Frozen in the Abyss
short story in Aberrations. A Creature Feature Anthology (2020, ed. Chris McInally)
From the publisher:
Welcome to Nature’s revenge. It was bound to happen…
Experience the wrath of killer fish, mutant insects, rampaging reptiles, living legends and a slew of other murderous monstrosities. All brought to you by some of today’s finest horror and speculative fiction writers from around the globe, including none other than Amazon #1 bestsellers Dave Jeffery and Alister Hodge.
So, settle into your favourite chair, enjoy the journey, and try to ignore the strange sounds coming from outside in the dark.
Frozen in the Abyss, the first page:
We drag ourselves, roped up, through the fresh-fallen snow enveloping the world, smothering it in soft silence after the storm. It is knee high, and the weight of our legs feels like boulders.
Now the wind has risen and shrieks its high-pitched rage.
I hear it now as I tell our tale, as if it were happening this moment. I feel drenched and shiver with cold, just as I did then.
We cannot see anything beyond three or four meters; the snow has brought with it a solid fog made of eddying sleet that cuts into our necks and eyes and nostrils.
There are no signs of our morning tracks. We proceed by instinct, often tumbling down, using our ice axes to test the ground with each step so we do not end up swallowed by a crevasse hidden beneath the dusty snow. We follow the rocky edge of a spur, which looks like the one below the Küffner Pillar base—likely we have shifted too far downhill, but heading in that direction would be good enough—and we push forward along the diminishing grade of the slope. I look at my watch: 1710. It is late. The storm hit us around 0930 this morning and raged for more than six hours. But perhaps we can still make it to the hut before dark.
Within the breath of the snow, there is a deeper breath.
An animal breath. Ancient.
Something moves below us, creeping. Huge.