Northwind © Christoffer Petersen 2022 (Now available for pre-order from Amazon)
Aunix slept as the creature charged her batteries. When she woke, she made tea, a meagre breakfast, wondering if the creature needed to eat, what it might eat, and what it wanted in return for powering the battery banks of Aunix’ little canary.
“So many questions,” Aunix said as she blew upon her tea to cool it.
Cooling things in the Arctic always made her smile, and, under a new swathe of Northern Lights draped in the black sky above, full batteries with green lights blinking, Aunix felt there was plenty to smile about.
And then, the hideous, albeit generous and helpful creature, turned upon her.
Aunix dropped her tea on the ice. The enamel mug tinkled to a stop. The spilt tea steamed as it started to freeze in the chill air, and the creature, the beast, turned its watery eyes upon Aunix and lunged towards her.
Aunix reached once more for the imaginary guns she just wished she wore at her hip, but coming up empty, falling onto the ice, she spun onto all fours instead, pushed herself to her feet, and ran.
The beast was fast, huffing great clouds of rancid breath at Aunix. The beast’s saggy breasts flapped as its lungs worked like bellows, drawing air into cavernous lungs, only to expel it again in a rush of noxious gas that sent Aunix reeling, knocking her to her knees, until she sprawled on the ice and the beast was upon her.
Aunix stared at the massive member thrusting towards her, convinced she was about to suffer and likely die in some wild, carnal frenzy, desperately alone on the ice, in the far north of Greenland. But as the beast pinned Aunix’ arms to the ice, clasping her with bony fingers, digging dirty cracked nails into Aunix’ clothes, so deep Aunix imagined them piercing her skin, the beast looked Aunix in the eye, took another great bellow of breath and then smothered Aunix in what she guessed was to be her last breath in a final rotten cloud expelled from the creature’s gangrenous skin.
But Aunix did not die.
Instead, she dreamed.
It was a living dream, so vivid she struggled to think she was conscious. But the weight of the creature was still upon her – she felt it. The ice beneath her was freezing cold, cooling her body as the cold seeped through her clothes. And the Northern Lights were…
The lights… So many lights.
Aunix thought they might be stars, but she knew stars, knew the position and twinkle of the them as she navigated clear night skies, or glimpsed them through breaks in the cloud. But these were foreign stars with a different weight.
Yes. They are heavier.
In the grip of the creature, intoxicated by its awful, heady breath, Aunix’ celestial observations made sense. She understood, as she stared into the Northern Lights, that she was looking into another world, and the deeper, further, harder she looked, the more she concentrated, the more she saw. There were mountain peaks. Some curled over like rocky fronds of grey immobile plants. Others intertwined, woven like branches of trees. She saw gaps between them, caught the flicker of something flying through them.
Me. And my little canary.
Below the peaks was the sea – white with thick ice here, black and tumultuous there. The land was at once fertile and barren. It didn’t make sense. Aunix’ brow furrowed as she saw an abundance of green in patches between the black and white bite of winter. The creature breathed again, and again Aunix was subjected to a rush of clarity amid the choking and body-wracking gagging as her lungs demanded clean air.
But the creature was not done.
There was more to sea.
And there, several rancid breaths later, Aunix saw a figure on a floe of ice. It was a woman, clad in furs, standing tall, and… Aunix blinked. The woman was waving.
But it wasn’t Luui.
Whoever it was, they were familiar – achingly so, as if there was a deeper connection between the woman on the floe and Aunix pinned beneath a monster on the ice.
The woman waved again, revealed a tantalising glimpse of her hair, her strong chin, and then she was gone, and the air thinned, the creature retreated, and Aunix, after a long pause, sat up.
She saw the creature lope across the ice with its strange knock-kneed gait. It disappeared behind an ice-locked berg, but Aunix still felt the pincer grip of its fingers, could still see its saggy breasts bellowing with rotten breaths, and the evil member thrusting and quivering between its breasts. But Aunix was not violated. She felt no pain beyond the pseudo grip of the creature’s grip, only a teasing clarity, with a dull ache of something yet to be resolved.
Aunix picked herself up.
She brushed snow from her cargo trousers.
She took a moment to search for the creature between the bergs but saw nothing more than the memory of a shadow.
But there, ahead of her on the ice, sat the little canary, resting on voluminous tundra tyres, green lamps glowing on the batteries, and her nose pointing south.
“Yes,” Aunix said, as she walked towards her plane. “It’s time.”
The conditions were unnaturally good – perfect, in fact, with clear black skies, a tiny lick of wind, and the drift of great curtains of Aurora Borealis to light her way.
And yet, as she packed up the remainder of her equipment, prised the enamel cup from the tacky clutches of the ice, her mind buzzed with what she had seen in the lights. She looked up, but the crazy peaks were gone. So too was the woman on the floe, but if Aunix concentrated, if she really looked, then the strangely familiar woman clad in furs shed some of her mystery, and Aunix thought she might understand, at least a little, of what the creature wanted to tell her.
She ran through the pre-flight checks, removed the ice from the flaps and the rudder. Aunix climbed into the cockpit and primed the engine heater, smiling at the familiar mosquito whine as the electrical coils warmed the little canary’s heart.
“Here goes something,” Aunix said once the engine was ready for cranking.
She climbed out of the cockpit and dropped down onto the ice. Aunix gripped the propeller and yanked it down, expecting to do it one more time at least, but the canary was just as eager to fly as she was and the propeller caught at once, and Aunix climbed back into the cockpit. She tilted her head a little to accommodate what she joked was an irregular sized smile, and then settled into her seat.
She throttled up, felt the gratifying and simply gorgeous tremble of power through the light fuselage, and then rocked the tyres free of the fjord’s icy grip with a gentle bump of power. The tyres rolled off the stubborn ice with a rubber squeal and a long, drawn-out kiss until Aunix’ little canary was loose.
“Free to fly,” she said, as she throttled up, worked the pedals to move the rudder and kick the tail into position as she rattled across the ice.
Aunix lowered the flaps to push air under the wings, and then, once the tail wheel lifted off the ice, she increased power, and whooped as the tiny aircraft lifted into the black winter sky. She glimpsed what might have been the creature on the ice when she looked out of the port side of the aircraft, but it was but a glimpse and a shadow, perhaps even a memory.
“Or a really bad dream.”
Except it wasn’t a dream, and it wasn’t bad.
“Just confusing,” she said, as she settled into the flight, studying her instruments, tapping the altimeter as it always was a little ornery. And there, reflected in the glass covering the dials, she saw the woman on the floe, waving, and Aunix waved back.
To be continued on December 23
Northwind © Christoffer Petersen 2022
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