Northwind © Christoffer Petersen 2022 (Now available for pre-order from Amazon)
The wind traps were useless. Aunix kicked the closest one at the same time as she wondered if breathing heavy into the traps might turn the fans just enough to remind the traps about what they were supposed to do, or if even a breath would prove too much for what Aunix believed were now thoroughly useless contraptions. Although the actual words she preferred to use were a little stronger.
“Just a tad,” she said, drawing a tiny bit of amusement from her new favourite word.
If she had just a tad of wind, she might get off the ground. Getting off the ground – just a tad – would at least give her some lift, and she could dip the wings, drop the nose, pick up speed and then force air through the thoroughly useless contraptions, and then power into the air again to do the same thing, caterpillaring through the air with steep, perilous dives to fill the tanks, before spending a good portion of that same fuel to lift the little canary into the air again. It truly was a case of one step forward and two steps back, and Aunix didn’t like it.
It was number one on a very short list of things the pilot didn’t like.
The second thing was the bony hermaphrodite creature with the skeletal face and what Aunix could only describe has stark and drastic sexual organs. The creature prowled between the bergs locked in the ice – close enough to reveal itself as if it wanted to be seen, and yet not so close that Aunix became unnecessarily worried. Although she had started sleeping inside the plane, contorting her limps into a semi-reclined position as she preferred what little protection the glass and fibreglass frame afforded her when compared to the wind beaten, battered, and tattered remains of her tent.
The creature observed Aunix, and when Aunix wasn’t fussing with and grumbling about the wind traps, she observed it right back.
Apart from the initial repulsiveness of the creature’s form, there was something urgently haunting and insistent about it. Aunix found herself watching it as she drank her twice daily cup of tea – rationed as with everything else. Once she had chipped ice to be boiled in a sturdy pan above a block of hexamine, Aunix spent the next ten minutes observing the creature. It had a curious gait – body bent forwards, knees protruding at right angles, while it waved its arms like paddles as if propelling itself forward through the air, across the ice, and between the bergs. But no matter how or where it walked, its head was always turned towards Aunix.
They observed each other for several days, until, that morning, when Aunix threatened to breathe fire and fury through the traps, she turned and the creature was right there, right behind her, arms outstretched, and the tip of its manly parts throbbing.
Aunix stumbled back against the plane. She reached for something – anything – she might use to defend herself but found little more than a spare wind strut. She brandished it like a bat, as if she was stepping up to the invisible plate in a baseball stadium, ready to swing and remove the creature’s head if necessary.
But the creature didn’t move. Nor did it shy away. It simply stared at Aunix, and, at such close quarters, revealed a set of watery eyes rolling within great orbs of bone cut into its skull. The creature had a tongue, and Aunix shivered as she saw it dart out, and then further, tasting the air, licking at this and that as if searching for something.
The repulsiveness of the creature was accentuated with thin grey-green skin hanging from a bony body, the massive member between its legs that Aunix tried not to look at but resolved to strike at first if the thing came any closer to her, and the lank hair that twisted in the air behind the creature’s head as it turned to look at the plane, at Aunix, and, finally, the wind traps.
They were on the list of things that bothered Aunix most – together with the creature – but when it reached for the closest trap, Aunix took a step forward, winding back the strut with the intent to do some serious damage if the creature even thought about breaking the only thing that might, might, get her home for Christmas.
“Hey!” Aunix took another step forward as the creature clasped the wind trap between long bony fingers. “That’s mine.”
A small part of Aunix’ mind took a moment’s pause to reflect on the fact that the creature seemed interested in the trap. Not Aunix. And that no matter how repulsive it might be, or how intimidating and, frankly, disgusting the manly member might be, it was the trap that the creature wanted. Not Aunix.
Thoughts such as thanking God for small mercies passed through Aunix’ mind, until the creature huffed breath of rancid air through the wind trap, forcing Aunix to double up and gag. She dropped the strut, thumped her hands on her knees to stop herself toppling over, and then, as she fought for breath, managing a unnecessary but equally unavoidable, “Damn, that’s bad,” she noticed the trap was spinning.
Not just spinning.
The lamp was glowing amber and then brighter and brighter like a flame, burning yellow, then white hot, and, finally, the most glorious and lushest green Aunix had ever seen.
Aunix might have said more, but as the creature filled her lungs ready for the next exhale, Aunix clapped her hands over her nose and mouth and said nothing. She just watched. Aunix watched and smiled, eyes shining, as the creature kept the trap spinning with another blast of simply the worst, the absolute worst thing she had ever smelled.
Worse than the week-old moose carcass that summer, she thought.
She didn’t want to say it, but the smell that leaked through her fingers to assault her nose, smelled worse than her grandmother, that fateful day Aunix bounded into her grandparent’s kitchen to find grandma slumped at the table.
She’d been there four days while grandpa was recovering from surgery in the hospital.
That’s what the adults said when they thought Aunix wasn’t listening.
And this smells like that.
Aunix took a small step to one side.
“Only worse,” she said as the creature blew another rancid lungful of air through the trap.
Aunix heard the trap’s overpower alarm start to beep, and took a step forward with the intention of… What exactly, she intended to do escaped Aunix, but she knew the trap was in danger of breaking, and as much as she might have wanted to break it earlier in the day, the previous night, and the day before that, it was one of the only means of generating any power for her little canary.
The creature turned its head as the beeping continued, and then placed the trap in the ground before stalking around the plane, arms paddling the air, penis lunging, and knees at right angles, until it picked up the second trap and blew another gust of death through the trap.
Aunix followed, keeping her distance, but not so far away she couldn’t see the glow of amber, then green as the trap spun and the charge flooded into the battery.
“I have no idea what you are,” Aunix said as she observed the creature. “But you have my thanks.”
Of course, she hoped her thanks would be enough, as the creature turned to stare at her with those watery eyes and sickly tongue.
To be continued on December 20
Northwind © Christoffer Petersen 2022
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