2018-10-08 21:27 fiction flash-fiction Benjamin Brood

Killing Aquarius

They got goosebumps as they rounded the long, narrow chasm. To their left they could hear water. To their right they could feel the sparks. A little farther and they would be out of range. They dragged the sled behind them, the metal chassis against the gravel grumbling and shaking. These ingredients were in demand. The lapis. The infant in the vessel. Scales from the serpent. A twig from the tree. These things would bring a good price. Then they were overwhelmed by the the smell of sulfur. They quickened their pace. Behind them there was a shriek from a bird. As they pulled the sled faster the crackle and pop of the small rocks under them became a hiss of urgency. It was forbidden to be here. The trade was risky, but they'd never been caught, it was too terrible to think about. Concentrate on getting back, he yelled. Under this sky they appeared vibrant, striated with energy, tendrils of life were illuminated from them. Ignore it, he warned. They couldn't stop, even if there was temptation, there was a threat of transformation, absorption into the chaos. They wouldn't be the first to become lost. The traps they'd placed, some a long time ago, had been painstakingly positioned. Not all of these had been fruitful, but enough to make this difficult journey worthwhile. Ahead, they were close, the ground became sand and the sled was easily pulled. Close, he said, so close keep focused.