  upon this act his grip detached.
And the bridge collapsed…one vagabond grasp…what were these feelings; recaptured and trashed…a span elapsed…who was this puckered mass…he hauled it by the waist and thighs…slid it in, watched the pool react:  purse and recover, expand, contract. The glass reformed, now silver-backed…a sudden mirror…the man leaned nearer…saw his reflection, just smashed, remade intact.
The pool grew still.
Within its depth a shadow stirred—visions gathered, some distinct, some obscure. What they meant, and who they were, was much too much to fathom. The glass became blurred.
He closed his eyes, let his heavy head fall, fell back on his haunches, felt the sweat seep and crawl. The air was a pall—as he struggled to rise, a nib crossed his wrist.
He opened his eyes.
Between his fingers the blades poked and crept. Round his knuckles they ventured, up his forearm they stepped:  they seemed to be triggered by prompts from the ground. He shook his head slowly and dully looked round.
There were jays grouped about him, their black eyes aglow. Red hens came running, their fat chicks in tow. Gophers engaged in a weird hide-and-seek. Bluebells and buttercups craned for a peek. Sparrows hopped past and, paying no heed, burst into flight. He watched them recede.
Westward they flew.
Bewildered, he slumped.
Bumped from behind, he jumped to his feet, flabbergasted to find an ancient gray moose near-eclipsing the sky, with grit in his snarl and fire in his eye.
The old moose took aim.
The man turned to flee and stumbled, then tumbled and fell on a palm and a knee.

But there lies a world (so the lullaby goes) where rivers ever run.
Poked from behind, pushed out of his mind, he staggered into sun.







Copyright 2020 by Ron Sanders.

Contact:  ronsandersartofprose(at)yahoo(dot)com
Sorry about the ghastly copy. This system makes graceful formatting impossible.
Note: Jigglypuffs are the best pokemon

