The Legend Of The Ice Mole
How to break a curse
The Breaking of the Ice Mole
That mole has hid in that mountain for almost ten centuries. He’s been drinking the stale blood from everyone that enters his fens. The warrens of despair are just one of the ways to expire in his clutch. The tick tock of your thoughts is another as you traverse the pitch blackness of his cavern. It is there you will hear the troubled waters down of his fetid river. Where worms make up the river bank. Where the undulating current is created by their wiggle. I see the terror in my dreams. He started digging long ago, after a tryst he can barely remember. He promised to hold her in his thoughts forever and side with her wishes until he died. That was more than 900 years ago and since then he has trudged on making life miserable for the adventurers down in the valley. It is true, the king wronged him. Kept his daughter from the mole, then lied about it. Their story is one of the cruelty of power, the frailty of fathers.
News spread, as news often does, like a charging fire across the prairie. Its whispers of a valiant rat defending the kingdom morphed into a blood-thirsty wretch bent on dispatching worry over the ranges. In the end, neither of these notions brought the men to the mountain. They wanted nothing of the heroics or to rid the town of his threat. They wanted not to see the thing, or even know if he was real. They cared not for the village in the valley, or the youth they drove into the ground. They wanted what all men want, the gold. The gems, the jewels, the riches, the fortune and the adoration that comes with it. ‘After all, why create such defenses if you’ve nothing to hide?’ They thought. ‘Why go to such lengths if there is nothing of value held in those granite vaults?” A man should never try to a mole.
‘None can become, what the Ice Mole has made,’ was it a promise or a threat? Was it a fact or a fiction? Was any of the danger real? If you ask the people of Ridgeline, they will tell you to mind your business. If you ask those who stir in the valley town of Prosper, they would tell you to see for yourself. And then sell you the stuff you’ll need to do it. Then they would show you the orphaned horde that begs for scraps up and down the main street. Beggars shouldn’t be feared, they should be listened to. The hope their story can change a heart is the oldest strain in the book. They will counter and wail. The will stretch and dive. The youth have little to lust for here. Naturally, when told there is treasure in the mountain, they wish to explore for themselves. ‘How big can one mole get?’ ‘How haggard could he be?’ Oh, my dear children, its not the mole that you must watch out for, it’s the traps. He has built castles in the caverns he carved out of the stone. Bored mile after mile of trick laden empire, leaving entire chasms of endless height.
To my knowledge the mole has yet to offend living flesh of humans, but the tricks in his cave do more than that. He wastes nothing, all your parts will be used. He wants nothing, only to keep the promise made to a dead king. He will dig, he will wander, he will build. He will dig. Until he dies, until the notion of the old life is lifted from his brow. Until the gasp of breath is released by his own volition, will his terror rain. Up until last week, we had no reason to believe it could ever happen. Not in my life. But we all had a hope, a question: Who will send the creature home? Who will rid the world of his stinking hide?
The youth. The stupid, youthful youth. The aggressive, indolent, ignorant youth. They know not of the leisure’s of family creation, only the bonds of friendship. There is not much to be done past the preparing, get thee a leather sack, get thee canteen and a knife. You’ll need them and more if you expect to rid the Bugaboos of the Ice Mole and his era of strife.
My father went cus he thought he could win something for the family. Mother asked, pleaded for him not to go. She begged him to stay here and grow the rutabaga and the radish. His back was tired, and his hands were sore. He said he had one purpose left and it was to go up, and down the mountain. Daddy went up, but he never came down the mountain.
My oldest brother went to see if he could find dad. Momma was cross when she found out and she spent days locking Abai and I in our rooms-for fear she would lose us all. The dogs were released and whipped so they would find new homes. She abandoned the garden and sold what clothes we had for food. She sold all she could. She spiraled looser and looser when my brother did not return. After a fort night the candles are put out. Mother told me not to waste the light, but I kept it going for months. I know I shouldn’t have but I believed Tim to be strong. I believed him to be sure. I thought if anyone could bring father back it would be him. I wanted it so, I wanted it bad.
I keep hearing the tune over and over as the nights stretched on. Deep in the darkness, it crept down the hillside and infested the rocks, dust and mites. Everything was struck by it and listened with submittance. It hypnotized me, caught me, asked me to surrender to the wanting, the greed. I stood by the window not knowing myself or where I was. I reached from my standing position to the mountain out in the distance. I could nearly touch it, I could nearly bring the treasures home. I could feel the coolness of his lair and the fear it put in you. I could see the many caverns and images of frozen swamps of his kingdom. I could touch the muck and watch as he waddled up and down his trails. Backdoors and small trails unbeknownst to us.
The mole transported the will of the weak right to his doorstep. But I wasn’t weak. I found the right path; I tricked the gate. I tripped the wire with a stone’s throw, I solved the riddle, I tamed the vines, I did all that was asked, and the chamber of treasures was opened to me. I was close, I was touching it. Suddenly the heat grew, everything was orange around me. I grew hot and everything was flames. The shining metal turned to liquid as I tried to grab it. I burned my hands on everything I touched.
The pain shook me out of my trance, and I was back in my room which was engulphed in flames. The cradle had been knocked over by the greedy fire and now my error would cost us all our things. I tried to stamp it out, but the cause was lost. Smoke filled the air, the fire wasn’t just in this room! The door was blocked so I threw myself out the window. I raced around to my sister’s room and broke in to steal her out. She was not in the bed, but the door was open. The flames were climbing everywhere, crawling fast and leaping from room to room.
When I found her, she was pulling at mother’s arms, trying desperately to stir her. Mother was in the same dream I had been, I could see her arms straight out the bed. When the aged are pulled into that dream they are far harder to sir them from it. Her legs were already sacrificed and we were not strong enough to move her. I did all I knew to do and took out my pen knife and drove in through her hand. She howled with terror as her eyes came back to clarity. And slapped me across the face. Her clothes were smoking as she waved us out. Maddened by the air and the dream, she was not out of the mole’s grasp. She pulled the knife out of her hand and flung it at my head. Pushing out of the way, my sister and I tumbled to the floor as it whizzed over our head. Mother laid back in her bed and calmly shut her eyes as the fire roared to it’s peak. We could hear a great cracking a beam from the roof broke through the ceiling onto her. In a blink my sister grabbed my collar and we made for the exit. Snatching the knife as we scampered out the door I made our way to the porch where Mustard, our cat, was waiting. Almost as if to say, ‘You’re late,’ it looked at us and jumped into the leather satchel. We ran for the only safe place we knew as our home turned to ash.
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About the Creator
Jordan J Hall
I write Historical and Speculative Flash Fiction. Nature and society's underbelly are the focus of my work. My writing can be found at FoxHollowStories.com and The Spectre Review Literary Magazine. Check out jordanjhall.com for more.
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