Day 93: Voices in the Snow

Most sky-level islands weren’t that far above the sea, and the ones that were rarely had life on them. It was difficult to sustain life without a water source such as rain or snow melt, and oxygen was obviously thinner the higher the altitude. But it was Captain Razo Corbeau’s job to investigate every uncharted landmass, whether in the sea or sky, so he found himself hunting for above-cloud islands often.

One in particular was especially miserable. A floating icicle, all snow and sleet and barely-breathable air. It was scarcely visible on a clear day from sea-level, so it was generally ignored by other skyships. Razo wasn’t sure the Revenant  would be able to ascend to that height, and if it could, the crew wouldn’t be able to stay under such harsh cold for long.

So when Razo’s skyship made it close enough to the island to drop a rope ladder and climb onto it, he took two of his best crew and told his first mate to take the ship to a safer altitude and to return in twenty-four hours. Reluctantly, his crew obeyed and left their captain behind. No sense all of them freezing or suffocating to death. Besides, the ship didn’t have enough oxygen masks for everyone.

It was supposed to be a simple mission. Investigate the island, ensure there were no enemy colonies or encampments, report on any forms of life (which there couldn’t be–not in this tundra), and investigate the prospects of blue matter mining.

Razo and his crew began to set up camp to provide themselves shelter during the day they’d be on the island. They never expected they weren’t alone, so they were sloppy. Making a fire without regard for who might see them. Letting their blades frost in their scabbards.

But at night, the noises–whisper-quiet echoes from the snowy hills to the white fields–they weren’t coming from the island. Twenty-four hours began to seem a much longer way off.



Today’s random prompt categories were, “Sky Trek,” “Deep freezer,” and “Hunter.”

Yeah, I named my world with sky captains discovering civilizations on floating islands “Sky Trek.” So what?

– H.

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