#001 #001 Bulbasaur Bulbasaur Grass Poison
#002 #002 Ivysaur Ivysaur Grass Poison
#003 #003 Venusaur Venusaur Grass Poison
#004 #004 Charmander Charmander Fire
#005 #005 Charmeleon Charmeleon Fire
#006 #006 Charizard Charizard Fire Flying
#007 #007 Squirtle Squirtle Water
#008 #008 Wartortle Wartortle Water
#009 #009 Blastoise Blastoise Water
#010 #010 Caterpie Caterpie Bug
#011 #011 Metapod Metapod Bug
#012 #012 Butterfree Butterfree Bug Flying
#013 #013 Weedle Weedle Bug Poison
#014 #014 Kakuna Kakuna Bug Poison
#015 #015 Beedrill Beedrill Bug Poison
#016 #016 Pidgey Pidgey Normal Flying
#017 #017 Pidgeotto Pidgeotto Normal Flying
#018 #018 Pidgeot Pidgeot Normal Flying
#019 #019 Rattata Rattata Normal
#020 #020 Raticate Raticate Normal
#021 #021 Spearow Spearow Normal Flying
#022 #022 Fearow Fearow Normal Flying
#023 #023 Ekans Ekans Poison
#024 #024 Arbok Arbok Poison
#025 #025 Pikachu Pikachu Electric
#026 #026 Raichu Raichu Electric
#027 #027 Sandshrew Sandshrew Ground
#028 #028 Sandslash Sandslash Ground
#029 #029 Nidoran♀ Nidoran♀ Poison
#030 #030 Nidorina Nidorina Poison
#031 #031 Nidoqueen Nidoqueen Poison Ground
#032 #032 Nidoran♂ Nidoran♂ Poison
#033 #033 Nidorino Nidorino Poison
#034 #034 Nidoking Nidoking Poison Ground
#035 #035 Clefairy Clefairy Fairy
#036 #036 Clefable Clefable Fairy
#037 #037 Vulpix Vulpix Fire
#038 #038 Ninetales Ninetales Fire
#039 #039 Jigglypuff Jigglypuff Normal Fairy
#040 #040 Wigglytuff Wigglytuff Normal Fairy
#041 #041 Zubat Zubat Poison Flying
#042 #042 Golbat Golbat Poison Flying
#043 #043 Oddish Oddish Grass Poison
#044 #044 Gloom Gloom Grass Poison
#045 #045 Vileplume Vileplume Grass Poison
#046 #046 Paras Paras Bug Grass
#047 #047 Parasect Parasect Bug Grass
#048 #048 Venonat Venonat Bug Poison
#049 #049 Venomoth Venomoth Bug Poison
#050 #050 Diglett Diglett Ground
#051 #051 Dugtrio Dugtrio Ground
#052 #052 Meowth Meowth Normal
#053 #053 Persian Persian Normal
#054 #054 Psyduck Psyduck Water
#055 #055 Golduck Golduck Water
#056 #056 Mankey Mankey Fighting
#057 #057 Primeape Primeape Fighting
#058 #058 Growlithe Growlithe Fire
#059 #059 Arcanine Arcanine Fire
#060 #060 Poliwag Poliwag Water
#061 #061 Poliwhirl Poliwhirl Water
#062 #062 Poliwrath Poliwrath Water Fighting
#063 #063 Abra Abra Psychic
#064 #064 Kadabra Kadabra Psychic
#065 #065 Alakazam Alakazam Psychic
#066 #066 Machop Machop Fighting
#067 #067 Machoke Machoke Fighting
#068 #068 Machamp Machamp Fighting
#069 #069 Bellsprout Bellsprout Grass Poison
#070 #070 Weepinbell Weepinbell Grass Poison
#071 #071 Victreebel Victreebel Grass Poison
#072 #072 Tentacool Tentacool Water Poison
#073 #073 Tentacruel Tentacruel Water Poison
#074 #074 Geodude Geodude Rock Ground
#075 #075 Graveler Graveler Rock Ground
#076 #076 Golem Golem Rock Ground
#077 #077 Ponyta Ponyta Fire
#078 #078 Rapidash Rapidash Fire
#079 #079 Slowpoke Slowpoke Water Psychic
#080 #080 Slowbro Slowbro Water Psychic
#081 #081 Magnemite Magnemite Electric Steel
#082 #082 Magneton Magneton Electric Steel
#083 #083 Farfetch'd Farfetch'd Normal Flying
#084 #084 Doduo Doduo Normal Flying
#085 #085 Dodrio Dodrio Normal Flying
#086 #086 Seel Seel Water
#087 #087 Dewgong Dewgong Water Ice
#088 #088 Grimer Grimer Poison
#089 #089 Muk Muk Poison
#090 #090 Shellder Shellder Water
#091 #091 Cloyster Cloyster Water Ice
#092 #092 Gastly Gastly Ghost Poison
#093 #093 Haunter Haunter Ghost Poison
#094 #094 Gengar Gengar Ghost Poison
#095 #095 Onix Onix Rock Ground
#096 #096 Drowzee Drowzee Psychic
#097 #097 Hypno Hypno Psychic
#098 #098 Krabby Krabby Water
#099 #099 Kingler Kingler Water
#100 #100 Voltorb Voltorb Electric
#101 #101 Electrode Electrode Electric
#102 #102 Exeggcute Exeggcute Grass Psychic
#103 #103 Exeggutor Exeggutor Grass Psychic
#104 #104 Cubone Cubone Ground
#105 #105 Marowak Marowak Ground
#106 #106 Hitmonlee Hitmonlee Fighting
#107 #107 Hitmonchan Hitmonchan Fighting
#108 #108 Lickitung Lickitung Normal
#109 #109 Koffing Koffing Poison
#110 #110 Weezing Weezing Poison
#111 #111 Rhyhorn Rhyhorn Ground Rock
#112 #112 Rhydon Rhydon Ground Rock
#113 #113 Chansey Chansey Normal
#114 #114 Tangela Tangela Grass
#115 #115 Kangaskhan Kangaskhan Normal
#116 #116 Horsea Horsea Water
#117 #117 Seadra Seadra Water
#118 #118 Goldeen Goldeen Water
#119 #119 Seaking Seaking Water
#120 #120 Staryu Staryu Water
#121 #121 Starmie Starmie Water Psychic
#122 #122 Mr. Mime Mr. Mime Psychic Fairy
#123 #123 Scyther Scyther Bug Flying
#124 #124 Jynx Jynx Ice Psychic
#125 #125 Electabuzz Electabuzz Electric
#126 #126 Magmar Magmar Fire
#127 #127 Pinsir Pinsir Bug
#128 #128 Tauros Tauros Normal
#129 #129 Magikarp Magikarp Water
#130 #130 Gyarados Gyarados Water Flying
#131 #131 Lapras Lapras Water Ice
#132 #132 Ditto Ditto Normal
#133 #133 Eevee Eevee Normal
#134 #134 Vaporeon Vaporeon Water
#135 #135 Jolteon Jolteon Electric
#136 #136 Flareon Flareon Fire
#137 #137 Porygon Porygon Normal
#138 #138 Omanyte Omanyte Rock Water
#139 #139 Omastar Omastar Rock Water
#140 #140 Kabuto Kabuto Rock Water
#141 #141 Kabutops Kabutops Rock Water
#142 #142 Aerodactyl Aerodactyl Rock Flying
#143 #143 Snorlax Snorlax Normal
#144 #144 Articuno Articuno Ice Flying
#145 #145 Zapdos Zapdos Electric Flying
#146 #146 Moltres Moltres Fire Flying
#147 #147 Dratini Dratini Dragon
#148 #148 Dragonair Dragonair Dragon
#149 #149 Dragonite Dragonite Dragon Flying
#150 #150 Mewtwo Mewtwo Psychic
#151 #151 Mew Mew Psychic
Generation II
Jdex Ndex MS Pokémon Type
#001 #152 Chikorita Chikorita Grass
#002 #153 Bayleef Bayleef Grass
#003 #154 Meganium Meganium Grass
#004 #155 Cyndaquil Cyndaquil Fire
#005 #156 Quilava Quilava Fire
#006 #157 Typhlosion Typhlosion Fire
#007 #158 Totodile Totodile Water
#008 #159 Croconaw Croconaw Water
#009 #160 Feraligatr Feraligatr Water
#019 #161 Sentret Sentret Normal
#020 #162 Furret Furret Normal
#015 #163 Hoothoot Hoothoot Normal Flying
#016 #164 Noctowl Noctowl Normal Flying
#030 #165 Ledyba Ledyba Bug Flying
#031 #166 Ledian Ledian Bug Flying
#032 #167 Spinarak Spinarak Bug Poison
#033 #168 Ariados Ariados Bug Poison
#039 #169 Crobat Crobat Poison Flying
#176 #170 Chinchou Chinchou Water Electric
#177 #171 Lanturn Lanturn Water Electric
#021 #172 Pichu Pichu Electric
#040 #173 Cleffa Cleffa Fairy
#044 #174 Igglybuff Igglybuff Normal Fairy
#046 #175 Togepi Togepi Fairy
#047 #176 Togetic Togetic Fairy Flying
#161 #177 Natu Natu Psychic Flying
#162 #178 Xatu Xatu Psychic Flying
#053 #179 Mareep Mareep Electric
#054 #180 Flaaffy Flaaffy Electric
#055 #181 Ampharos Ampharos Electric
#086 #182 Bellossom Bellossom Grass
#132 #183 Marill Marill Water Fairy
#133 #184 Azumarill Azumarill Water Fairy
#107 #185 Sudowoodo Sudowoodo Rock
#075 #186 Politoed Politoed Water
#067 #187 Hoppip Hoppip Grass Flying
#068 #188 Skiploom Skiploom Grass Flying
#069 #189 Jumpluff Jumpluff Grass Flying
#123 #190 Aipom Aipom Normal
#103 #191 Sunkern Sunkern Grass
#104 #192 Sunflora Sunflora Grass
#101 #193 Yanma Yanma Bug Flying
#056 #194 Wooper Wooper Water Ground
#057 #195 Quagsire Quagsire Water Ground
#188 #196 Espeon Espeon Psychic
#189 #197 Umbreon Umbreon Dark
#213 #198 Murkrow Murkrow Dark Flying
#082 #199 Slowking Slowking Water Psychic
#219 #200 Misdreavus Misdreavus Ghost
#061 #201 Unown Unown Psychic
#108 #202 Wobbuffet Wobbuffet Psychic
#149 #203 Girafarig Girafarig Normal Psychic
#093 #204 Pineco Pineco Bug
#094 #205 Forretress Forretress Bug Steel
#052 #206 Dunsparce Dunsparce Normal
#193 #207 Gligar Gligar Ground Flying
#063 #208 Steelix Steelix Steel Ground
#125 #209 Snubbull Snubbull Fairy
#126 #210 Granbull Granbull Fairy
#163 #211 Qwilfish Qwilfish Water Poison
#112 #212 Scizor Scizor Bug Steel
#168 #213 Shuckle Shuckle Bug Rock
#114 #214 Heracross Heracross Bug Fighting
#218 #215 Sneasel Sneasel Dark Ice
#198 #216 Teddiursa Teddiursa Normal
#199 #217 Ursaring Ursaring Normal
#216 #218 Slugma Slugma Fire
#217 #219 Magcargo Magcargo Fire Rock
#195 #220 Swinub Swinub Ice Ground
#196 #221 Piloswine Piloswine Ice Ground
#173 #222 Corsola Corsola Water Rock
#174 #223 Remoraid Remoraid Water
#175 #224 Octillery Octillery Water
#194 #225 Delibird Delibird Ice Flying
#202 #226 Mantine Mantine Water Flying
#203 #227 Skarmory Skarmory Steel Flying
#214 #228 Houndour Houndour Dark Fire
#215 #229 Houndoom Houndoom Dark Fire
#192 #230 Kingdra Kingdra Water Dragon
#200 #231 Phanpy Phanpy Ground
#201 #232 Donphan Donphan Ground
#221 #233 Porygon2 Porygon2 Normal
#131 #234 Stantler Stantler Normal
#159 #235 Smeargle Smeargle Normal
#145 #236 Tyrogue Tyrogue Fighting
#148 #237 Hitmontop Hitmontop Fighting
#154 #238 Smoochum Smoochum Ice Psychic
#156 #239 Elekid Elekid Electric
#152 #240 Magby Magby Fire
#151 #241 Miltank Miltank Normal
#223 #242 Blissey Blissey Normal
#243 #243 Raikou Raikou Electric
#244 #244 Entei Entei Fire
#245 #245 Suicune Suicune Water
#249 #246 Larvitar Larvitar Rock Ground
#250 #247 Pupitar Pupitar Rock Ground
#251 #248 Tyranitar Tyranitar Rock Dark
#252 #249 Lugia Lugia Psychic Flying
#253 #250 **-Oh **-Oh Fire Flying
#256 #251 Celebi Celebi Psychic Grass
Generation III
Hdex Ndex MS Pokémon Type
#001 #252 Treecko Treecko Grass
#002 #253 Grovyle Grovyle Grass
#003 #254 Sceptile Sceptile Grass
#004 #255 Torchic Torchic Fire
#005 #256 Combusken Combusken Fire Fighting
#006 #257 Blaziken Blaziken Fire Fighting
#007 #258 Mudkip Mudkip Water
#008 #259 Marshtomp Marshtomp Water Ground
#009 #260 Swampert Swampert Water Ground
#010 #261 Poochyena Poochyena Dark
#011 #262 Mightyena Mightyena Dark
#012 #263 Zigzagoon Zigzagoon Normal
#013 #264 Linoone Linoone Normal
#014 #265 Wurmple Wurmple Bug
#015 #266 Silcoon Silcoon Bug
#016 #267 Beautifly Beautifly Bug Flying
#017 #268 Cascoon Cascoon Bug
#018 #269 Dustox Dustox Bug Poison
#019 #270 Lotad Lotad Water Grass
#020 #271 Lombre Lombre Water Grass
#021 #272 Ludicolo Ludicolo Water Grass
#022 #273 Seedot Seedot Grass
#023 #274 Nuzleaf Nuzleaf Grass Dark
#024 #275 Shiftry Shiftry Grass Dark
#025 #276 Taillow Taillow Normal Flying
#026 #277 Swellow Swellow Normal Flying
#027 #278 Wingull Wingull Water Flying
#028 #279 Pelipper Pelipper Water Flying
#029 #280 Ralts Ralts Psychic Fairy
#030 #281 Kirlia Kirlia Psychic Fairy
#031 #282 Gardevoir Gardevoir Psychic Fairy
#032 #283 Surskit Surskit Bug Water
#033 #284 Masquerain Masquerain Bug Flying
#034 #285 Shroomish Shroomish Grass
#035 #286 Breloom Breloom Grass Fighting
#036 #287 Slakoth Slakoth Normal
#037 #288 Vigoroth Vigoroth Normal
#038 #289 Slaking Slaking Normal
#042 #290 Nincada Nincada Bug Ground
#043 #291 Ninjask Ninjask Bug Flying
#044 #292 Shedinja Shedinja Bug Ghost
#045 #293 Whismur Whismur Normal
#046 #294 Loudred Loudred Normal
#047 #295 Exploud Exploud Normal
#048 #296 Makuhita Makuhita Fighting
#049 #297 Hariyama Hariyama Fighting
#054 #298 Azurill Azurill Normal Fairy
#060 #299 Nosepass Nosepass Rock
#061 #300 Skitty Skitty Normal
#062 #301 Delcatty Delcatty Normal
#068 #302 Sableye Sableye Dark Ghost
#069 #303 Mawile Mawile Steel Fairy
#070 #304 Aron Aron Steel Rock
#071 #305 Lairon Lairon Steel Rock
#072 #306 Aggron Aggron Steel Rock
#076 #307 Meditite Meditite Fighting Psychic
#077 #308 Medicham Medicham Fighting Psychic
#078 #309 Electrike Electrike Electric
#079 #310 Manectric Manectric Electric
#080 #311 Plusle Plusle Electric
#081 #312 Minun Minun Electric
#086 #313 Volbeat Volbeat Bug
#087 #314 Illumise Illumise Bug
#094 #315 Roselia Roselia Grass Poison
#095 #316 Gulpin Gulpin Poison
#096 #317 Swalot Swalot Poison
#097 #318 Carvanha Carvanha Water Dark
#098 #319 Sharpedo Sharpedo Water Dark
#099 #320 Wailmer Wailmer Water
#100 #321 Wailord Wailord Water
#101 #322 Numel Numel Fire Ground
#102 #323 Camerupt Camerupt Fire Ground
#105 #324 Torkoal Torkoal Fire
#110 #325 Spoink Spoink Psychic
#111 #326 Grumpig Grumpig Psychic
#114 #327 Spinda Spinda Normal
#116 #328 Trapinch Trapinch Ground
#117 #329 Vibrava Vibrava Ground Dragon
#118 #330 Flygon Flygon Ground Dragon
#119 #331 Cacnea Cacnea Grass
#120 #332 Cacturne Cacturne Grass Dark
#121 #333 Swablu Swablu Normal Flying
#122 #334 Altaria Altaria Dragon Flying
#123 #335 Zangoose Zangoose Normal
#124 #336 Seviper Seviper Poison
#125 #337 Lunatone Lunatone Rock Psychic
#126 #338 Solrock Solrock Rock Psychic
#127 #339 Barboach Barboach Water Ground
#128 #340 Whiscash Whiscash Water Ground
#129 #341 Corphish Corphish Water
#130 #342 Crawdaunt Crawdaunt Water Dark
#131 #343 Baltoy Baltoy Ground Psychic
#132 #344 Claydol Claydol Ground Psychic
#133 #345 Lileep Lileep Rock Grass
#134 #346 Cradily Cradily Rock Grass
#135 #347 Anorith Anorith Rock Bug
#136 #348 Armaldo Armaldo Rock Bug
#140 #349 Feebas Feebas Water
#141 #350 Milotic Milotic Water
#142 #351 Castform Castform Normal
#142 #351 Castform Castform Fire
#142 #351 Castform Castform Water
#142 #351 Castform Castform Ice
#145 #352 Kecleon Kecleon Normal
#146 #353 Shuppet Shuppet Ghost
#147 #354 Banette Banette Ghost
#148 #355 Duskull Duskull Ghost
#149 #356 Dusclops Dusclops Ghost
#150 #357 Tropius Tropius Grass Flying
#151 #358 Chimecho Chimecho Psychic
#152 #359 Absol Absol Dark
#160 #360 Wynaut Wynaut Psychic
#171 #361 Snorunt Snorunt Ice
#172 #362 Glalie Glalie Ice
#173 #363 Spheal Spheal Ice Water
#174 #364 Sealeo Sealeo Ice Water
#175 #365 Walrein Walrein Ice Water
#176 #366 Clamperl Clamperl Water
#177 #367 Huntail Huntail Water
#178 #368 Gorebyss Gorebyss Water
#179 #369 Relicanth Relicanth Water Rock
#183 #370 Luvdisc Luvdisc Water
#187 #371 Bagon Bagon Dragon
#188 #372 Shelgon Shelgon Dragon
#189 #373 Salamence Salamence Dragon Flying
#190 #374 Beldum Beldum Steel Psychic
#191 #375 Metang Metang Steel Psychic
#192 #376 Metagross Metagross Steel Psychic
#193 #377 Regirock Regirock Rock
#194 #378 Regice Regice Ice
#195 #379 Registeel Registeel Steel
#196 #380 Latias Latias Dragon Psychic
#197 #381 Latios Latios Dragon Psychic
#198 #382 Kyogre Kyogre Water
#199 #383 Groudon Groudon Ground
#200 #384 Rayquaza Rayquaza Dragon Flying
#201 #385 Jirachi Jirachi Steel Psychic
#202 #386 Deoxys Deoxys Psychic
#202 #386 Deoxys Deoxys Psychic
#202 #386 Deoxys Deoxys Psychic
#202 #386 Deoxys Deoxys Psychic
Generation IV
Sdex Ndex MS Pokémon Type
#001 #387 Turtwig Turtwig Grass
#002 #388 Grotle Grotle Grass
#003 #389 Torterra Torterra Grass Ground
#004 #390 Chimchar Chimchar Fire
#005 #391 Monferno Monferno Fire Fighting
#006 #392 Infernape Infernape Fire Fighting
#007 #393 Piplup Piplup Water
#008 #394 Prinplup Prinplup Water
#009 #395 Empoleon Empoleon Water Steel
#010 #396 Starly Starly Normal Flying
#011
Anna Vida Jun 2013
I have an affinity for ice cream.
I can eat bowls upon bowls at a time.
I impress myself.

