So, I’ve just discovered the very fabulous D Wallace Peach’s Speculative Fiction Writing Prompt – an opportunity for spec fic writers to get their groove on and have their stories reblogged on Diana’s website, Myths of the Mirror. HOW HAVE I MISSED THIS UNTIL NOW??!
Why does this excite me so much? Well, not only is spec fic my jam, Diana’s website is the stuff of magic and myth. She’s a wonderful and prolific author, and about the nicest lady you could come across. So, pop over, say g’day and join in the writing prompt fun.
Of Stone and Ice
Professor James O’Neil never dreamed he’d be hiking across an arctic terrain in his seventies; the last, great hope of the world on his shoulders. Then again, O’Neil never dreamed he’d be alive to see the sweeping prairies and fields of Kansas turned into an ice-covered apocalypse. Yet the fact remained the same – instead of sitting by his radiator in his New York apartment, sipping coffee and reading the latest edition of Scientific Journal, he was knee deep in ice and snow, likely headed to his doom.
The team around him were flagging in the blistering cold and arctic wind. They were not adventurers or outdoorsmen. They weren’t even soldiers, yet they gripped their oily, black machine guns with sure hands. O’Neil himself felt the heavy weight of the carbine rifle strapped to his bent back. His former students might have laughed to see their professor so armed; they might have guffawed about his ability to hit the side of a barn.
O’Neil could have told them differently. He’d put down enough white skins to know how to use the dangerous weapon.
O’Neil raised his head and peered through the stinging wind. He frowned as he saw the massive statue in the distance. It was one of theirs.
Most structures made by human hands hadn’t survived the white frost. Here in the prairie lands, windmills crumbled in the extreme cold, farmhouses were obliterated by the three hundred mile an hour wind gusts that ravaged the land. The only structures that could survive the white frost were immense things made of stone… like the statue before him.
As the small group trekked ever closer, O’Neil saw it was carved in their image. A grim frown touched his brow, obscured by the layers of clothing covering his face and neck.
When the first dreadnaught had arrived from the Interstellar Strait, bearing its strange, pale crew, humanity had been wary. They looked like something straight out of Norse mythology with their seven-foot height and rippling physiques. Wariness soon gave way to captivation as the newcomers demonstrated the magic they commanded. Real magic.
Only a few learned folk held onto their reservations and fewer still made the same connection O’Neil did. These interstellar wanderers could only be the Svartálfar; the Dark Elves of Norse mythology.
But by then, it was too late, and O’Neil’s voice was too small. All he could do was flee and hide as the Svartálfar weaved their magic and began the process of enslaving the earth. As their hoarfrost crept across the land, their blood-thirsty warriors descended from the Strait in droves. Humanity was no match for their might and magic.
O’Neil watched and waited and researched… and finally, he learned of a chance. The slimmest chance, against almost insurmountable odds, to win back the earth and drive the Svartálfar out for good. And so, even with aching bones and angina, O’Neil had risen from his hiding place, found the few survivors who’d had the sense to go to ground, and begun the last quest. Humanity’s salvation lay in his hands.
As the weary group trod past the massive stone statue, O’Neil paused and drew breath. His chest ached, his feet were numb and he was exhausted to dropping point. But as he eyed the statue of the Svartálfar demi-God, O’Neil felt strength and resolve flood into him.
He shrugged into his scarf, turned his back on the statue, and strode toward destiny.