Heart of Ice
By E.S. Wynn
The first touch of her talons is enough to make you shiver.
The second is enough to kill.
She isn’t from this world, this hazy, narrow fragment of existence that wraps around us like blinders on a horse. This isn’t reality to her. She’s from somewhere else. She’s the cruel master who knows what the world really looks like, who looms up into your sight like a wisp of white and traces the lines of your jaw with phantom fingers like jagged ice. Her pale smile is soft and cruelly casual, and for a moment you can almost believe that she pities you, pities your narrow, limited vision the way one might pity a child who does not know yet the scope and breadth of the world around him.
And then, she reaches into your chest.
When she reaches into you, she reaches through you, touches your soul. You feel her fingers as they curl around the muscle-pulse of your heart, bite into you with a hunger that is alien, draining. In a single, surging pull more felt than seen, she drains the heat from your soul, the strength from your body in progressive waves. She smiles as she squeezes you, as she squeezes that part within you which fights to maintain some semblance of life, of warmth, and reflected in her ethereal teeth you can see the shadows of your death, the fate that approaches moment by moment, comes with each breath, each squeeze of her frigid, edged fingers.
When she is done, when her claws at last release the dead and frozen stone of your sluggish heart, your body is little more than a husk, a dry memory of flesh etched with ice and agony. You catch a milky, faded glimpse of her for the barest moment, and then you realize suddenly that you are no longer looking at her-- you are within her, a lost wisp of light swirling through her as she waxes sated on the edge of reality. You cry out with a voiceless, unheard sound as you feel yourself slowly fading, dulling, lost on a sea of whispers where the voices of ten thousand lost souls mingle in a quiet melancholy, knowing that there is no escape, that there is only the slow fade toward quiet oblivion.
- - -
The great Old Ones, the ancient, elder gods of the deep that stir quietly in the depths of their sunken cities and otherworldly temples have nightmares about E.S. Wynn. Sometimes these dreams last for eons, and even the great lord Cthulhu has refused to emerge from R'lyeh for as long as E.S. Wynn walks this dimensional annex.
Labels: Earl S. Wynn