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What Lies Under the Village

by S.D. Kang 9 months ago in Short Story · updated 6 months ago
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Among Ice and Silver

What Lies Under the Village
Photo by Jonatan Pie on Unsplash

It must have been several minutes since the loud thundering noise had awakened her. Evina sighed and got up from the bed, taking a look at the mirror before getting changed. Her snow white hair and azure blue eyes, traits which none from her own family shared with her, hadn’t gained her any favors or friends while growing up in the middle of nowhere. This made her into a young woman with a loud mind and a quiet personality.

The village of Insonut was a very small one at the edge of Canada. At the center of the village, there was a pond. Evina’s late grandfather used to tell her that this pond had been there ever since the village was first founded. It was a very dark pond that was completely frozen for most of the year, save for a week or so during the pinnacle of summer. But even when it wasn’t frozen over, the water was far too cold for anyone to take a swim. It had just been something to walk around to get to the general goods store, nothing more.

That is, until an earthquake caused the loudest cracking noise she had ever heard. For a moment she had wondered if the world had split in two. Her first instinct was to stay in bed and act like she hadn’t heard it, maybe then the adults would take care of it. Of course, she quickly remembered that she was one of the adults now and she had to make sure her little sister was safe.

By the time she had gotten properly dressed for the cold outside and stepped out, half of the village was already there, looking at the crevice where the frozen pond had split. As they looked, it seemed like the crevice went down very deep, but that it opened up to some kind of underground cavern. So, of course, the villagers decided that this was a good chance as any to explore what was in the pond all this time.

The first person, to be lowered down by rope, yelled that they needed much more rope, but that there definitely was a large sort of ice cavern that seemed to go all the way to the other side of the village. In the coming weeks, they made ladders and scaffoldings all the way down to the bottom of the lake. There, the walls were made of solid ice, but the ice was just as dark as the water from the pond. One of the men found a fish inside of the ice and decided to pick away at it with a pickaxe. The fish was unmoving, of course, but seemingly still fresh.

At first Evina had wondered how long that fish had been there, and did it awaken every time the pond unfroze just for a week? Was the fish ever even alive? But then someone found green leaves, some debris, and a silver arrow. That last item was enough to make the entire village start digging further for any kind of valuables or relics the dark ice might be hiding.

Someone theorized, from the hardness of the ice, that only a small part from the top of the pond melted during the summer, and that the rest remained completely frozen all year long from the coldness of being so deep underground. How else would this entire vast cavern be here without the pond draining? This, however, brought another question to mind. How did all of this get here?

When the first human body was found, though, none of these questions seemed to matter. Confusion, fear, and excitement ran rampant through the people of Insonut. Once the second and third bodies were found, the villagers seemed to have been divided into two groups. One side seemed to think the pond was bad news and that it should be left alone, claiming dark magic was at hand. The other side was eager to continue digging and exploring the cave further in. This latter group claimed that it was their responsibility as fellow humans to retrieve every long forgotten bodies in the ice, to lay them to rest with a proper burial.

Evina stayed neutral during all the discussions. She got the impression that the second group was more interested in the valuables they could find down in the caves, since the third body had a silver revolver in his hand. Despite that, she kept the thought to herself. After all, she too wanted to explore the caves further to uncover what had happened. A part of her had always been curious about the pond. It’s why she had so incessantly asked her grandfather about it. He was the only one who ever treated her like a normal person and after he passed away, she kept her curiosities to herself, to be forgotten until the day the pond cracked. She bet he would have liked to see all of this under the village.

The bodies seemed so life-like in the ice, one of them even had his eyes still open. All three were mid motion, frozen in time and space by these dark waters. She just had to know. Why did they look so scared and was it her imagination or did it look like they were running from something? What grabbed her attention the most from the bodies, aside from the mystery of it all, was their clothing. It looked like early 1800s clothing.

Was that when the pond appeared? Or had the pond cracked back then as well?

There were too many questions. So when the second group of villagers decided to ignore the pleas of the first group and just keep digging, she left her little sister with their neighbors and went with them. Some of the villagers stayed near where they found the silver arrow, digging around that initial area, and some dug around where they found the third body with the pistol. Yet, a handful of people, including Evina, decided to go in further to see what was at the end of the cave.

There were three men and a woman accompanying Evina. Everyone had their own flashlights, but only two of the men had their own pickaxes. As they kept going further in, Evina thought she started to see some silhouettes inside of the dark icy walls. She assumed they were more bodies, but there seemed to be quite a few around them. This too, she kept to herself, as she had learned at an early age that she shouldn’t say anything that made her sound crazy or paranoid. People ridiculed her already without her sounding like a lunatic. Fortunately, none of her current companions seemed to pay much attention to her, as they were all slightly fidgety as they too looked at their surroundings.