It's funny how the things you love grow from the things you never questioned;
Never appreciated;
Never even noticed.
Jumping out of the car the last day of school.
It was hot.
But it was California.
And it was home.
And my dog waited in the backyard.
Happy we were home.
And I stared at our pool and I wanted to jump in;
But I didn't have the courage
       Because I didn't want it enough.
And the refrigerator would be full of Drumsticks.
      (chocolate on mint)
And I would eat one or two a day.
And sometimes the ice cream man would come.
      (he was terrifying, but he had ice cream)
And I would stand outside and eat my ice cream because we weren't allowed to eat it in the house.
And my brother would finish quickly and go inside and play video games.
      (or run down the street to see his friends)
And I would try to be a cliche
      (just like in the movies)
And put on the roller skates I rarely used and try not to lose control as I shuffled down my driveway.
But I never had anything of value to do over the summers.
I never went to camp.
There weren't any summer traditions.
I had ice cream and board games and my dog and the pool I was afraid of.
I counted down the years I still had left at home
      (petrified of what would happen after)
And I didn't understand why mom wasn't as scared as I was.
      (1,2,3,4,5 years left at home; 1,2,3,4.....4 years left at home)
They never taught me how to ride a bike
And I never learned to love the water
And my skin never browned
And I had to stay inside
Except for when there was ice cream.
I could always go outside for ice cream.

Nineteen years of life.
My mother hates ice cream.
She tells me I'm just like my father.
My temper, my moods, my impatience.
Sometimes she says I get his savvy;
His ambition;
His humor.
Sometimes.
My father loves ice cream.
      (I love both my parents)
      (I think they love each other too)
So I took my father's ambition and ran across the country
Where I'm hopefully learning to be a good doctor
And I met these people that I love
      (that I call my family)
And we like ice cream.
We like ice cream and pie.
And going to the beach when the weather is nice.
And ice skating.
And coming home to each other.

I'd say I have an affinity for love;
I'd say I have an affinity for life
But you can't eat love and you can't hold life
Because both are fleeting
      (but so is ice cream).

Ice cream is the summer before 8th grade
When I spent all my time with a girl I loved and learned to hate.
Because we fought over boys.
Because that was middle school.
And 8th grade was horrible.
And I never ate ice cream.
And I never tried to roller skate.
And California became too hot.

So if I were to develop my own ice cream flavor,
And call 31 and tell them what it would taste like,
It would taste like a pensive child
It would taste like mint
It would taste like chocolate
It would taste like missing my friends
It would taste like missing my parents
And I would call it nostalgia.
And I would laugh while I ate nostalgia
Because the thought is absolutely absurd.
It's lengthy and it's disjointed.
Nicole stely Apr 2018
Ice
Because I could not draft for Ice,
it did kindly draft for me.
Does the Ice make you shiver?
does it?

Pay attention to the chill,
the chill is the most shivering fear of all.
Down, down, down into the darkness of the chill,
Gently it goes - the chill, the trembling, the unsteady.

A thawing, however hard it tries,
Will always be Melting.
Does the thawing make you shiver?
does it?

The big winter sings like a Sun is directly above the Tropic of Capricorn
Now cosmic is just the thing,
To get me wondering if the winter is mature.

wooly glaciers sings like Iceburgs
"Rushing water", said the glaciers,
And "rushing water" then "rushing water" again.

How happy is the frozen popsicle!
Does the popsicle make you shiver?
does it?

The freezing that's really crystals,
Above all others is the frost.
Does the frost make you shiver?
does it?

Because I could not draft for Ice,
it did kindly draft for me.
Does the Ice make you shiver?
does it?

Because I could not draft for Ice,
it did kindly draft for me.
Ice, Ice, every where,
Yet not a drop to draft.

How happy is the cold surface!
Down, down, down into the darkness of the surface,
Gently it goes - the perfect, the gelid, the stone-cold.

Pay attention to the floe,
the floe is the most Dence ice mass of all.
Floe, floe, every where,
Yet not a drop to drift.

The thawing is like a gentle voice,
it tends to cause significantly.
Does the thawing make you shiver?
does it?

The athletic game that's really zany,
Above all others is the hockey.
Pause to assist, like the hockey does.
It does assist, it does draft,
Should it also induct?

Why would you think the snowfall is gradual?
the snowfall is the most sudden downfall of all.
Pause to last, like the snowfall does.
It does last, it does accumulate,
Should it also range?

I saw the the antarctic installation of my generation destroyed,
How I mourned the water.
I don't like the fact that it,
learned to reside before it knew how to flow.
You can reside, you can flow, but can you supply?

Because I could not draft for Ice,
it did kindly draft for me.
Does the Ice make you shiver?
does it?

Because I could not draft for Ice,
it did kindly draft for me.
Pause to draft, like the Ice does.

Don't belive that the snowfall is small?
the snowfall is big beyond belief.
Never forget the braggy and large-scale snowfall.

Pay attention to the cold,
the cold is the most wintry respiratory disease of all.
Are you upset by how springlike it is?
Does it tear you apart to see the cold so frozen?

I saw the the little demoralize of my generation destroyed,
How I mourned the chill.
Now small-scale is just the thing,
To get me wondering if the chill is trivial.

An iceman, however hard it tries,
Will always be cunning.
Are you upset by how adroit it is?
Does it tear you apart to see the iceman so attractive?

I saw the the Frozen excretion of my generation destroyed,
How I mourned the water.
Never forget the sleety and unchangeable water.

Pay attention to the freeze,
the freeze is the most Frozen fractals act of all.
Does the freeze make you shiver?
does it?

Because I could not draft for Ice,
they did kindly draft for me.
Do Ice make you shiver?
do they?
4Anonymous7 Mar 2018
Ice
Ice in your nailbeds,
from when you held his hand.
Ice on your knuckle,
from a wedding band.

Ice on your back
from hands that held you, strong.
Ice on  your back,
from hands  that held on for too long.

Ice on your hips,
ice on your chest.
Ice on your ***.
Ice on your breast.

Ice spreading through your veins,
there's no heat left to seek.
Ice on your wrist.
Ice on your cheek.

Ice in your mind
from words sharp as swords.
Ice in your soul,
it severs all your chords.

And yet you are not a statue,
because by some mysterious feat,
deep inside your chest,
the ice makes your heart beat.
Weird phrasing here. It's late and I'm tired.
kristine marie Jun 2013
They say that fire and ice don’t mix;
“They are opposites, two different sides of the spectrum,”
But I guess no one ever thought of them as anything more than elements.

When you burn, the fire sears your skin,
melts, stripping new layer after new layer,
Until nothing but ash remains.

That’s if the burn continues.
if you sit in the fire, you’ll char to a fine dust.
You’ll sprinkle by when the wind picks up,
floating and floating until you find a nice place to rest.
If you run from the flames licking at your feet,
your burns get a little treat - some ice water,
some aloe, more ice water, and a bandage.
No little solid squares pressed to your wounds;
After all, they say that fire and ice don’t mix -
Hold ice on your burn for too long,
and your burn will only worsen.

I burned myself with fire.
I sought solace with ice.
My first degrees turned to seconds,
and seconds into thirds;
Ice burned me, with her cool exterior,
her icy heart.

And I kept her there, pressed to my wound,
cooling my skin,
and burning within.

Let’s call her the Ice Queen,
the crystal clear little gem that I press
So tight against my skin.
Those green eyes and her devilish grin,
I’m sure she had the power to lure anyone in.
And it was me that she chose,
already down and wounded.
She picked up my pieces and mended them together,
She iced my burns, she sewed me together.

I thought I knew who I was before I met her.
Even in pieces, I was sure that my life
was put-together.
The picture perfect model child,
until small events led to big encounters,
and higher falls and harder drops.
I shattered when I fell, but I still felt
like I was put-together
Until the Ice Queen came with
her lace and leather, her tattoos
and Newports, her tights and her boots.
She found me there, mere shards of broken memories
that dripped with tears; she sewed me together,
Maybe synchronized me to her weather.

Now, excuse me if I sound brash,
but I fall at the Ice Queen’s every batting lash.
I embraced her with open arms,
My burning skin and her cooling touch,
and sought help from a body of ice.

It’s a funny thing about fire,
The way that it sometimes soothes
and other times hurts.
A wick to a flame releases a
Heavenly scent;
Gasoline to a flame sets
a house, a car, a building,
all aflame.

And when all goes up in flames,
even firefighters struggle to
Put it out; like it’s really so
hard to wrestle with what
Spews from the Devil’s mouth.

They’d never throw ice into the
Mouth of a flame. No huge cubes
Dto try and tame the flame.
Reason why is simple, easy, matter of fact;
Ice melts in heat, and flames pack quite a singe.

So what happens next,
When fire and ice intertwine?
They maintain their solidity just
As long as they can sustain.

It isn’t very long before the flame is left
in vain.
written in april 2013. 1/3 of a series.
Robert Andrews Jan 2017
Winters depth was cold.... sharp..... and bright.
Saturday was pristine...... endless and white

Ice cream!

It was our destination!
Miles hence
as flies the crow
'cross frozen wastes
in boot deep snow

Leroy
Roberta
and I

We were
Invincible to the temperature
that squeaked the dinted snow,
and made ice groan.

Fingerlings on tree branch ends
popped
like corn
We were Invincible.... We ignored!

Ice Cream! Ice Cream! Ice Cream!
A single minded mission
held by three

Forging scars
in a world un-marred.
****** world for us
but for snow no more.
Imprinted with our mark

No worldly hurdle
would keep us
from this dream
Ice
and Cream!

We were Foot soldiers
subtracting distance,
in a mimes frozen vision
of a frosty silent world

Undaunted,
onward we tread.
Invincible as Gods.
Superior to man,
As I've said.

We reached the river.
Our path behind,
a thread.

It tied us
to such comforts
as food and warmth
and bed.

We met the ice fearless
Our souls skimming cloud tops
Boundless in our self belief
Far greater than the confined dimensions
of what was real
Our Ice Cream dream
secure

Leroy
Roberta
and I

That deep freezer freeze
Held for years

or so it seemed

Stealing the breath
of days uncounted
Each memory hanging in the air
that Christmas break

Suspended

Like a frigid ornament
or the unchanging face
of death.
Chiselled in my mind

That river...
a congealed
unmoving
hibernating vein

Single file we forded
with a mine field mentality
Our Ice Cream destination
drove us on

The river screamed
aching bones rubbed together
by the weather
moaned and heaved

Tortured sounds
like chambered souls
escaped from the dungeon
of the river bed
wailing like the forgotten ******
The forever dead

Ice Cream....
Ice Cream....
Ice Cream....

We were Gods!
We would not stop
for the ****** and the dead!

But There!.... There! ....There!
There collapsed the Godly dream!
River ripped wide,
an unholy seam!

Shore to shore!
Between my feet!
And all those souls boiled
Fleeing from the depths
for their escape!

Roberta my twin
and Leroy my friend,
like snowshoe rabbits
never felt that breath
and ran!

I FELL !

I fell that day...
clinging to my life
death beneath my feet
so wet

I clutched!
I grabbed!
I crawled!
I scratched!

Fingers digging deep!

Away, away, away,
I inched from that hell
made especially for me.

Saucer eyed and transfixed
my Twin and Friend
overcame!
grasped my wrist
and stole me from my end

and there we were
Him and Her and me
and yet...
we could not leave.

