Short Stories

Ice Rider 3

He talked too much. Seth was veritable fountain of useless information and endless questions. Toddlers were quieter.  Sebella found it difficult to listen to the Ice, to feel the air around her. This was the reason her trainer told her she must get good at blocking distractions. She was never good at it and now she wished she had paid more attention. It was hard to put aside his low growly voice, to block out the endless stream of words. She was contemplating slitting his throat when she saw it. From this distance it was just looked a dark blob on the ice.

“Shut up” she told Seth in a harsh enough voice that he actually did.

His eyes followed to where she was pointing.

“It is heaven on earth!” Sebella whispered before taking off in a dead run.

Her charge was left standing on the ice. He looked around and seeing nothing, he started to walk towards the direction that Sebella went.  He put his foot down and heard a cracking sound. That was enough. It dawned on him that the reason she ran

was the ice was thin. Maybe? It scared him into running after the girl who was supposed to keep him safe.

As he got closer, he saw that the dark blob on the ice was actually a small rocky outcrop. There was no snow or ice on the rock and he watched Sebella running into an opening at the base. She threw one look at him before disappearing.  Seth ran faster to catch up.

He was breathing hard when he entered the cave. The poor boy obviously did not have as much physical stamina as he should off.  Sebella watched him bent over trying to catch his breath.  Her first thought was he was an idiot, but her second was that if he had not grew up on the ice as she had than  he would  physically not be ready for the ice.

Sebella dove into the pool of water. The hot springs was one of her favorite things. It reminded her of home. She knew the geology of the thing, they why the water was so hot. She was taught to always test and she had had time to do so before Seth ha showed up. Her portable test showing it to be perfectly safe if not a little bit stinky.  Stinky enough that Sebella laughed as she watched Seth wrinkle his nose in distaste. She laughed harder when he saw Sebella in the pool of water.

“What are doing?” he asked, “You are going to freeze to death.”

She was feeling warm and languid, “Nonsense. Take of your clothes and come on in. A warm bath would mellow you out a bit.”

“Take off my clothes”, His eyes grew wide, “Are you naked in that water.”

His eyes swept over to the side of the cave where there was a pile of clothing and furs. He looked back at Sebella.  He could see the swell of her breasts and her bare shoulders. She was a very pale, her red hair contrasted sharply with her skin.  He probably stared longer then he should but he had never even seen a woman’s shoulders before. Where he grew up woman had their quarters and men theirs. Only the married couples stayed together.

Sebella laughed again. He was such a child. She pitied the woman who would have him as husband. There would be a lot of work making him into a man.  She knew he was getting embarrassed but she really needed him to bath. He smelled like human. With soap and whatever it was his family splashed on him as they left. A blessing they said. . He smelled like bear food. He needed to wash it off and the chemicals in the pool would help to mask his natural scent. Itwas that or find some bear scat and rub it on their skin. She did not think he would go for that.

“Come on in” She invited again. At the shake of his head She continued” I will stay on this said and you can be on that side I will even close my eyes as you get undressed.

“I can’t get undressed it is blasphemous to be naked with a woman other than your wife!”

“I won’t watch and I need you to bath to get rid of that stuff you got splashed on you, you smell to high heaven“.
He again shook his head.

She sighed. She had run into people like this before. They all lived in their little caves and compounds and they made up their own rules. Rules about what God would accept and not accept.  It was ok, it kept the order in their world, but out here, on the ice, the rules changed. They became a little more basic. Eat or be eaten. Survive.  Do whatever it took to have the advantage, the superiority over the environment that was doing its best to kill you.  It was the reason Ice riders existed. They had those skills needed in order to stay alive and to be a lifeline between the groups. Those inside the complexes could never live out here, on the ice. They would die within the week no matter how prepared they thought they were. If the bears did not get them, the ice itself would. Most likely though a bear or two would make dinner out of them. People stank and bears could smell you a klick away. With their massive paws and teeth, a human is an easy meal for them.

She was done being nice about it. “Get in the water.” She commanded

When he said no again, she said, “I will get out and hide my eyes if necessary, but you will be getting in the water. Either voluntarily or by force.  Your choice.”

Finally, Seth got some sense and undressed.  Kind of. He took off most of his clothes, but left his underthings on. There Seth stood shivering in his underwear.  Sebella could not believe he thought he was going to get bath in his underwear.

“Underwear off as well.” She barked at him

“No, we never take this off! Ever!” Seth sounded like a petulant child.

“Ever? Then how do you go to the bathroom? Never mind, take it off. If you do not as soon as you get out of the pool it will freeze to you and it is very painful to take off again even in the water. Take it off.”

She jumped out of the water and grabbed the knife that she always had near. Before he could register what she was doing, she cut off his underwear and pushed him into the pool.

“There. Fixed. Now shut up and enjoy the warmth. ”

Sebella got back into the pool and went back to the rock she was laying on. She sack to her chin and closed her eyes, ignoring Seth over on the other end complaining.  The warmth could easily put her to sleep and she would have if it weren’t for the man on the other side of the pool.  She looked at him through slotted eyes. With his hair was wet and lying flat on his head and with the beginnings of a beard, he was looking quite handsome.  Sebella sighed. It was too bad he was such an incompetent person. He may be a man by the years, but he was a child when it came to everything else. Besides, it would not do to get to close, take advantage of him as he was promised to another.She sat up. Another. They had only been out one day and she was ready to use Seth as bear bait. She had forgotten that she would have to bring another back as well. A woman this time who if she was anything like Seth would be a major pain in the rear.  It would be like having two small tots in tow.  She looked over at Seth whose eyes were big as if he saw a predator behind her. She turned. There was nothing but the cave wall. She looked back then laughed. He was staring at her breasts.  She giggled then sank back into the water Yes, she was travelling with a two year old.  In a week or so, she would be travelling with two toddlers.

Ice Rider 1
Ice Rider 2