Frozen Iron: The Icy Shores

Escape

By Zai Symon

I’m out. I’m not sure how long I was in that horrible place, but Gwendolyn did her spell like she said she would and now I’m out. No more glass cases. I wonder what will happen to the others. Probably more of the same.

When Gwendolyn knocked like we had agreed, I ducked low and followed her to a hole in the wall. I made myself small and then, all of a sudden, I was tumbling down in the dark and I landed in the wet. I tried to talk to Gwendolyn, but something broke when we left that place, and she doesn’t seem to talk anymore. She stays by my side, but we can no longer speak to one another. I also didn’t want to make too much noise, because I clearly wasn’t alone. There were moving glowing lines and shuffling and splashing. I huddled in my corner and tried not to make too much noise, but it was so cold. So cold.

Then, I saw the bush and remembered those berries. I had seen the Monster eat them and burp fire. I knew they would make me warm. I started toward them, keeping close to the wall, but there was water everywhere, and I couldn’t help but make noise. Gwendolyn’s splashing made me cringe, but no one seemed to notice us. As I approached the bush, I heard someone groaning and pulling on the door, making an awful lot of racket. The few people over by where I fell in didn’t seem too concerned with him, but I stayed wary. When I was almost to the bush, the rest spotted me. And then one of them turned into a human torch.

I froze. There were these two huge men, and this great ugly bull thing, and a beautiful woman with gold eyes wearing a man’s jacket. I stayed away from the man on fire and spent my time by the woman, Stella, which also meant staying near her minotaur, Ken, who was actually nicer than he first appeared. Stella gave me a berry and I felt warmer despite my lack of clothing. We went into another room and some creatures came (I think they’re called hobs) and offered us a deal to get out. The men did most of the dealing (they seem to have a talent for convincing people), but we were all included, even the bat thing, who seemed less eager to follow the rest of us and kept randomly disappearing.

We wandered the ship, looking for artifacts in various rooms. I kept close to Ken and Stella, holding Gwendolyn, because the men scare me and the bat thing keeps disappearing. Stella kept things in her pockets for me. We found this horrible old man who talked about the bag man while the men interrogated him (I think the fiery one burned him). I couldn’t see him, because I stayed behind Ken, but his voice was creaky and frightening enough. The men shut him into the room and he screamed horribly and we all ran away from there. I stayed with the man not on fire because Stella and Ken stayed with him. All of a sudden, there was a voice blasting through the ship and music playing and we were running. Ken sacrificed himself to save us from the watery bag man when the music stopped. I didn’t see, but I think Stella did. I don’t think she’s okay. We couldn’t stop, though.

I grabbed Gwendolyn and ran as fast as I could. The bat thing and I climbed a ladder and watched, helpless, as monsters came creeping out of the doors in the hallway and snatching the other people. The men seemed to do okay: the one started shouting orders and the other kept burning things. I wanted to help, from a distance, but I couldn’t figure out how. At least we all got out safely thanks to the hobs, who took us to a boat.

We were all exhausted, and I think Stella was in shock. The fiery one asked me to sit by him and he wasn’t on fire anymore and there wasn’t much room in the boat and he had just basically saved our lives anyway, so I did. I guess he’s okay when he isn’t on fire. His name is Royal and the other one is Lire. They’re twins. I curled up with Gwendolyn and tried to sleep.

Then we were back and in the woods, where I thought I could finally help. But Lire seemed to know where he was going, and I had no idea of anywhere else to go, so I followed everyone. We went to the twins’ house and Sam—the bat thing—told us about Fetches. Going home is not going to be easy. Maybe I just won’t go back. Maybe I’ll go somewhere on my own. But not yet. I found an empty house and Stella and I found some clothes and bags. Then the twins took us to a bar.

Stella wanted me to help her seduce some men, but I kept thinking of the Monster and that place and I couldn’t do it. I feel like I failed her. But Sam got us some money by stealing someone’s wallet and the twins went off somewhere and now we’re waiting for them at a hotel. I’m afraid to sleep, but I’m exhausted. What if I can’t wake up? What if this escape was all a dream and I have to perform again when I wake up? Or, even worse, what if this IS real? What will I do now?

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