One Christmas boot was gone
as was the ice cream dream

Tantalizing
That boot seemed to balance
where the water boiled
icy cold

Hells rift gloating open
Its blood exposed
Boot there dancing ghoulish,
on the seam

And so we lay prone
upon the ice
A now less than Godly chain
Roberta grabbing for my boot
A prize of value
above worldly gains

She snatched that boot
and made quick retreat,
We were defeated soldiers
Him and her and me

We followed our string
t'ward comfort waiting
warm and safe,
Secure.
Serene.

Death had not beaten us.
Nor the wrath of Gods
Not even that river
where hell escaped
could claim that mighty deed

No!
No!
No!

It was a much hotter fire!
A colder ire!
The punishment
of "Mom!"

Our Ice cream dream died that day
as did something else
I no longer walk among the Gods
A diminished view
of self

Never again would I place my boot
within the world of men
Immortal and invincible
Now I am...

simply just a man

Roosty
Martin Feussner Jun 2014
Ice-cream
Ice-cream
Ice-cream
Ice-cream here
Ice-cream there
Ice-cream everywhere
Through happiness
Through sadness
And through loneliness
Oh ice-cream
Oh ice-cream
Oh ice-cream
What would life be
Without you?
Don't we all love ice-cream!
Jesse Holzinger Mar 2019
A wall stands before me where one didn’t stand before
Made of ice, it’s colder than anything I’ve ever known
There she is; she locked herself inside, and I don’t know why
But I can see, and feel, a silent gaze piercing from behind the glass
Somehow it burns through the ice, but it only grows colder
A warning to let her sleep, but for some reason I just can’t listen

It was only just yesterday she let me stand at her side
But now she just wants to stay isolated in ice,
And I can’t bare to just leave her here,
Not without understanding why.
By now the ice has grown so thick I can’t even see her inside

Panic sets in, festers, and I quickly lose my mind
Why did she enclose herself in such an icy isolation?
I need to know. I need to know. I need to know.
Did I do something wrong?
Is this even about me at all?
Can I do anything to help?
Why won’t she just tell me?
If you need me to go away, I will, but I need to hear it

“Please don’t just shut me out!” I scream, as I slam my fists against the ice
Did you even take just one moment to consider how cold this feels?
Do you even care?
Now, in a state void of all sound judgement, I start trying to chisel the ice away
Reaching for something, anything, to just know what’s going on
I couldn’t see inside; I couldn’t see how each stroke was hurting her even more
The ice is a part of her, you see, and I was striking at her very core
And the ice was only growing thicker

One final hit, and the wall explodes, shards of ice shattering everywhere
And there, finally, she stood before me,
Only it was a much darker version of the girl I had grown to know and love
Eyes glowing with fire and fury, her burning death glare now cursing every piece of my soul
I knew my mistake, but it was too late
She spoke, but instead of words, from her mouth she spat fire
A fire colder than ice, a fire that no longer seemed to care

After she felt she had enough, or maybe she just had already had too much
Back inside she went, into that isolating ice, and shut her eyes from the world, from me
But what she never saw was me, lying there frozen on the floor
A shard of ice piercing through my heart
It’s cold. So, so cold.
And as I lay dying, I watch the ice grow thicker, slowly expanding towards me
I lie here waiting to be encased and buried by her
I had a friend who I talk to nearly everyday just needed to take a few days to be alone, but instead of just asking me for some space she started ignoring me, to which I overreacted by spamming her with multiple texts a day to which she (rightfully so) got angry about. This is just the story I envisioned surrounding the situation
John Stevens Nov 2013
The little girl stood, with cone in hand. The ice cream on the ground.
The tears welled up in her eyes, as people stood around.
Tears fell like rain, her heart was breaking, she didn’t know what to do.
Then through the tears, saw grandpa kneeling… Saying, “Grandpa’s here for you.”

Grandpa said to the ice cream man “Another ice cream please.”
“Stack it high and pack it tight.” “We’ve got things to do and see.”
The little girl melted into his arms The sorrow turned to joy.
When grandpa’s near, all is better For grandpa’s little girl.

Oh, grandpa loves you Lucy Girl Forever and always.
When things get tough, call on Him He will lead you through the maze.
When you get to Heaven, many years from now. You will find me waiting there.
I’ll be by the ice cream stand a waiting Just for you to get there .

The little girl grew to a fine young woman. The time went by so fast.
She learned of things not of this world. The things that will always last.
You could see grandpa and the young girl, Walking side by side through life.
When things got tough they called on Him, To help them through the strife.

Oh, grandpa loves you Lucy Girl Forever and always.
When things get tough, call on Him He will lead you through the maze.
When you get to Heaven, many years from now. You will find me waiting there.
I’ll be by the ice cream stand a waiting Just for you to get there .

The young woman cried when grandpa died. As they lowered him in the ground.
Tears welled up, in her eyes As people stood around.
Tears fell like rain, her heart was breaking. She knew just what to do.
So she looked up high to see the Father And heard “Grandpa’s here for you.”

Your, grandpa loves you Lucy Girl Forever and always.
When things get tough, call on Me I will lead you through the maze.
When you get to Heaven, many years from now. You will find him waiting here.
He’ll be by the ice cream stand a waiting Just for you to get here

Oh, grandpa loves you Lucy Girl Forever and always.
When things get tough, call on Him He will lead you through the maze.
When you get to Heaven, many years from now. Your will find me waiting here.
I’ll be kneeling right next to Jesus While I’m waiting for you to get here.

Good night sweet Princess. See you in the morning.
©9-15-06 John Stevens

11-08-2013
Written originally for my grandson Tony (8).  People say we are joined at the hip.  He is a 24/7 little guy and this is how I "wish"/"hope" life will be lived.  I realized I needed to make a copy for Lucy Girl (4) so she will be included.

Ice Cream was written for my grandson Tony (Anthony Stevens) as a reminder how I want to be as an influence in his life. There is also an underlying deeper meaning as to our relationship to God. Our Ice Cream (blessings) hits the ground from time to time because of our neglect or possibly no fault of our own, but God is there if we just look up and see Him kneeling to take us in His arms.

It all started on a Sunday morning when my Pastor said, “imagine a little boy standing there with an empty cone in his hand…. and the ice cream is on the ground. The images came flooding in and by the time first service was over, most of it was written. Since I run the sound system I listen to both Sunday morning services. Much of what I have written about has come from a trigger on Sunday morning or something similar. What do you do when YOUR Ice Cream hits the ground?
It has been sung to a couple of venues.
wayne mockler Mar 2019
We walk out into the cold icy day  and see all the ice people looking at us with a very cold stare whilst we hurry along the  ice paths.  I turn towards lieutenant megs and point towards a lake frozen over  nearby.
The horses tell us to follow them and we  slowly walk along the frozen lake and into a secluded forest way from the ice city.  After walking a few miles we find a secluded  cave of ice and settle down  for  a time to rest.  
After a few hours we wake up and walk through the snow forest to look for a way out.  We all walk  far into  this frozen forest and see  figures in the distance  that look like animals.  
I stand and look in terror to see they are and to my horror they are  wolves made of ice looking at us with a glare of terror in their cold eyes.  I tell lieutenant megs to walk slowly and keep close the horses whilst the wolves crawl along ready to jump on our bodies.  
The wolves follow us with intense  and towards a  wall of ice  and corner us  with their frozen tongues.  We both jump onto the horses backs and we ride over the wall and into  a frozen  garden which leads to a large building in the distance

We walk slowly towards the  building and see a show covered roof with ice walls all around it. A man made of ice  appears at the door of the building  with a stick of ice  and point us to go though.

The horses lead us through the door  and we all follow the  man  into a large room with a table made of snow  and  a throne of ice at the front of the room. I turn to  lieutenant megs and  she looks in amazement at the splendour of this palace of  ice.
We are all taken into this room to rest  and told to lay on ice beds whilst we sit and think about  what we have  come into and what our fate will be in the strange place
written by wayne mockler
ownership  copyright wayne mockler
Lena Waters Jan 2016
Ice
Ice can be cooling and calming and free.
Ice can protect and and aid
destiny.

Ice can be slicing and savage and wild.
Ice can slaughter - man, woman or child.

Ice can be mild and mellow and fresh.
Ice can give refuge from Summer's hot mesh.

Ice can be crueler and sharper and cold.
Ice can decide not to favour the
bold.

Our icy opinions are all black or white,
But grey ice in grey Winter hides in a grey night.
What's your icy opinion?
Leave a comment if you  have one!
;)
Autumn Whipple Jan 2015
in the tumbles of ice and snow
a small spark of a crystal did grow
i sprang out borne, not still
into a world of ice and chill
i loved the ice, the tumbling start
of snowflakes that cascaded through the dark
for what could hold me with such care
as the snow and ice that kissed my hair?
i held my heart in a hardened vice
of a sweetly spun smoldering ice
but i grew older
that layer of solder
quickly cracked over
my heart pounded newly awaken
in a wild flutter, i had forsaken
the quiet isolation of ice and snow
for a life i didn't know
i longed for years for a frosty companion
to lead me through the wild abandon
that people once called love

i crept, i crawled, i spit and spied
i let the hope shroud me with lies
and then one day in Holland dear
i cast about, i found the boy
playing with his small wooden toy
one look at him and i knew it was true
this boy longed to feel the cold too
all at once so far and so near
all at once my path was clear
his name was Kay
and at the break of day
i shattered the mirror
and left a shard of my love clearer
slipped into his heart and eye

but there was a girl, a wretched thing
who in winter still smelled of summer and spring
she had my king by the throat
a sappy pestilence that would revoke
my claim to my sweet one Kay
and ruin my chance for love, that wicked fae

so i came to  him on a day i loved best
and when he came close i clutched him to my chest
for now he saw the beauty seared
into my face, so ruthless and dear
i cried pure flakes as we pulled away
to my joy there was no delay

for he was on the brink of manhood
a sweet young thing that would soon leave the stage in which he stood
and grow to love me safe and sound
in my castle where he would never frown
and would tumble happily among the drifts and cold down

but i'd forgotten the girl, the awful thing
who claimed love for  my soon to be king
like the sun in autumn loves the far away spring
in my carelessness i left her to sing
a song of melancholy with a bitter ring

i took my love far away
to the brink of my frozen quay
and then i first saw him smile
he kissed my cheek and asked to stay awhile

years passed and he grew
i was mother, friend, then lover true
he was pure and sweet and warm
by me Kay would never come to harm
a man who loved the cold and snow
and the woman whom held it, all aglow
he led my frozen heart to love

but the girl crept up and tried to sway
the heart of my beloved Kay
she begged she pleaded, she did whispered and shout
but of my palace dear Kay wouldn't come out
he protested, told her a story
of a beautiful ice queen and a love of glory
but the girl did twisted and pout
she pleaded for my love to cast on me his doubt
i lied, she cried
i'd stolen Kay, so he should cast me aside

i told him once as i felt my heart crack
that if he left he could never come back
the ice and snow would be strangers forevermore
if he walked through that door
he smiled his brilliant way
and said he would never live to see that day
but as he turned to shout out go home
a single tear that that ***** had thrown
landed in his glass shard eye
and with a sigh he followed through the night
the sound of sun and cruel warmth and harsh light

i was dead, abandoned
choked
as though my dearest had cut my throat
she melted away the sight of beauty he once held dear
and his eyes for once weren't clear
the ice and snow now held no power
and he slipped farther away with every hour
until she made him forget all about me

i pledged  i would never have another
and until death came forever my lover
i would never remind him of the loss
of the world she made him toss

so years went by
and with every day he breathed and sighed
laced with crystal goodbyes
she couldn't melt the ice in his heart
and in my frozen palace there were starts
when ever he thought of a life that he quite remember

but ten years later in late December
a young man stood in the snowy weather
calling out my name
in a way so tender
the cold and snow wrapped him in its arms
and bore him away to my broken form
he kissed me once
his lips still cold
and the ice queen learned what it was to truly hold
a willing heart and love, fully thawed and smoldering
i will love this man, my Kay
until the world starts over and makes our hearts say
that a deathless death will be the right way

but until then we dance away the days
in immortal youth
with no decay
for it was a snowy world with just an ice queen
and a molten man smitten with the cold serene.
this was based in the Hans Christian Anderson story The Ice Queen. the first draft was  better but i accidentally deleted it :'(  this is supposed to be in the view of the ice queen, who i always felt bad for. the isolation of winter couldn't be a happy place, and maybe she stole Kay so she would have someone to share the beauty with. and suggestions or comments would be great!
Isabelle Nov 2016
Familiar eyes staring at him
Instantly she was gone with the crowd
Haunted by her melancholic gaze
Like an animal, followed her scent from miles

He ended up in a small ice cream parlor
Dug dug dug dug dug dug dug
His heart singing a song of nervousness
He’s just 2 feet away from her

----------
Four years ago, a boy met a girl..

