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Under the ice

An Earthly mirror of hell.

By Ben CardyPublished 2 years ago 7 min read

Edward had always hated his parents log cabin, since he was a young boy had been haunted by the ominous overwhelming feeling of being watched, not just watched but hunted, longed for in fact. There was just something about the seemingly ever frozen lake that repulsed him yet simultaneously called to him, beckoning him over. Every year for Christmas his family would take a long painful drive down and spend a week isolated from the spontaneous terrors of the smog filled suburban world, to live harmoniously with nature, becoming at one with the environment around them and feeling the blissful calming effects of the hidden world. It usually allowed them to be happy and content in each other’s company, not this year. This year was different, his parents were different and deep-down Edward knew this was the last time he would be forced to hide himself away during the festivities. They had been arguing more than ever and it seemed that time had finally caught up to the Caulfield's as it was always going to, however Edward took comfort in knowing he only had to survive one more week of this arctic nightmare, one week of irrational terror and airborne ambience of hatred then he can go back home and finally learn of his parents’ divorce. "We're here", boasted his portly unshaven dad as the rusted cars wheels finally came to a halt.

The shameful pile of logs casted an ocean of serene darkness across their worn down vehicle. Moist piles of wood oozed an alien orange pus from the crevices that line the once beautiful walls, leaking onto and staining the pristine blanket of white below, the ancient decrepit house stands shamefully out from the proud gods of oak and birch that huddle around forming a shield of brown and green, protecting this one small patch of land. Tinted windows protected the innards of the wooden building, shielding away the horrible mess that resembled a post apocalyptic bomb site that lies within. Roaches, pests and vermin scuttered franticly, hurling themselves across the dirt infested scarlet carpet of velvet, revealing rancid steaming piles of faeces sitting obnoxiously confident. Yet with all these gleaming present eyes of small creatures, Edward felt the presence of a larger, more foul creature, one that as of yet had never been kind enough to show its self to the world, one that knows humans would hunt down such a grotesque species. Averting his attention from that horrendous vision the Caufield's begin to unpack their bags and seal their decision to take refuge in the once beloved isolated home. Even whilst hanging up clothes the violence and arguments reigned on, screams of hatred and detest shook the shameful walls carrying sentiment of a life wasted.

Two days in and everything had changed. The parents had stopped arguing, they were different, happier, more connected with each other. Like babies born to a new exciting world they would explore together, go for walks all through the day and Edward was conflicted, relieved but terrified. They were so attracted to each other that they refused to let their eyes wander, Edward had not so much as spoken to them, not even seen their faces. They were no longer arguing so Edward was pleased, unnerved but pleased nevertheless.

It took three days for that old vile emotion to overcome Edward. As the sun started to rise Edward had realised he survived the long overbearing night, assisted by only espressos, energy drinks and a relentless chain of panel show videos. He had not closed his eyes for more than a blink since he arrived and the terror induced insomnia was taking its delirious toll. The young Caufield was brushing his hair in the mirror when a sharp stagnant cloud of air ran cruelly across his crooked spine, cutting deep into his soul easier than the sharpest knife could dream of. A wet smacking sound crept eerily towards him almost the sound of a squids tentacles squelching across the deck of a long sunken ship, just out of his eye sight stood a nightmare come true, what he had feared all along stood just out of reach, watching, always watching. A heart bursting screech drained all residual colour from Edward's already pale candle lit face, causing a searing pain to bounce along his ear canal, drawing blood from deep within his young head. Edward ran, he dived through his open window wrapped only in a sweat soaked silk dressing gown and the chase was on.

Blistering snow bit at his calloused yellow feet, its icy white teeth snapping at his Achilles with every frenzied step he took, chunks of burning frost whipped his legs only to be kicked back at his perceived stalker, an unnatural hiss bellowed from the pursuer rising in pitch until it became impossible to hear anything else, white noise had dominated Edwards mind and all he had left was his tiring frostbitten legs to pull him further onwards. Edward could hear every wet thud that the creature was taking and an extremely nauseating realisation came over him, the monster was running much faster but never catching him, he was being herded! This whole time the boy had been falling further into the jaws of defeat, doing exactly as he was supposed to, being lured away from safety like a young child in a Grimm's brother fairy tale. He was now thoroughly lost and alone isolated from even the abomination that was chasing him, somehow this loneliness was even more petrifying.

In the chaotic panic of his running, he had paid no attention to his surroundings and as a result was now stranded in the middle of a frozen lake of noir. The translucent beauty of ice was sheltering an eternal murky black pit below, nothing was visible beneath him, nothing. Yet still he felt entirely plagued by that feeling of dreadful staring eyes. What horrors lay dormant beneath him, laying in wait, ready to strike and seal his tomb, never to be seen again?

Eyes! Too many to count, dozens of piercing yellow eyes slam open in foul unison locked onto the young boy and his desirable youthfulness. Edward shrieks, matching the exact pitch of the creatures before him, the thick unblemished ice that appeared virgin to any movement for millennia was now cracking at an alarming rate. A drooping green fist shot from the ice, loose as if no bones lived within the rotting decayed flesh, it lunged straight for his ankle, immediately striking through the boys supple living skin. The arm tightens to become rigid and pulls with immense force downwards, crashing through the ice the boy touches the murderously cold liquid beneath him, it rushes through his body blowing all air from him with ease.

Clawing desperately at the sadistic tough layer of ice that imprisons him Edward pounds and scrapes furiously. Blood flows like water as he rips his fingernails from their bed, agonisingly leaving them stuck forever in the glacier coffin that surrounds him, time is running out for Edward and he feels every molecule of oxygen excruciatingly tearing away from his lungs, deflating them with ease like a popped balloon succumbing to its final fate. The air flees through his failing screams as the dark shadows creep from the corners of his eyes, growing ever larger until they obnoxiously suffocate his vision leaving him blind to the future horrors of this frozen world. Death is a privilege that he can only dream about, for no corpses inhabit this icy tomb yet many lives are lost under there, hands of plenty grasp tightly around the boy’s body, stealing him from the surface and its façade of security and safety, he is dragged lower and lower until the pressure is almost unbearable, tonnes of harsh water crushing upon him accompanied by rapidly twitching decayed bodies, squeezing out all scarce emotions of hope until he ultimately concludes that this truly is the end. Suddenly Crack! Ice splinters and penetrates the water like the endless bullets of Dunkirk raining upon the soaked soldiers and with that darkness falls upon the drowning boy.

Eyes! Edward Caufield's eyes awake to a blinding heavenly light of comfort that burns through his previous panic, it flickers and he comes to realise that he is in a white spongey room, just him his bed and the walls. 'Squelch' the dauting familiar slap of wet feet draw closer to the entrance to Ed's room. Voices drown out the horror and he overhears a conversation between two mysterious men who watch on from outside. "Trauma induced psychosis is a tragic thing" one deep muffled voice says, "almost as bad as hypothermic deliria" the other man retorts. "Still, I do find myself concerned as to how he got those gaping gangrenous wounds on his ankle and if his yellow eyes truly are just jaundice".

One Edward lies on a warm beautiful mattress counting his blessings, but one lays on an entirely different frozen bed beneath, surrounded by his family. Not alive, but certainly not dead...


About the Creator

Ben Cardy

19 year old writer, I focus mainly on short horror literature, inspired by Edgar Allen Poe, HP Lovecraft and others.

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