Eventually they all came to a stop when they found a body close enough to the frozen surface, making it clearly visible. The most notable thing about this body was that it was holding what looked to be an old muzzleloader musket, as if he was about to shoot it. The second thing was that his clothing was starkly different from the other bodies they had found before.

“What in the world is this guy wearing?” Donovan Madsen, who lived across Evina, asked.

Evina’s guess was that it was some sort of western European outfit from, perhaps, the 16th or 17th century.

“I don’t know, but looks like those drawings from the history books, doesn’t it?” Carmen Tremblay, from the general goods store, stated.

Evina flashed her light and saw that the frozen man had his eyes and teeth clenched. It was hard to tell his age with his face that way, so she moved her light along his arm and stopped by his hand. His fingers were tightly closed around the gun.

Even his trigger finger.

She slowly moved her light in a straight line, past the muzzle of the musket, and found what looked to be a silver marble not too far from the body.

“Hey, freaky eyes!” Donovan called.

The sudden break in silence scared her, making her turn around to face him immediately.

“Damn, girl!” He said putting a hand up to shield himself. “Don’t turn around so fast, you are scary as is!”

“Did you find something?” Mr. Meyers, from school, asked her.

“I think this man froze as he was shooting the gun. His silver pellet is right here.” She said, wondering what that implied.

“Silver?” Donovan asked, pushing her aside to take a look. “They all have silver weapons, huh?”

“Maybe we will find more of it deeper inside.” Mr. Tremblay, Carmen’s father, said as he started to run to the end of the cave, with Carmen following close behind him. Donovan looked at the silver pellet for a second before running after the Tremblays.

Suddenly Mr. Meyers took out a silver pistol from his jacket. She was sure it was the one found with the third body.

“They are fools, but we shouldn’t stay down here alone, girl.” He said to her.

Evina nodded and went after her other companions. But the farther they went in, the clearer the ice became, and the amount of bodies around them increased at an alarming rate. Suddenly it felt like they were surrounded by a large crowd. All of them seemed to be from different times in history. She spotted a Greek warrior somewhere, an indigenous native, maybe some shaolin monks, possibly some pirates, and were those Roman soldiers? The only thing they had in common was that they all seemed to have been frozen mid-motion and they all were holding some kind of silver weaponry.

Suddenly, they heard a screaming and an earth shattering roar. Evina and Mr. Meyers looked at each other for a moment before running after their companions and the source of the roar.

When they entered one of the biggest open areas in the cavern, they saw big and spiky chunks of ice that looked like frozen blasts. It took Evina a second to realize that her companions were frozen solid, inside of those icy blasts. She turned to tell Mr. Meyers, but found him looking above her, aghast.

She quickly turned and saw a towering white serpent head with piercing blue eyes that seemed to be almost glowing. It was looking directly at her, making her wonder if it was okay to stare into its eyes. It opened its magnificent wings, forming a sort of dome around them. And for a brief moment, Evina thought it was breathtaking, beautiful even.

Suddenly there was a gun shot from behind her, a red flower bloomed on the dragon’s neck as it recoiled back and roared at Mr. Meyers, who instantly froze in his own icy tomb like everyone around him.

When Evina turned back to see the white dragon once more, there stood a young woman, clutching at her bloody neck. Her hair was as white as snow and her eyes, the most azure blue. This woman raised a hand and closed her fist, making the frozen walls around them start closing in.

“She told me one of us would come.” The young woman stated, smiling as her blood flowed. “So I tell you now, one of us will come for you, as you did for me.”

I don’t know what that means.

“Everything will make sense when the time comes.” The woman said as she handed her a frozen rose. “As it did for me. It will be centuries for them, but a blink of an eye for you.”

But my sister-

“Will survive. For it is from her, one of us shall arrive. One with hairs of white and eyes of blue, shunned for being destined to keep the darkness at bay. Like you. Like me.”

Evina touched the rose but pricked her finger. She suddenly felt sleepy but no longer felt cold.

“A roll of thunder shall awake you. As it did me, so sleep, child.”

With that, Evina closed her eyes. The last thought in her mind was that the woman should get her wound checked.

Then, she heard the loudest thunder. No, she had heard this noise before, it had been an earthquake, the loudest cracking noise she had ever heard. She wondered if the world had split in two and awoke.

Short Story

About the author

S.D. Kang

Dreamer by birth, Writer by choice.

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