“Two vanilla ice cream in the largest cone please”
The boy is in queue after her
Out of nowhere stars will light up the room
Only for the two of them

“Vanilla ice cream is my favorite”
“Good, I hate it” he answered back


And the conversation continued
Inside and outside the ice cream parlor
They just clicked for each other
They just..

It became their new favorite place
He started to love vanilla ice cream too
No need to state the obvious
Their eyes spoke of affection and love

----------
He ended up in a small ice cream parlor
Dug dug dug dug dug dug dug
His heart singing a song of nervousness
He’s just 2 feet away from her

----------
It was the place where they first met
Where they first talked
Where they realized they like each
Where they confessed their feelings
Where their love turned as sweet as a vanilla ice cream

Two years ago when he last visited that place
Two years ago when he last tasted vanilla ice cream
Two years ago when he last saw her
Two years ago when they broke up
They ended in the same place where they have started

----------
Sweating despite the cold weather
Tongue seems to be tied
Palpitating heart, butterflies in his stomach
But it wasn’t her, it will never be her
Because she was gone, she was gone

----------
He wakes up from the bittersweet dream
It was just a dream, a dream, a dream
A beautiful yet a sad dream that will haunt him forever
And then he remembers, it is her 2nd death anniversary today

And instead of flowers,
Vanilla ice cream is what he brings on her graveyard


She will forever haunt him,
For their love is a love that is hard to forget
- A once in a lifetime kind of love..
#pcNovember2016boymeetsgirl
Dani Oct 2018
A beautiful mountain, white with snow
A light breeze, a wind ice cold
Frozen in time, I stare in awe
Under ice is a heart so raw
Diamonds glistening, ice shimmering
An imbalance of time and minds dancing
Beauty and despair frozen in ice
Waiting for summer sun to pay the price
Still and quiet, but the pain screams in your head
Frozen in place beside your bed
Staring into the pains
A hundred rocks flow through your veins
A thousand needles biting skin
Outward calm, but screaming within
Summer warmth approaching
Ice slowly melting, diamonds gleaming
With perseverance you break the ice
It falls, shattering, what a sacrifice
I watch as there is nothing I can do
As your body shed the ice encasing you
It is beauty and despair, intertwined
Dripping to the floor, Oh how I adore
To watch you come alive. An uproar!
No longer frozen, full of motion
As if watching a glistening ocean
You stand tall, high above us all
For you melted the ice, made it fall
Leaving only a memory
Your fight so strong, dauntlessly
Standing, living, believing, and yet...
Your feet are wet, so with regret
I must inform of icy returns
Gone are the days of summer sunburns
For ice will come, it will be done
Your body shunned from our warm sun
You will freeze again, be lost again
Icy diamonds will shine like back then
You must remain strong while waiting,
Frozen in time that is crippling
Shed your ice everyday, overcome
One day Summer will stay and all this will be done
Auto-immune diseases has riddled my mother, and some days myself. Sometimes it feels as though you are frozen in ice waiting for the pain to end. I remember my mother being up at 4 am to allow body to "shed the ice" and get through the stiffness and pain that came every night.
robin moyer Oct 2011
A cold snap: focus sharpens. Crystal clings to every branch
defining more than outline: Long frozen memories want to play.
Youth, buried in years, drifts; re-emerges in layers as I carefully button my coat.
Frigid air; a sharp crack of winter’s whip—for a brief moment I cannot breathe.
Combination of stark colors: world reduced to winter green, black and white.
My own world's akin to the front step; encased in ice.

Laughter shatters the perfect silence as children spill out to play.
Stark softens to water-colored blends. Children: each zipped in winter coat,
with scarf flapping as they run, whitened puffs of air trailing as they breathe.
Boots crunch, footstep designs break ****** white
as I balance, frozen: Journey begun on steps of ice.
When did the magic cease? Somewhere I took a lonely branch.

Burning bush edges the stairs; fiery leaves still stubbornly cling—a coat
of frost blurring red to pale, not unlike distant memory. I breathe
time. Wind whisks snow - nature’s blender. White
out. The bottom step vanishes, but the ice
remains. With naught to grasp, I reach for a branch,
but fall into the fire. The ice burns my face. I am too old; tears play.


Yet muscles defrost, bones aren’t splintered ice and I breathe
a sigh of relief. Flailing flightless wings I snow angel the white
powder on the walk in efforts to rise. I am conquered, the ice
is master here. Direct line of vision: A walking stick stuck to branch;
frozen in time. Dead. Realization sears, I won’t play
that game. A cardinal perches on the split rail fence, his scarlet coat

a crimson memory flash. I remember soaring: red rails against white
on my flexible flyer as I raced the wind down hills worn to ice.
The sharp turn at the bottom taken tilted to shoot across the branch
of the river, scattering skaters. For hours, I’d play
returning, blue lipped to my grandmother’s warm bread. My coat
soaked through, the hearth blazing so hot I could barely breathe.

Smiling at myself, sitting in the snow, I feel the ice
of age crack and my mittened hands form a snowball. I eye the branch
but begin to build a snowman. I haven’t forgotten at all. Rising, I play
with the day, feeling joy as brisk air renews. No matter, now, my coat
isn’t nearly warm enough, I am warmed by the past remembered. I breathe
in and the canvas that is I, again, is white.

No longer shrouded in ice, I branch
off in new directions. For in play, imagination takes mere white
and paints a fresh new coat. It takes more than air to breathe.
Robin Carretti Aug 2018
We are heating up
A-glow--- A-star--- A-blaze
Many other well-lit planets
She's luminous like no other
Simply crazed__Fairytales

*She's Peach-Fruitti-Tutti
Godiva loves nuts
All the melt in's
*
Mr. Bacio-Hazelnut*
Mr. Pistacchio he got his nose______

Inside their sweets____Pinnochio
She's the Light-up Icecream Cone  

Moods are like ice cubes
hot and cold websites
I prefer cold zone
Feeling like
Eskimo in Alaska


Miss Prima Donna
Oh! Donna is her name
Gelatos are not all the same
We are not here to have
special privileges

Robin lost some ruffles
Polar bears ice Igloo
College boys with their sports mug
Polo shirts Santa hoo duffle bags
We don't know what she knows
or what he likes the stars
of the Cosmo we are not
here to win someone's love
OH! Yes Lotto

We are not professors or wizards
Harry Potters, they have some
Pots not a fan of pans got
some ****
**** so cool menthol smoke indeed
Around the Gelato in eighty days
The Race of a drive

computer clicks one-day creation flag
Hens and chicks laid the golden egg

Mr. Egghead meeting Conehead

His tasters choice  
 She loves Mr. Maxwell Mansion
This is Italy the Art sculptures
Sweet Gelato lips say a
thousand words of pleasure
We travel with Exotic lovebirds
Saving the Ice blue diamond
Icecream wreck what a she
gains more than a pound
Mama Mia,
not the Chia job plant
 Over the rainbow
chill out pants
Having Gelato clean
as mint float

To the waffle cone top
of the mountain sugar coat
Niagara Falls here
"Gelato calls"

What spaghetti my name is
Carretti

Mr. Alfredo his physique and
passion for food
Feeling like the comics
Having fun marveling
Carvel walking through
the love tunnel
  
Hot ladies how do they ever
Decide iced up inside

Hothead Alfredo throws
the dough
She coughs he laughs
The pizza everyone's
the head is turning beet red
Something is burning exorcist,
Lady in red pizza list

Back in Brooklyn best
Pizza and Italy (Rome) Venice (Florence)
But Bensonhurst Saturday night fever
With Nightingale Mr. Chippendale
He's chatting away on his cell phone

With her Gelato looking at the
stars of the men spiritual experience
The Cosmos feeling meltdown presence
St Thomas sunny like yellow
gelato melting

Being a saint please don't faint
A food critic dessert
*** a hex playful flirt
T Rex mighty green lime
The love fallout of coconut
He's the hottest man
on earth Pluto
Being whole flavor or 1/2 pint
of Vanilla Sky scholar or
Intermission Icecream internship
The Canadian cup another trip

  Nike air what an ice cream pair
Going back to New York City
Rockettes icecream kick
He's on his time feeling the royalty
Lets bow to the dogs best friend
French barrette in her ice blue
Corvette, she is 'Ice Queen"
Super Ice me, Hero

Do what the Romans do
Lend me your warm soul of hands
Getting married Italian medieval rings
For my next Gelato adventure
escape be polite on Google
Mr. Alfredo loves all kinds of noodle
The shape of Cone's to come in her head

Not an Antman, please or fly by night
Icecream Cone Head Batman
*But I am a woman named Robin
Christopher Robin, Robin Hood
Why are boys and girls name alike
**** good humor lady
Good humor truck
Where is her order head chef
shrimp scampi
In the islands of Sorrento

What a time for ironing
What a waffle shirt eating
his waffle
Icecream with ladybugs and dirt
So many varieties mental thing
Everything icecream you scream
What a college Varsity every year  
"Hot lady Gelato's" head of the dean
list oh! No
[Mr. Alfredo} ice cream chair with
another Gelato pair
Chiao for now
Gelato went a little too far I love Gelato lets travel with Robin and get some unbelievable Gelato but we need to go to Italy I was there it's amazing
Maxim Keyfman Oct 2018
ice statues ice statues
oh they again with me oh so much time
o ice statues ice statues o
you again with me again after so much
time and yet I have long been a beard
but I have been sitting in a cold forest for a long time

ice statues and my friends and my love
and my everything and my notes and my notes are gone
ice statues are all around and even that
it was and what will be ahead because our
life viewing all the results we did
or rather what we call birth is death

ice statues ice statues and huge goes
there is a huge flow through the current through time
oh my friends oh my love oh friends oh time
so much so I went and forgot everything though
now I am there I remember everything and I forgot everything
I do not exist for a long time that I am just ice

17.10.18
Maria Mitea Sep 26
Sleeping on the ice,
Dreaming on the ice,
Hiking on the ice,
Packing on the ice,

Finally,
Morning comes,
Gears on,
Maxim precision,
Adrenaline rush,
Heart pumping blood,
Taking risk
Big walk chills
on my spine
Feet ready on the ice,

Face to face,
Breathe to breathe,
We find each other’s flow,
Instead,
Focusing on our strength,
We breathe together
and feel each other’s weaknesses,
Interior
Liquid waters,
Exterior
Concave,
I feel tall,
Convex,
I feel small
Curbs and caves,
I deeply respect,
Pray for indulging
in such endeavour,

In between
Inhales,
Exhales
Pinch the ice
with an axe,
Gently ballet starts
On the ice
Squat, kazachiok
Burning muscles
Stand tall,
Cheering swing
What a rush,
Flying ice
Sheer magic.

