Ghosts snagged at her, pulling at the jumbled memories that made her up. She wasn’t sure where she was or what was going on but the catches and snatches she recognised as dangerous. The ghosts did not make any sounds, she could not make any sound, they did not seem angry or violent, more like water rubbing away stone, they were erasing her. She knew that, and unlike water they were not harbours for life but somehow alive themselves.

Struggling against the fog of forgetfulness she tried to rise but there was pain, it was short and sharp and seemed metallic, it smelt of rust, the whole world smelt of rust. What she could see now she had prized her eyes open was not metal and it was not red, instead a star field glittered above her with icy plumes of cloud. She could not tell if the cloud was from her breath or tumbling in the sky or… far far away in space, nothing but remnants of a beginning lost in time.

The pain had subsided. She tried to move again – fire this time. Fire or ice, a temperature extreme pierced her and consumed as if lightning had struck and bloomed outwards. She was nothing now but white hot ash. She was sitting, hands palm flat against flat waxy blades of grass, soft until you catch the edges just right. The ghosts were there still, she could feel them like blind worms eating the core of her, moment by moment she was disappearing.

With the cracking of glaciers she wrenched her mouth open, her skin splintered with fracture lines propagating from large gashes to the finest of crazed glazes. At last she screamed, there was nothing but her breath. The breath was a vortex of power pulling and tugging at the ghosts, their lacy fingers of nothing wedged deep in her cortex, it was not enough to save them. They spun into the whirlwind and the air funnel whisked them up into the clouds and stars, they seemed to take the cold with them.

All she craved was to lay down in this new found warmth, to close her eyes once more and dream in safety, but there was no safety here, this she knew, it was one of the few things she knew. In the night she could hear the echos of the ghosts, they had carried the broken bits of her with them, would she need those bits back? Would they ever fit the gaps?

She pushed herself up into a crouch with joints popping with exquisite pain, she was covered in fragments of cloth that ripped softly and fell as she moved. Her sinues twanged and she look up through strands of dirt encrusted hair. A valley lay before her, a camp, with men cooking, animal dung smoke clogged the sky masking her stars, around her the landscape was in change, she was in melt water. She had… slept?

Something was wrong, something was very wrong with her, she smelt the meat as they unwrapped it unconcerned from the oil skin, she heard their movements and she hungered, there was little blood, they had bled and dried the meat to preserve it for the journey, they’re sledge was stuck in the mud. Here there should have been no mud but there was, the landscape was thawing. She… she remembered it freezing?

She shook her head, she needed that meat, it was all she could think of but instinct was strong, they would attack her if she just appeared. She did not stand, that would alert them, she crept forward, matted hair pushed out of her eyes, she pushed the digging implements away, ice cutters? Ice cutters in a wild awakening land they did not understand and now she was to take their food, she had to eat, all she could think of was meat, all she wanted was the iron of the blood, the warmth… of people.

She scurried erratically towards the encampment, she seemed the rich red of the earth, ochre they had called it, they had painted her hadn’t they? Stained her with the blood of Earth, it had all been changing, yes then the world had been locked itself in ice and the peoples begged for the spring to come once again but no god had listened and so they had taken the stranger, the girl.

They had killed her.

Now the spring was coming and she had awoken with the landscape they had freed her too, the light of the fire hurt her eyes, but she had to have the meat, they had already dropped it into the boiling bag. She ground her teeth, too close to sustenance all caution gone she plunged through the startled group and grabbed the bag, scalding herself, her waxen flesh adding to the cooking smells of meat, she barely noticed.

Screams and spears followed her into the night, but wide eyes of fear told her that they would not follow her into the changing wilds, out of the fire glow she fished the meat slithers out and chewed their sweet toughness. The night looked dark and dangerous, she wanted the people, wanted their warmth, but they had garrotted her and thrown her into the ice whole and then filled it with water to freeze or melt as the spirits saw fit.

Those she had loved had betrayed her, had turned her over after dressing her for a wedding, she thought there was love – there had been laughter and joy but not hers as they had wedded her to the winter in the hope she’d bring the spring, she the stranger, she the outsider. Betrayed. Expendable.

She’d wanted to be with them then hadn’t she? She had wanted to stay, wanted their warmth, and they froze her… Dropping the bag she clutched her matted hair and screamed horse and sore into the darkness. They would hunt her now she had awoken, she’d had a name once, she could not remember it but she did remember how to kill, she needed warmth, she needed people. She heard their clumsy stalking and smiled, she was still hungry.

Posted: Monday, February 20th, 2017 @ 2:51 pm
Categories: The Punks World.
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