A submission for the Alaskan Flash Challenge
It was 3:00pm as Androv’s niece and nephew, Dina and Tarnak, approached him after getting off the plane from Anchorage. His weathered face crinkled with a smile beneath icy-blue eyes. After bear hugs all around, Androv grabbed their bags and they walked toward his truck.
His housekeeper, Anna, had hot cocoa waiting for them, which they all enjoyed while waiting for their supper of fish stew and fresh-baked bread to be served. Uncle Androv had a few shots of Vodka with his, which Anna tsk-tsked.
“In the morning,” he said, eyes twinkling, “I have something special to show you.”
Bundled up, their backpacks stuffed with provisions, they set off toward the cliff-lined shore. The entire area was draped in a pearl-gray mist. Fur seals and sea lions snuffled and barked. A few birds took flight; others preened and squawked.
Androv slowed his pace before stopping at a lush patch of scrub near a rocky outcropping. “I have a surprise,” he said, pointing. “Look – there’s a hole in one.”
“A hole in what, Uncle?” Dina asked, croaching down next to her brother.
Androv pointed again. “It’s a lava tube.”
Teeth chattering, Tarnak asked, “Where does it go?”
“To a very special place. You’ll see. . .but first, just listen.”
Tarnak and Dina leaned closer to the hole, braced by their uncle’s hands. Their breath flowed cold in front of them as they sat still, listening. Was that a woman’s voice?
And then a column of icy fog burst through the opening, knocking them all backwards. The fog swirled, reaching out its fridgid fingers to caress Androv’s cheek, then each of the children in turn before gathering itself into a more solid, recognizable form.
“Children. . .you remember your Aunt Sophie?”