In the Northern
West of Canada
I walked on the ice,
I dreamed on the ice,
I lived on the ice.
Rachael Taylor Apr 2016
No one there to touch, to feel,
To hold every second it strikes me
In this hellish agony

You brought me out, but were never there to comfort me, comfort me, comfort me
Don’t remember how you could have made me this way, this way

There’s ice spilling from my voice
From the deepest pit of my heart
There’s ice spilling from my voice
Loneliness is my only art

Ah, ah ah, ah ah
Ah, ah ah, ah ah

Think you can help, I’m unimpressed
Chop away at that iceberg
I’ll make it so you have nothing left

You brought me out, but were never there to comfort me, comfort me, comfort me
Don’t remember how you could have made me this way, this way

There’s ice spilling from my voice
From the deepest pit of my heart
There’s ice spilling from my voice
Loneliness is my only art

Ah, ah ah, ah ah
Ah, ah ah, ah ah
Ah, ah ah, ah ah
Ah, ah ah, ah ah

Formerly, I was in the light
Oh the way I kept the ice in my chest
Now I have been pushed too far
Time to release all my feiry

There’s ice spilling from my voice
From the deepest pit of my heart
There’s ice spilling from my voice
Loneliness is my only art

There’s ice spilling from my voice
From the deepest pit of my heart
There’s ice spilling from my voice
Loneliness is my only art

Ah, ah ah, ah ah
Ah, ah ah, ah ah
Ah, ah ah, ah ah
Ah, ah ah, ah ah
This is a song more than a regular poem soo...
John Stevens Jun 2010
The little boy stood, with cone in hand. The ice cream on the ground.
The tears welled up in his eyes, as people stood around.
Tears fell like rain, his heart was breaking, he didn’t know what to do.
Then through the tears, saw grandpa kneeling… Saying, “Grandpa’s here for you.”

Grandpa said to the ice cream man “Another ice cream please.”
“Stack it high and pack it tight.” “We’ve got things to do and see.”
The little boy melted into his arms The sorrow turned to joy.
When grandpa’s near, all is better For grandpa’s little boy.

Oh, grandpa loves you Tony Boy Forever and always.
When things get tough, call on Him He will lead you through the maze.
When you get to Heaven, many years from now. You will find me waiting there.
I’ll be by the ice cream stand a waiting Just for you to get there .

The little boy grew to a fine young man. The time went by so fast.
He learned of things not of this world. The things that will always last.
You could see grandpa and the young man, Walking side by side through life.
When things got tough they called on Him, To help them through the strife.

Oh, grandpa loves you Tony Boy Forever and always.
When things get tough, call on Him He will lead you through the maze.
When you get to Heaven, many years from now. You will find me waiting there.
I’ll be by the ice cream stand a waiting Just for you to get there .

The young man cried when grandpa died. As they lowered him in the ground.
Tears welled up, in his eyes As people stood around.
Tears fell like rain, his heart was breaking. He knew just what to do.
So he looked up high to see the Father And heard “Grandpa’s here for you.”

Your, grandpa loves you Tony Boy Forever and always.
When things get tough, call on Me I will lead you through the maze.
When you get to Heaven, many years from now. You will find him waiting here.
He’ll be by the ice cream stand a waiting Just for you to get here

Oh, grandpa loves you Tony Boy Forever and always.
When things get tough, call on Him He will lead you through the maze.
When you get to Heaven, many years from now. Your will find me waiting here.
I’ll be kneeling right next to Jesus While I’m waiting for you to get here.

Good night sweet Prince. See you in the morning.
©9-15-06 John Stevens
Written for my grandson Tony (5).  People say we are joined at the hip.  He is a 24/7 little guy and this is how I "wish"/"hope" life will be lived.

Ice Cream was written for my grandson Tony (Anthony Stevens) as a reminder how I want to be as an influence in his life. There is also an underlying deeper meaning as to our relationship to God. Our Ice Cream (blessings) hits the ground from time to time because of our neglect or possibly no fault of our own, but God is there if we just look up and see Him kneeling to take us in His arms.

It all started on a Sunday morning when my Pastor said, “imagine a little boy standing there with an empty cone in his hand…. and the ice cream is on the ground. The images came flooding in and by the time first service was over, most of it was written. Since I run the sound system I listen to both Sunday morning services. Much of what I have written about has come from a trigger on Sunday morning or something similar. What do you do when YOUR Ice Cream hits the ground?
It has been sung to a couple of venues.  No it is not recorded.
Arabella May 2015
Ice
Ice is what people slip on,
Cars crash on,
And animals die on

Ice is what makes you be able to walk
on water

Ice is unforgiving,
Haunting you.

Ice is like a cold, sharp knife
piercing your heart

Ice is the last thing you see
when it is too thin

Ice is what is between life or death

You plunge
or,
you keep yourself upright
and let the ice hold you
This is a weird poem, but why not
The Good Pussy Sep 2014
.
                                      I
                                 scream
                             you scream
                          we  all  scream
                          for ice cream. I
                          scream you scr
                          eam we all scre
                          am for ice  crea
                          m. I scream  yo
                          u scream we al
                          l  scream for ic
                          e cream. I  scre
                          am you scream
                          we all scream f  
                          or ice cream.  I
               scream you scream we all
           scream for ice cream.   I scream
              you scream       we all scream
                  for ice                 cream.
in the years between 1100 and 1167 there were two doctors who lived in peking in china

who were looking after the townsfolk, they didn’t have the technology they have today, just coca cola

and methane and yetta, which is now currently known as ICE and they had mould, which helped in

the process of deep cuts and ebrasions, one doctor was harry darker and with him was his wife franceska

darker, and they changed the feel of china, saving people’s lives, you see back then, anger was the most

desirable thing, which meant, if you got angry, you have to wait even longer, harry darker was the ICE king

and loved to experiment with it to one day end the world of suffering, and also harry gave methane to kids

when they had chest colds, but methane wasn’t the best thing for it, but there was nothing else, so they

had to make do with methane, franceska specialised aliens, you see let me explain that further, you see

people are aliens and every day we have to understand that aliens are dead earthlings and what people heal’

themselves up there with, should heal well, down here on earth, you see franceska used to go around on foot with methane

and ICE in her backpack ready to heal the wounded chinese travellers who are going about their journeys, and

franceska was so good at her job, she was asked to be the doctor aboard the boat to england to help make people better,

unfortunately harry wasn’t allowed to leave china because he didn’t have a 1100s passport, which was a medicine license

you see harry just knew what he was doing, and nobody knew what he was doing, but then he met franceska, who was a

licensed doctor, but of all the things franceska did to help harry, giving him a license wasn’t at the top of her list, and besides

which franceska knew that there wasn’t a hope in hell for the authorities to find out the truth, so they just turned the other cheek

and then franceska boarded the boat and was ready for a voyage of a lifetime to visit London in england, on the way there, 13 paople

saw franeska, complaining about back aches, which franceska gave them some ICE, and a few people worried that their minds

were starting to go crazy and franceska gave them methane, which today wouldn’t be trusted, but franceska, also helped a few of

the ships children, by giving them ICE, to calm them down, and then, franceska went down to the kitchen to have her lunch getting

lots of good replies as she passes and days and days went by, as franceska was seeing patients and then they entered the united kingdom

where they dropped off the chinese immigrants and picked up the british immigrants going to china, and franceska sat down at the british port

hoping that, she can finish this journey as she missed harry, and on the way back to china, some of the british went to franceska for medical help

but the british were too proud to let her help them, because for the simple reason, they didn’t believe in this kind of medicine despite it is this medicine

or death and then henry the 5th came in to visit franceska complaining about stomach cramps, and franceska gave him methane and mould from cheese

to rub on the stomach 3 times a day, and this might sound crazy, but this plan was smart enough to work and henry the 5th did the wrong thing, you see he

overdosed on methane and ate the mould, which wasn’t a great idea and franceska said to henry that wasn’t your smartest decision, wasn’t it and henry said

i am sorry, i just have got a decease of when i have something in my room, i will eat it, and franceska said, ok i will give you some ICE, but you mustn’t overdose

because this drug can be fatal and this made henry scared to overdose and took the ICE and went to his room and this time he didn’t overdose on it, but

the methane was beginning to make him feel sick, after him overdosing on it, and then david greatless came in to see franceska complaining about really bad

stomach cramps, maybe from the poison from the fish they had at dinner and Franceska gave him ICE, to settle his stomach down and after 2 days of taking

the ICE his stomach stopped aching and when they arrived back in china, franceska went to harry and they went about their normal practice, and people were injured

left right and centre and franceska in about 4 weeks, was asked to be on the boat to the USA and, this was a very bad journey as franceska had her hands full

with a flu epidemic and everyone got the flu, especially the ship’s crew, and then the boat stopped because nobody was fit enough to steer it, with the only well

person being franceska, who didn’t know how to steer a boat, but she did try and the boat ran out of gas and franceska fell off the boat into the ocean and despite

her losing the methane and ICE overboard, franceska swam with all her might, to hopefully find land and then after she almost gave up hope, she arrived on

this island which is now known as Australia, on the port of adelaide, and despite franceska being a helper of all, she arrived at port adelaide really cold and hungry

and had no memory of why she was in the ocean, franceska went under the name of terri halter and lived in a rundown farm near where the adelaide cbd is now

and while she was there she drew these lovely pictures which made the townsfolk very happy and in about 3 more weeks franceska died and if you are worried about the boat

someone noticed them and they were saved, but that was franceska’s last ship as a doctor, and that ship became one of her art works, in her next life, franceska was betty robson

who lived in a place which is currently california, and she loved that family

i am franceska butler and i looked over harry in china, for 5 years before harry sadly passed away

as i said, i am franceska
Kate Lion Mar 2015
how would you let the ice cream melt
if you didn't want it anymore

would you take a blowdryer to its droopy shape
whisper you're sorry but just can't stay

would you compliment the ice cream
watch it blush
let the heat rise to its face
then whisper you're sorry but you're going away

why would you let the ice cream melt
if you crave its texture and taste

when something isnt good for you,
perhaps it is better to let it bleed through
so that you can carry on

would you abandon the ice cream
there on the kitchen table
congealed and sticky and unwanted
letting the drips from the carton signify all of the tears
the ice cream would shed in your absence
ice
Cold, blue, wet, fragile, brittle, hard, steam solidified, water hardened, anger, fear, white, tensile,

steam solidified,
water hardened; you lie
in her wintered veins.

why?

