Avalon 2.3: To Warm the Heart

 

            “I’m going out to check the amulet and distance,” Boston interrupted.  “Then I vote we move on before this storm gets worse.”  She stepped outside, and for a second she imagined her eyes were playing a trick on her.  It looked like there was a light on the beach, not of a fire, but a glowing, pure white light, and it appeared to be getting closer before it became hidden by the rocks.

            “A trick of the light,” she said to herself and honestly believed it had something to do with being inside with the light and going outside into the darkness.  “Like a flash camera,” she said and looked at the sky.  Everything was black, like there was no light at all.  Maybe the sun was missing.  She could not think about that.

            Boston looked at the amulet and gasped.  They were closer than they had been just hours ago.  How could that be, she wondered as she was interrupted.

            “Boston,” Roland found her.  He was smiling at her, but said no more.

            “You should go in and warm up,” Boston said without much thought, her eyes still attracted to the amulet.  “Where are Lincoln and Elder Stow?”

            “You can warm me with a kiss,” Roland suggested.  Now Boston paid attention.  She usually had to initiate that sort of thing.  “Come close,” Roland reached for her.  “It is very cold.”

            Then again, Boston thought, who was she to argue with that idea.  She came in close and his lips touched hers.  Immediately, Boston felt her soul being drawn out of her body.  She struggled, but this Roland was strong.  She cried out in her mind because her mouth could not cry out.  She ripped at the elf ears, but the thing, whatever it was did not seem to feel anything, and Boston was slowly dying.

            The light came again, only this time it filled her eyes.  She began to think it was the light she was supposed to walk into.  There was an unearthly scream, a howl to wake the dead, but Boston had no idea who or what made the sound.  Perhaps it was her.

            Boston fell to the ground, unconscious.

            Lockhart and Katie rushed outside.  The unicorn looked like a white light, a flame of pure white fire, but it backed away to let Katie tend to Boston.  It kept Lockhart’s attention when it deliberately stuck its horn through an opening in a fishing net set out to dry.  Somehow it threw the net over its own back and then added a graven image which adjusted to sit like a rider, though the image never ceased to be clay.

            Roland, Lincoln and Elder Stow ran up, but stopped on sight of the unicorn.  It was only for a momentary pause as the unicorn took off for the ridge behind the village.  It stopped a hundred yards away, turned and pawed twice and stomped its front right hoof hard on the ground before it bounded off again toward the high ground.

            Lockhart got the message.  “Saddle up,” he said.  “Get the villagers together.  We need to make for the high ground.”

            The wind started as Katie stepped up to speak to Lockhart.  “I don’t know if Boston can be moved.”

            “Is she hurt?”  Lockhart started to bend down to look.

            “No,” Katie stopped him.  “She is old.”

            Lockhart spun on his heels.  “Get the villagers!” He yelled, but the others were already doing that.  He stuck his head back in to the old man and his daughters.  “Get your people out and to the high ground.  Hurry!”

            “But Grandfather cannot move quickly,” one daughter said.

            “Then carry him,” Lockhart paused before he exited the shack.  He pointed at the other daughter.  “Good, bring all the blankets you have.”  He went back out.

            Roland had Boston around the middle and was already helping her toward the edge of the village.  The wind was strengthening and they were beginning to hear it in the roar of the sea.  Katie had to shout.

            “Yours and Roland’s horses.  I have mine and Boston’s.  Lincoln has the others,”  That was all she could say as the old man and his daughters headed for the hills.  There was a light up there.  The travelers knew what it was, but all Lockhart could say to the families was, “Head for the light.

            The wind drove off the sea, and started to drive the sea before it.  The horses tails whipped wildly in the wind long before they became wet with spray.

            “I think the sea wind has actually warmed things a bit.”  Katie shouted as loud as she could, but all Lockhart could say was, “What?”

            Waves of water soon began to crash around their feet.  They hustled, but it was slow going in the dark until they heard a sound that made them ignore the danger of the rocks.  It was the Kraken, and it sounded like it was hovering over their shoulder.

            A vine wrapped quickly around Decker’s horse.  They all heard the horse squeal, but Elder Stow was right there, and he never gave back the sonic device.  The Kraken burned, but it looked like this time it was not going to be deterred.  A thousand vines rushed after the first.  They broke the houses of the village, looking for something soft to eat.  They rushed up to the side of the hill, and grabbed two stragglers among the people, stragglers that were already knee deep in sea water.

            Katie saw somehow from the light overhead and jumped.  Lockhart had to grab the reins.  He wanted to call Lincoln, but Lincoln could not bring all six horses alone.  He looked to the Gott-Druk, but he was carefully sliding on the snow back down the hill.  Lockhart felt helpless, and then he could not see well in the dark besides.

            Katie grabbed the first villager by the hand.  It was an old woman, her face was in the water and she was struggling against the pull of the vine.  Katie dove and sliced through the vine with her knife, and then she practically carried the old woman to safety.  All the old woman could do was wave and make sounds toward the sea.  Her son or daughter or old man had been behind her.

            Elder Stow was there and he let the full force of his sonic device rip in what he hoped was the right direction.

            “Come on!”  Katie shouted.  The old man was surely gone.  Elder Stow looked ready to give up when a giant wave crashed over his head and licked the feet of the women.  “Ahh!” Katie voiced her concern, but as the wave receded she saw the Elder still standing on the same spot.  The strength of the Neanderthal was astounding.  “Hurry!”  Katie shouted one more word and turned to force the old woman up the hill.  The wind had turned hurricane wicked.  All the woman kept saying was, “Kamakazi.”  And the water was still rising.

            They heard the Kraken again.  It was moving inland with the rising sea.  Lockhart imagined he could make out a slightly darker mass in the midst of the darkness, but it had to be at least a quarter mile high, much higher than the high ground they stood on.

            A young couple pushed their way to the front.  He held her hand and held her behind him, and looked once at Lockhart.  “Close your eyes,” he told Lockhart and then shouted for everyone that could hear.  “Close your eyes!”

            “Should I?” the young woman asked.

            “Dare not,” the young man answered and gave her a quick peck on the lips.  She looked like that was not enough, like that would never be enough, but lowered her eyes and waited for her young man to act.  He raised his hands and began to glow, and in a moment people backed away from the heat.  Then the light came, all at once, and it lit the whole seashore and for miles out to sea.  For one instant, Lincoln saw the kraken.  He was well behind with the horses turned away in case they needed a quick getaway, and then he had to shut his eyes against the incredible brightness.  He could still hear the creature, though, as it sizzled.  The wind stopped.  The sea began to boil.  And then the darkness returned, and some sense entered Lockhart’s brain.

            “Hey!  You told me to shut my eyes in English!”

            “Hey!  Lockhart.  Allow me to introduce my wife, Ameratsu.”

            “Very pleased to meet you,” the young woman said and bent her knees, head and eyes in a kind of perfect bow that every geisha would attempt to imitate, forever.

 

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Avalon 2.3:  Angel in the Dark … Next Time

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