Short Stories

Ice Rider 6

Miriam slept forever. Well at least it felt like that. Sebella never liked to do nothing and she did not like the company of other people to much either. It made her anxious. Where she came from everyone was family, but no one invaded your space. If you wished to be with people you could if you wish to sit alone there was no questions and no hurt feelings. Here in the Iglu with Seth and Miriam, the tension was thick. Well at least on Seth’s part. He was pretty thick sometimes, even for a guy. It had taken him hours to figure out that Miriam had been raped and tortured. Now Sebella was subjected to Seth’s prayers for forgiveness. She was not so sure about that. Her God never punish someone for someone else’s bad behavior, but she had already learned that Seth and his type were rigid. Too rigid.
Rigid was right. When Miriam woke, her first thought was of Seth. Seth for his part ignored Miriam. Lucky for all Miriam’s second thought was that there was a horse in the Iglu with her.
“Where am I?” she queried, in a small singsong voice.
“You are with in an Iglu. One we must leave soon.” Sebella replied.
Sebella followed Miriam eyes to Horse. She smiled and nodded to the question in Miriam’s eyes. Then Miriam looked at Seth. Sebella could only shrug her shoulders. She thought Seth was being stupid. You could feel the judgement coming off him like a foul smelling fog. Did Seth really blame Miriam? Maybe. Sebella hoped not. Either way she needed some info from Miriam and they needed to get out of the igloo. The song the ice under them sang was changing. Sebella was not sure what was happening but it was ominous feeling. She had never heard this song before. Like all good Ice Riders, when in doubt, Sebella left. That is what she intended to do now, after she found out who the “they” were that Miriam had talked about.
“Who are they?” Sebella decided to be straightforward.
She watched Miriam tense up before dropping her shoulders and head in defeat
“Ravagers. They are the ones who attacked us. They killed my mother and father, my brother. They are the ones who hurt me. “Miriam started to cry silently but continued on, “The came seeking food dressed as raggedy people. To look at them, they looked hungry and cold. We did what we should do and invited them in to break bread, to get warm before moving on. As soon as we opened the gate, they changed. The y changed into giant men with leather clothes and armor. One had bear teeth around his arms and legs. They had axes, and knives and they killed the men and the old. They kept us women alive. Herding us into a room in the back. Taking us one by one to share, to use to…Some never came back. My friend Sarah. She never came back. She was with child when they took her.”
Sebella glanced at Seth as Miriam talked. He had is back to them and every word out of Miriam’s mouth his shoulders got tighter and tighter and his bowed down further. His prayers got louder. It was as if he thought he could drown the sound of a naughty child by being louder. Sebella threw his book at him and managed to hit him in the head. He glared briefly at Sebella then went back to his prayers. Quieter though, this is what she wanted.
Miriam continued. “Besides using us they made us cook for them. They took the best of the fish we caught in the ice and the rest of the bear we had shot a while back. They killed our laying hens. The worse, the worse, they took the carrots that we had finally gotten to grow. After all this time just pulled them up and ate them.”
“How did you escape” Miriam asked her.
“I didn’t. I was put out to go find fresh water. To dig the ice if I had to. They shoved me out as I was and closed the door. I dropped the pails and ran. I was hoping to find Seth on his way. I am glad I found you. If I had not I would have died and that would have been ok too I guess.”
“You should have died” Seth had finally said something. He turned and looked at Miriam “I cannot have you for my wife. You have been with other men. You are tainted. You are ruined. How could you .you should have killed yourself before giving up your body that easy. Whore.”
Both Sebella and Miriam gasped at the venom in Seth’s voice.
Miriam looked into Seth’s eyes. “I did not give my body to them Seth they took it.”
“Whore.” came the reply.
“How can you say that to me? I was your betrothed we are to marry to have children. And you call my names what right do you have”
Seth threw his precious book of Mor at her. “This gives me the right”
Sebella had enough . She walked over to Seth. Standing nose to nose with the boy, she grabbed his crotch and gave him a deep kiss. When he responded, she pulled back smacked him across the face and said,
“Now you are a whore too. Lightened up. We need to find out what has happened to Miriam’s home. Go out and start removing the entryway tunnel so we can get horse out of here. And while you are out there you maybe pray to your God for patience and acceptance, because if you call Miriam one more name I will leave you here .Got it whore boy?”
“No you won’t leave me here. You made a trade and Ice Riders don’t go back on trades”
“Only if they are honorable trades. And this trade is becoming very dishonorable. I would happily give back my payment to your father. Now go do as I asked. Now before I change my mind and leave you here anyway. “
When Seth left, Sebella went over and checked Miriam’s wounds. She would be able to travel. The problem was getting her dressed enough to go u tint he cold. She dug through Seth’s pack and found some pants. Miriam ripped them up and fashioned some under garments for Miriam. They covered her from ankles to neck. She helped Miriam put on the clothing he came with then the Sebella hesitated. She really did not want to send horse home, but she needed his robe for the girl. She had not been without horse for very long it would be weird, Mush like cutting off your own arm. However, she was running low on food for horse. He needed d more than just pellets and that was all she had left. This trade was taking longer than it should. She grabbed the fur and was showing Miriam how to wear it over her head and body when Seth broke through the ice blocks exposing inside the Iglu to the elements. It was bright outside and Sebella had to close her eyes for a minute so they could adjust. She thought that Seth would have been aware of the blindness that comes with sudden light, but he stood there all proud of himself. Sebella sighed and helped knock a few more blocks out. She then led horse outside
“Horse. Go home. Go get some good food. See Lanna she has the best grass always. Get strong and then come back for me. “
Horse looked at her for minute ,then nickered and ran off at full gallop. Sebella watched until she could not see horse, then watched a little longer until she could control the silent tears. Horse and dog were her best friends. Dog he gave a small whine when he saw horse gallop off. He came to Sebella and put his big head under his hand. The stood like that. Silently saying goodbye to their friend.
Sebella abruptly turned around and grabbed her bag.
“Ready?” She asked the other two.
Seth was but Miriam was afraid. She did not understand why they would go to her home. Her home that was over ran with Ravagers. When Sebella patiently explained that Ravagers never one place their home for long and that they were probably long gone, Miriam yielded. The three of them headed toward the place Miriam had called home. Seth made sure he stayed a few feet away from both women and dog ranged ahead nose to the ground.
They had only gone a few miles when dog went into a low crouch, snarling at what was coming towards the trio. It was a group who were riding some kind of motorcycle type vehicles. Some four wheeled some two wheeled. Sebella was amazed, where did they get fuel? But she had little time to ponder it. There another sound. Ever so slight, but there. It was the sound of the ice singing a death knell. Softly quietly a tiny crack appeared. All of a sudden dog shot past her.
She grabbed Miriam and looked at Seth and softly she said, “Run”.
And run they did. Sebella could hear the crack getting better even over Miriam’s screaming. She wished the woman would be little quieter though so she could hear better but dog was just ahead sitting as if nothing was happening. When Sebella reached dog, she stopped. Her breath coming in short bursts. All three of them turned around and looked at the group pursuing them.
Miriam was screaming. “It is them! It is them! It is the Ravagers!”
Seth was staring, wide eyed.
Sebella was clutching her knife but she wasn’t sure why.
She told Miriam, “Hush now we are safe”.
“No we are not, here they come.”
“Yes, we are. Ice will save us”
As Sebella spoke the last words there was a moaning sound and the ice under them shuddered. In slow motion, the Ravagers stopped and then the entire group disappeared. Another shudder and if not for Miriam’s crying all would be silent.