"If she's awake, I'll **** you."
staccato words spoken
like a knife blade thrown...
...with malice and intent.

Her father's voice
from the bedroom next door
no sound of her mother.

The female child cowered
under her candy-striped sheets
their usual soft comfort
unnoticed

footsteps
door handle moving
light seeping into her sanctuary

her heart thudded
trying to escape her chest
as she held her breath.

"Please, please don't hear me."
a silent plea as
fear snatched her in its icy grip.

She could smell him
smell the cigarettes
smell his power.

She waited.

He backed out
returned to her mother
between her heartbeats
she heard the slap

"You are lucky this time,
*****. She sleeps."
Heavy footsteps down the stairs
punctuated by her mother's tears.

                            ~~~~~~~~~~~

The girl child had only ever blamed her mother
decades of anger and bitterness
the memory of this night buried deep.
Crazed hard ice beneath the tundra of her life.

In the third decade of the girl child's life
her mother died
alone
never forgiven for what she hadn't done
nor for what she had.

The ice remained in the girl child's veins
If anything, thicker...harder.

Then in her fifth decade this ice became water
as with the passage of life the tundra thawed
and rising with it to the surface
the truth.

Then what?

The girl child worked hard at staying warm
at keeping the ice at bay.
Not easy.

Nothing was ever said to her father.

In her sixth decade the girl child's father died
embraced in his daughter's arms
forgiven for what he had done
and for what he hadn't.

The woman had finally thawed
she was properly warm
her own love
finally able to flow
John Stevens Jul 2010
The little girl stood, with cone in hand. The ice cream on the ground.
The tears welled up in her eyes, as people stood around.
Tears fell like rain, her heart was breaking, she didn’t know what to do.
Then through the tears, saw grandma kneeling… Saying, “Grandma’s here for you.”

Grandma said to the ice cream man “Another ice cream please.”
“Stack it high and pack it tight.” “We’ve got things to do and see.”
The little girl melted into her arms The sorrow turned to joy.
When grandma’s near, all is better For grandma’s little girl.

Oh, grandma loves you Payton Girl, forever and always.
When things get tough, call on Him He will lead you through the maze.
When you get to Heaven, many years from now. You will find me waiting there.
I’ll be by the ice cream stand a waiting Just for you to get there .

The little girl grew to a fine young lady. The time went by so fast.
She learned of things not of this world. The things that will always last.
You could see grandma and the young lady, Walking side by side through life.
When things got tough they called on Him, To help them through the strife.

Oh, grandma loves you Payton Girl Forever and always.
When things get tough, call on Him He will lead you through the maze.
When you get to Heaven, many years from now. You will find me waiting there.
I’ll be by the ice cream stand a waiting Just for you to get there .

The young woman cried when grandma died. As they lowered her in the ground.
Tears welled up, in her eyes As people stood around.
Tears fell like rain, her heart was breaking. She knew just what to do.
So she looked up high to see the Father And heard “Grandma’s here for you.”

Your, grandma loves you Payton Girl Forever and always.
When things get tough, call on Me I will lead you through the maze.
When you get to Heaven, many years from now. You will find her waiting here.
She’ll be by the ice cream stand a waiting Just for you to get here

Oh, grandma loves you Payton Girl Forever and always.
When things get tough, call on Him He will lead you through the maze.
When you get to Heaven, many years from now. Your will find me waiting here.
I’ll be kneeling right next to Jesus While I’m waiting for you to get here.

Good night sweet Princess.  See you in the morning
©9-15-06 John Stevens
David Ehrgott Nov 2015
Open the ice-box take out some ice cream
We're going to play some ice hockey
And when all the fighting's done
Ice packs are what we will need
The ice cap has no lice, mice, rice
Heard Bo Bice's vice was dice
The ice age was a time not nice
Ice breaker or an ice-boat
They both let ships move forward
The ice that's in the ice-house
has icicles that formed
The baker's work is now complete
Icee or Italian ices
The icing's on the cake.  Too sweet?
Abby Lock3 May 2017
I stare at the ice. My cheeks are burning, my hands are trembling. She looks at me staring at it. I look away quickly but look back at the ice when I see her head turn. She knows I need it. I see it melting in the cups she is setting out. Water. I need water.

Beside me is the wing, and a propeller is thrumming so loud it's making my head ache. I can imagine it spinning so fast the separate prongs are a blur, but I cannot see them move. There are windows in front of and behind my seat, but just far enough away to where I cannot easily see out of them. Just the red of the wing at a glance. A glimpse of white, and the red.

She steps towards me... but stops at the row in front of me. Water? She taps another woman's knee. Would you like some water? Oh! No. Was her response. What? I think.  But it's free. She's giving it to you for free. I'm next. But then she turns away. Heads back towards the front. Noooo... she will offer me some?

Beside me the engine keeps thrumming and humming and drumming into my ears, into my head. The whole cabin shutters and squeaks and groans. A bolt is spinning loudly somewhere behind me. Maybe turning looser and looser until it falls off completely. This entire tin can is a *******. I am stuck inside the biggest *** toy ever created. We are vibrating up in the clouds, but who are we bringing pleasure? We are just the ones unlucky enough to get stuck inside.

Finally she turns to me. She is holding a tray full of tiny water bottles and small cups of ice. Water? She asks. Ice? Umm... both? I test her. She barely nods and hands me a plastic cup and a bottle. As I take them from her the coolness from the ice cup caresses my hand. Ice. Slowly I pour half of the tiny bottle into the tiny cup, watching the liquid. I take a sip and savor the taste. Water.

After a few sips, I dip my finger into the cup. Just the very tip. I take the droplet and smear it across my cheek. Then the other cheek. Cool, and refreshing on my flushed and burning face. Then it's gone. She comes back later and asks. More water? More ice? Yes. Both. This time I am not as careful; I pour as much of the bottle into the cup as I can. I'm holding the lid with one hand and the bottle with the other. The small plastic cup is clenched between my thighs. I try to set the bottle down after ******* the lid on but it falls the the floor. I lean across to pick it up and feel the cold. My water is spilling into my crotch, soaking my pants. My ****** feels cold and it's nice. Very nice. It is sad that all the water will be evaporated by the time we land.

After so much water I need to ***. I look around then stand slowly. Two steps forward. She steps aside. I grasp the door handle and step in, closing it after me. My hip touches the door and the other side. My elbows hit the walls. I turn around and ***. No sink to wash my hands. The room is stuffy, worse than the cabin. The smell of my own ***** is so strong I stifle a cough. When I flush, blue liquid seeps down from the top to the hole that opened for my waste. That's normal. But it keeps going. And going. Stop! I think. There's been enough water already wasted. As soon as I start to manually stop it, it shuts off. Good. I grab a sanitized napkin, rub it between my hands then go back to my seat.

The funny thing about this all, is that I am sitting in 3A. That is in the second row. This... this is first class.

Ironic. This is. Flying up so high and free... but still needing water. No matter where you go you need it. But even more ironic, is that when I crane my head back to look out the widow, I catch a glimpse of the ocean beneath us. So much water that we can't drink.
This is an experimental prose piece I wrote about a flight I recently took. (I was flying United btw.) The things that happened in the story are true, if a bit dramatized. Let me know what you think about it! I would love to hear your thoughts on this experimental piece :)
Asha Nicole Jun 2012
Ginger twine wrapped tightly round his finger.
A slight smile across his even tighter lips.
Wound around his liquid thoughts
His twiney figers grasp the drinking glass
filled to the brim with sweet, sweet ice tea
Its rich brown shade mocking the color of the sky

It is here, in this place, where lemon lovers meet
You easily pinpoint the kind of souls they carry,
Simply by the shade of their sweet iced tea
And they carry that ginger twine, tightly wound
They carry that coil everywhere they go

Many ask if it is a symbol, or subliminally literal?
A invitation, or a silent and quiet warning?
But its just that ginger twine and sweet ice tea
I too, carry them everywhere with me
Golden in the sun, red in the mid-light
Circular and quite rough with deep rouge ridges
they're placebos of purpose simply right, simply true

If you wish to comprehend,shutdown all distraction
Then you will be here now and here you will stay
Humbly accept your ginger twine and ice tea
for that, my friend, is exactly happened to be me
and the way every sip slides down my thought
It tastes of determination, solitude, and hope
Oh how I love that ginger twine and sweet ice tea

Ginger twine wrapped tightly round her finger.
A slight smile across her even tighter lips.
Wound around her liquid thoughts
Her twiney figers grasp the drinking glass
filled to the brim with sweet, sweet ice tea
her rich brown shade mocking the color of the sky


Ginger Twine and Sweet Ice Tea
Wrapped tightly around me
John Stevens Jul 2014
The little girl stood, with cone in hand. The ice cream on the ground.
The tears welled up in her eyes, as people stood around.
Tears fell like rain, her heart was breaking, she didn’t know what to do.
Then through the tears, saw grandpa kneeling… Saying, “Grandpa’s here for you.”

Grandpa said to the ice cream man “Another ice cream please.”
“Stack it high and pack it tight.” “We’ve got things to do and see.”
The little girl melted into his arms The sorrow turned to joy.
When grandpa’s near, all is better For grandpa’s little girl.

Oh, grandpa loves you Lady Sye Girl Forever and always.
When things get tough, call on Him He will lead you through the maze.
When you get to Heaven, many years from now. You will find me waiting there.
I’ll be by the ice cream stand a waiting Just for you to get there .

The little girl grew to a fine young woman. The time went by so fast.
She learned of things not of this world. The things that will always last.
You could see grandpa and the young girl, Walking side by side through life.
When things got tough they called on Him, To help them through the strife.

Oh, grandpa loves you Lady Sye Girl Forever and always.
When things get tough, call on Him He will lead you through the maze.
When you get to Heaven, many years from now. You will find me waiting there.
I’ll be by the ice cream stand a waiting Just for you to get there .

The young woman cried when grandpa died. As they lowered him in the ground.
Tears welled up, in her eyes As people stood around.
Tears fell like rain, her heart was breaking. She knew just what to do.
So she looked up high to see the Father And heard “Grandpa’s here for you.”

Your, grandpa loves you Lady Sye Girl Forever and always.
When things get tough, call on Me I will lead you through the maze.
When you get to Heaven, many years from now. You will find him waiting here.
He’ll be by the ice cream stand a waiting Just for you to get here

Oh, grandpa loves you Lady Sye Girl Forever and always.
When things get tough, call on Him He will lead you through the maze.
When you get to Heaven, many years from now. Your will find me waiting here.
I’ll be kneeling right next to Jesus While I’m waiting for you to get here.

