Monday, November 02, 2015

Spate


They emerged from the forest footsore, hungry, their panting dogs at their heels. Somewhere at their backs — a few hours, a day at most — their pursuers could take their time, knowing they would find them waiting where the river tumbled into the frigid sea. In any other season the shoreline was an arrow-shot further out, the water deep but untroubled enough to raft across. Not now; swollen by meltwater, the river churned, rising and falling, disgorging shards of ice and fallen trees — birch, larch — in a ceaseless roar. They stared into the torrent; its face bore the patient features of Death.

Brittle strands of rockweed skittered between their feet. In the offing, high above stray bergs, gulls dipped and soared in a wind so cold it struck the heart like a hammer. The mist lifted off, but the sun failed to warm their bones. The bleached and broken skeleton of some great sea beast lay upended on the beach, as if welcoming them home.

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