thiz iz ayn o they talez telt oan caul nichtz, wi th’ win mutterin mutterin, howlin an gaspin a gale ower th’ great plainz o ice. thiz iz a ferrytale, o th’ kine weanz uzed tae be telt afore they facen th’ dark.

thiz iz a ferrytale, o tha kine we tell each tae th’ ithr oan th’ nichtz ae sacrifize. oan th’ nichtz ae sacrifize, they nichtz tha fine uz huddlen ben oor shelterz, liznin, liznin, ay liznin fer th’ tap slickslidin stepz o He that livez under the ice. thiz iz a tale fer uz tae hisswhisper, ayn tae th’ither az we huddlen ben oor shelterz, ay afeart in case He shud get diztracten fae Hiz feastin an fine uz.

He, He, He o th’ vast black eyez, ay starin, He o th’ long needle fingerz an the mooth so gapin, o th’ slickblack creepin an th’ seepin dread, He. He that takez oor gazez an chillz oor blood. He that we leave oor sacrifizez oot fer, oan the nichtz ae th’ brichtest moonz. He that eatz oor meat.

thiz iz a ferrytale aboot th’ auld dayz, they dayz when th’ great shipz still came tae uz, cuttin thro th’ ice, bringin uz talk an trade, bringin uz barrelz o cool clean watter an sweet thingz tae eat.

in they dayz th’ auld yinz cud sit up oan top o they shelterz with they watchfirez lit, drinkin in sweet wine an th’ sight o th’ sun setten ower th’ great freezin plain. in they auld dayz they didnae huv tae huddle inside afeart eftir layin oot th’ sacrifizez, acause there wiz eywiz enough meat tae satisfy Him. th’ auld yins cud set oot th’ sacrifizez and fall intae a lullin sleep, awakenin in th’ mornin tae see th’ ice slickblack wi blood an safe fer anither moon.

they wid set oot anither sacrifize speshil like when they heert talk o a supply ship arrivin. they kennt, see, that He crawlz back unner th’ ice tae sleep when He iz finishen wi Hiz feastin. so tae guarantee safe passage they wid set oot a great kill fer Him oan th’ nicht afore th’ ship wid be arrivin, an when th’ ship wid arrive He wid be safely sleepin someplace doon i th’ depthz.

an so fer many a yeer they shipz arriven an departen i safety.

but ayn yeer th’ auld yinz heert talk o a great ship arriven, no a supply ship but a rescue ship. a ship big enough tae take them all, men, wimmin, auld yinz, weans, tae take them all away. it wid carry them oot o th’ ice an away tae they cityz that still were staundin oan solid land, ayn o they cityz wi heat an licht an proaper open skyz.

an there wiz great celebration among them, fer they wiz beginnin tae sicken o th’ long nichtz an th’ black watter an th’ fera terrorz that comen creepin in th’ dark. there wiz great joy. an in their frenzy, they lit great boanfirez an slauchteren th’ last o they herdz, no fer Him tae be feastin but tae huv a great banquet, a last great fuck ye tae th’ ice.

so they roasten they meat an feasten an feasten wi no a single morsel left fer He that livez unner th’ ice.

in th’ morn they see th’ great ship fast approachin, an there iz singin an dancin among them az it drawz close. th’ nicht huz been still, an there ur those among them who ur questionin why they ivir left ocht fer Him in th’ first place.

they load their belonginz oantae th’ ferry, singin an shoutin ayn tae th’ ithr, drunk oan th’ prospect o seein sunlicht fer th’ first time in many a yeer. a great shout goez up az th’ ferry drawz away, away fae th’ hateful prison hame.

but az th’ ship drawz oot intae th’ channelz they huv cut through th’ ice, a caulness worse than death beginz tae creep up they spinez, a long slow exhale fae th’ very gutz o th’ eerth.

their end when it comez iz a slick black flickerin, a screamin an a howlin, a rage so great it tearz the ship apart.

there amongst th’ shriekin o metal oan the steamin redblack expanse o jagged an shatteren ice, He haz hiz feast at last.

ah tell yi thiz ferrytale so az yi ken how we nivir neglect tae leave Him oor sacrifize. even az th’ ice drawz closer an the nichtz grow mer full o terror. even az He growz taller an those needleteeth grow sharper. even when we run oot ae meat, we sacrifize oor ayn flesh so az tae feed him.

fer He iz oor king that livez unner the ice. fer Hiz iz oor livez an Hiz iz oor flesh.

since we huv no mer chilrin ahm tellin thiz ferrytale tae you, auld yinz, that ye no forget.

we must honor Him.

Notes – this is something I wrote as a kind of filler chapter for my NaNoWriMo this year (because I am a nerd). I wanted to write a kind of post-apocalyptic fairytale – I was imagining it as a fairytale people would tell each other about their past (i.e. our future) in an icy, horrible, post-apocalyptic world. The rest of the story is set in Scotland, so I wanted to imagine how Scots might change over time, how it might look long into the future.


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