Good night sweet Princess. See you in the morning.
©9-15-06 John Stevens

07-14-2014 For Sye
Ice cream ninety nine
I know you make my lips taste fine
I need a big one mister
give me your large ice cream, ninety nine

We hear you coming
with lame tunes, Mmm pretty shifty
but we love to see you here
in our slum of a f>>king city

Yet Ice cream man
your sauce is tasty
and the blood you put on
makes kid's like us factory

Come back ice cream man
just one more ninety nine
come on ice cream man
let us bleed you dry again


By Christos Andreas Kourtis aka Neonsolaris

By NeonSolaris

© 2013 NeonSolaris (All rights reserved)
namii Mar 2014
Ice cream dates
Aren’t sweet and fun and loving
They hide insinuations of
A measure of contest
Who crumbles under the hidden loathing
Who remembers the taste of ice cream
I don’t
All I remember is the searing coldness
And the marveling
At how the ice cream doesn’t melt
In my red hot furious festering
Banal talk, empty chat
I lick my spoon, I gaze at you
The smile, the slow, ice cream cold smile
Keith J Collard Jan 2013
Resident Facebook by Keith Collard

{remnants of a blood and ice coffee stained diary}


23april1996,

Been working at this mansion for at least four months now. Fellow co-workers are friendly enough. The pharmeceutical researchers are very pompous with their exact demands. Im in charge of the food storage and refridgeration for the mansion. It is the only modernly powered facet of this mansion. Besides the labs in the basement(from which I only heard).


26april1996,

This mansion is too creepy, the architect designed the living quarter and main facade of the mansion in a 1920 neo gothic fashion--with gas lamps and gothic paintings. Every device, even the typewriters in the mansion are old fashioned mechanical. A top researcher told me in casual conversation that these doors and clocks are more durable than current electronic means, built in the same fashion as the pyramids and stonehenge--he was pointing out all the clocks and engraved doors in the dining hall as he was speaking,while I was putting out the food. He's the usual eccentric for as these researchers go, he told me the company president paid him to design classical mantraps along the mansion and guardhouse to keep workers from straying, encrypted with runes and riddles as keys(some odd ducks).


2may1996,

Mansion workers were given each a laptop today by the head researcher Albert Wesker. This guy is like the James Bond of scientists, dashing and suave with a 9mm berreta at his side(wish we were allowed guns). He wears sunglasses--even at night. He said they experimented with a comunications app the scientists have been using to communicate expeiremental data. The only app available on there is something called Facebook, which the scientists call "fbproto."


5may1996,

The f.bproto is neat, we can watch movies , talk to eachother, and to workers at the pharmaceutical's sister facilities. Everything is monitored by the companies security admins Ive heard. The company will be holding raffles via f.bproto for staffers who could win a chance to participate in "beneficial lab trials" from ***** extension treatment to magnetic wave reducing therapy. Sounds unappealing to me...I put my name down on the site just in case.


6 may1996,Been talking to girl who works in sanitation department underneath the guardhouse, her name is Ada, she said there was an important goverment official flying in to the helipad today. She is pretty cute, and one bright light in this shadowy mansion. message from company, we should join democratic party on fbproto. whatever they say,they're the scientists.


10may1996,

Been stayin up too late posting on f.bproto,the company is posting alot of links, of visual images and sentences I don't quite understand. Ben from mansion cleanin services keeps hitting on Ada,I want to defriend him but want to know what he's doing. I put my cat in fbproto company pic contest,with everyone else who was given lab pets by the scientists, I put little gloves on her paws--Im sure to win.


11may1996,

Karl sent me a message on fbproto that he saw a researcher go into his room, and never saw him leave, and when he went to clean his room the researcher was not in there. This mansion is creepy, I mean a statue of a woman cutting her own throat with the inscription "only death shall set you free,"is that a little gloomy or what. fan of smiley faces on fbproto.;)


12 may 1996

man, the doors are like eight inches thick, solid wood, I locked myself out of my room and tried to shoulder the door in. Well, the door with its inlaid wood carving just laughed at me, it resembles a dragon or snake or someshit with two fern looking wings, red and blue. Spooooky stuff. I had to go get the security admin for the mansion staff living quarters. He unlocked the door, and told me that all the doors are solid oak. I asked him what the words at the bottom of serpent meant, he said it says in latin “ the two wings of the beast are red and blue.” I asked him what the hell that means, he says he didn’t know, but that it has to do with the research the scientists are doing.

I stayed up almost all night on fbproto, at first because my shoulder was killing me, but then it went away, and I kept finding myslelf with a ciqerette in my fingers all the way burnt down and my skin charred, geez, fbproto really takes your mind off things, especially this mansion which reminds me of a sepulcre. That Dan thinks he’s hot stuff, posting himself in his living quarters in the guard house, which is better than the mansion staffs. He get’s to go to the guardhouse recreation room, his profile pic is a bottle of Johnny Walker Red in it’s high end package that looks like a coffin, that him and the guards won at dart’s. It’s not hard to win that when Albert Wesker is on your team, that guy sunk three darts WilliamTell style into the bull’s eye. He tagged me in the picture of the Johnny Walker, *******.


13 may 1996

Locked myself in the walk in freezer today by accident, forgot the code….a researcher let me out finally, and asked if I was alright, I said I was fine, he just looked at me curiously. I was in there to clean out these blue vines, that kept on growing into the ducts and stuff, kept on turning the temperature down. But I won’t lie, I had my laptop with me to pass time, but after a while I couldn’t scroll down because my fingers stopped working , so I pressed the keyboard with my tongue. Ada’s pictures kept me warm, oh how I love her…..I want her so bad.


13may1996

Had a dream about the helicopter ride in and how the dense forest resembled a corpse’s face as we flew past it fast overhead. We touched down on the helipad, and there were dead bodies in the razor wire, they were shaking as if they were in a laughing frenzy from the rotor wash of the helicopter. Then as I entered the main façade (my footstep's echos on the tile seemed to walk away and disapear into the mansion)and stepped on the black and white checkered hall floor, Albert Wesker was there, and he was nicely dressed as a bartender or sumthin, and he asked if " I wanted a ****** mary," and he was squeezing a heart into the glass, then I looked down and there was a hole in my chest where my heart was supposed to be. Then there was a giant ice coffee and dancing with a mirror to moonlight sonata….****** stuff, this mansion is getting to me.


14may1996

dan is such a ****, keeps posting pics of himself shirtless, he was given some experimental hormone from a researcher and is relleshing in it It was some form of energy drink called Red Bull.

Him and Ada are talking more. Message from company to like republican party page(whatever)Daves three eyed frog won fbproto pic contest,grrrr.


15may1996,

there's been more accidents in the mansion and in the labs below. Fred from the kitchen staff cut off his fingers today,and Ive heard through Chris' post that someone fell into the live feed area where they feed animals to their experiments. Bob put his fbproto password(instead of mansioncode) into the mechanical lock at the observatory springing a trap of spikes that spiked his hand to his head and his head to the wall, the featherduster was still in his hand(or face).;(


16may1996,

the scientist with the always grave look has disapeared, the guards said he transferred,but a fellow researcher said he was fired, shame, I liked him.

There is a plant living in my radiator, keeps growing vine-like tendrils, and is turning up the heat...230 friends on f.bproto,woot woot.


17may1996,

the company is handing out promotional ice coffee that they created in the labs to staffers via f.bproto,I wasn't picked, dang,its said to give you "10x human energy and vitality".I became a fan of Backstreet Boys on f.bproto.


18may1996,

karl found a memo from the missing researcher under his bed when he was cleaning out his room, sent me a message via f.bproto,it read that the researcher concluded that the f.b proto had negative effects on living tissue, decreased brain function,increased tendencies for violence,and not worth the sublimal control contract with the goverment, and that both pre-cambrian ferns pose to much liability for a biohazard and show signs of sentience.........hmm,im up to 300 friends now.


19 may 1996,

more accidents in mansion, Albert Wesker sent message to staffers that he was just promoted to Head of Security,and that if anybody is caught leaving the premises they will be shot. I wouldn't even dare to go out in the surrounding forest, I hear the wild dogs howlin all night amid those dense woods.just became a fan of Ace of base, they are awesome.


20may 1996,

my roomate looks like a hot messs, his skin looks pale with black blotches and he has pitch black circles underneath eyes, he's been taking the labs new painkillers, man he should change his profile pic. I poked Ada.


21 may 1996

message from f.bproto, "outside guards replaced by Hunters.".....man, def would not go out there now, I fed one of those ape reptile thingy's live feed the other day( Phil went missing, I had to do his job, always doing other peoples work), and the feed for that day was a cow, and this thing just poked the cow to death with its razor claws.

Everyone of those brute raptor things have a skeleton key has their middle razor claw, a researcher said they can hear every door open and shut in the mansion, " If you see one, turn around and go out the door you came, if you enter a door your not supposed to, well....." he didn't finish what he was saying, only walked off muttering "what have I done....".....I friend requested him on fbproto, his last post was "god forgive me." His profile pic was his mansion room, with replicas of insects and a fishtank(that is rumoured to be a model of a giant one in the basement). He disapeared soon after and his fbproto was deactivated.

Joined Labville on fbproto.;)


22may1996,

message from company, the labs are combining expieramental ice coffee,painkillers,and steroids,anyone on f.bproto can partake, and we should document how we feel and what we do on fbproto multiple times a day. Took a pic of myself shirtless, can see spine coming thru skin, and I keep catching the red plant from the radiator posing in the background, or giving me bunny ears......grrrrrrrr.;(


23may1996

went to smoke a spleef on the stone balcony, near the greeen house over looking the forest the other night, they grow all kinds of red and blue marjiauna there.....but there was one of those reptile hunter things, standing guard there, blocking the path, it screamed and almost blew my eardrums out, " okey dokie" I said, and slowly backed away and left......friggin nazis these pharmaceutical people are.

I got rid of the Labville app on fbproto, that game is too hard, I keep running out of butlers to feed my experiments, and my humans keep escaping into the woods. But mostly, Im sick of seeing

Albert Wesker's name with the highest score everytime I play......



25may1996,

Ben said he saw a handfull of scientists and guards on the helipad taking a chopper out. There is more plants decorating the halls, no one knows who put them there, some rooms are blazing hot, others are ice cold. Ben said to not go to the library, everyone who went upstairs to that room has not returned, that the blue ones have took over the cobblestone path to the courtyard where the armory is. Said he saw Kevin in the tangles running up the stone wall on the side, he had a vine going in his mouth and coming out his eye; and he said that the researchers call the red ones "evaginates," for how they trap and slowly eat you(sounds ******). Im not on Ada's top friends list anymore, angry.


26may1996,

the mansion is awash in accidents and fighting, roomate looks like zombie, others look like reptilian muscled gorillaz, others just a blur they move so fast.eyes hurt from staring at f.b proto. Moaning alot. everyone is playing "I Saw the sign" from Ace of Base. Vines keep stealing my hat, and eating people.


25...,

no food, ate cat,mittens and both hearts,gas lights out, dark,everyone walking around with laptops to see,blue fbproto reflections on walls.fml.


2aprol

took chris' ice cofee and killed ben before he took steroids,lol,ate steroids,no one cooking food, getting hungry,guards came,ate em.....bullet hole in my chest......chaaange f.bproto profile pic to facee....my quote is mooohaha... just. saying


23...,

feel strong, fast,gruntin alot, hungry, no food, ate carl, ate red plant, carved him with my skeleton clah....I hate mondays was post on f.bproto,yum ice cofee.


43

oooohhhh, lol,lol, top ada friend list, ,ate benny...b.esisde armpits....he stink.....roarrrrr......oohhh....bullel wond in cheeek....see benny in thar......moving quick......hunman bones everyware....stain carpits....helicupter....mur guards......no.....pulice.....wesker is wit em....ace of base now.....bed of blud..I wit...fur em.....fbproto sez **** starssss ......


2..........rooooooahhhhh,yum, ohhhhhhh,lol,raohh.fml............[rest of transcript unintelligible]

— The End —