Winter Things

Posted on a Tuesday in 2017 at 5:08 pm in Lovecraftian.

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The snow fell in voluminous silence–burying, freezing, killing. The season of long night had crept upon them. Months of noiseless darkness and cold, where the sun itself was a bleak and pale smear in a gray sky for what blamelessly little time it stayed in that dreary heaven.

The black-green mass of the looming pines stood an unnaturally quiet vigil beyond the wooden palisade of Fort-du-Eaurouge; within their vexing boughs hid crowding skeletal legions of white birch, whose barren spears peaked above the ragged tree line.

Jacques stared and shuddered, wishing he had returned to the south with the rest of the company, for with each passing winter day the silent menace of the trees seemed to grow–they seemed to slowly creep closer, threatening to drown the fort in their dark branches and swallow it up forever.

Less than a dozen of the company remained to winter the Fort, though they were well-stocked with supplies. At least he hoped they were. The gruesome tales of men whose supplies had run out too quickly flit through his brain, stories of hauntingly empty wooden edifices littered only with the scattered bones of the dead. Scattered by wolves who had gotten in and ate what meat remained off the starvation-emaciated corpses…so it was supposed.

Christof had told him the region’s natives had similar stories about men found devoured in the winter, but they said the culprit was a devil that crawled into a man’s heart, turned it to ice, and made him hungry.

With another shudder, he turned away and tried not to dwell upon such bleak tales. Though some few furs would still be traded-in over the winter, brought by members of the local Chippewa bands, the trade season would begin again in full only once the rivers melted off their winter ice. Then there would be fresh supplies, steadily restocked, and new faces and stories and songs, as well as old ones, insects buzzing in the woods and noisy birds chattering in the trees…

…instead of this endless loneliness, all noise swallowed and dulled by the thick pine boughs and pillowing drifts of snow, and only the same people to talk to for interminably empty months.

Some men went mad from the isolation, he had heard. So he and his companions kept themselves busy with songs and games, with whittling and beadwork and leather sewing, and chores of course. Yet every day the silence pressed down upon them harder until songs died in their throats and conversation was but muttered snippets that offended the deadening air.

Then came the drums.


Read the rest in Issue #38 of the Lovecraft eZine

Copyright (c)2016 Raven Daegmorgan
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