This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
The boy that woke with a stifled cry was the first to see the broken world humankind left behind; for them.
Every little sound was magnified to proportions that were hardly tolerable. He couldn’t move a muscle without releasing strained sounds that reflected his pain. His breaths were quick and loud to his ears. There was a constant pounding in the vicinity as well. Though the boy was having trouble distinguishing that it was the sound of his own heart. Every time the ice cracked, it was like thunder. The smallest of noises were oh… so… loud.
Drip. Drop. Drip.
He was the pale ghost of what was once a strong, healthy boy. He was losing his hold of all sanity, inwardly thrashing like a fish out of the water. Most of his limbs were trapped beneath something he couldn’t quite comprehend. Mere hours before, the boy couldn’t feel a thing. He had been numb. Only then did he realize how lucky he had been. At that moment, fear dominated all his actions, as did the noise. The horrendous and excruciatingly slow effects of his enclosure slowly melting tore at every fiber of his being. If he could think properly, he would wonder why the world was suddenly against him.
Then again, if he could remember for just a moment, he’d realize it always was.
He couldn’t stop the sounds, couldn’t cover his ears, couldn’t shout without more pain following, but he could do but one thing; suffer.
And he did exactly that.
Everything felt foreign, nothing was right as it should have been to the boy. Instincts told him to scream, since that was surely entailed in suffering. He obliged to this, hollow shrieks escaping him as if someone could hear his cries.
There were other near, they could possibly hear, if they weren't so deep within cold slumbers... and even if there was someone that could possibly come help, the process of extracting him from the icy tomb would be numbing and cruel. In many ways, it wasn’t possible. His left arm was within a frozen cuff while the other was sitting atop the ice, fingers curled and twitching with a heavy sheet of frost over his skin.
The frozen mass that encased him was so eerily clear that every detail of the boy’s body could be seen beneath. The hair on his arms, the way the thin cotton of a gray hospital gown was perfectly positioned around him. The lower half of his body still remained trapped; his head rested in a jagged bowl of ice, a section still over his neck.
The boy had locks of dark brown hair and at one point his skin appeared to have been a natural, dark tan. His brows were coated in specks of white, like snow. The lashes on his eyes, equally as white. They were frozen shut. He couldn’t see exactly what was around him, but he knew it was there.
More time would pass. Droplets of freezing liquid would continue abusing his ears as they fell. In that time, he managed to stiffly move the lower half of his arm. It bent upwards as he tried to wiggle his fingers, but to no avail. Something was wrong, terribly wrong. This belief increased when he finally was able to open an eye, crackling sounds echoed. The boy stared blankly at his raised hand, shivering profusely. They were gray eyes, nearly void of all emotion, but they were still filled with longing, begging the wretched ice to leave. He wanted to be free.
Drip. Drip. Dri-
“Argh--” His purple lips parted as he cried, writhing hopelessly.
Hopeless... were his efforts. He knew this inside. The boy would just have to endure the insufferable echoes of the ice melting. He would have to slowly lift each limb until they each worked properly. The boy would have to wait, though his patience was already gone. Every virtue that would empower him to have hope was useless in those moments.
Sinister thoughts were starting to plague his mind. He was beginning to think that he didn’t have to wait, he could just give in. He could hand himself over to the dull tug that had been in the back of his head since his multiple wakings, lurking and drawing nearer. But this was also something the boy couldn't do, it wasn't within the parameters of his suffering, not with the pulsing will to survive, flickering boldly within his soul.
If he hadn’t been concentrating on his compromising position, he would have seen his surroundings. He was laid out on top of a sleek, ebony platform that sat slightly elevated compared to the floor of the room that was slate in hue. The floor was covered in shards of ice and puddles that created a moat around the platform. Above the boy were screens, they faced outwards, low enough for someone standing to reach. One flickered, trying to hang on to its energy supply like the boy was. The other devices that surrounded the platform from above were blank, having given in long before. All of them were hanging by thin wires, or in the least what remained of some. They had been like this ever since the boy initially woke with the first of many quivers.
Drop. Crash! Drip. Drip.
One of the screens had fallen, attacking the ice that encased his abdomen. He let out a shrill cry as it crackled and shattered. The sounds shrieked in his ears, hollering at him. Bits of ice skidded across the floor around him, joining others within the puddles. He squirmed, helping to break down the ice, but it was a wasted attempt. The boy’s nerves were still numb, still too cold.
The boy was regaining a few more of his senses and wasn’t quite certain as to whether or not this was good. As he kicked his foot out, more ice flying around him, he let out another short-lived shout. His face contorted in pain as he moved his right leg free. He went to sit up, only to realize there was yet the ice around his neck, keeping him against the hard surface for some time longer.
The ice around his thigh loosened with time and the boy bent his knee. It was now propped up as he began to kick at his left leg. It didn’t improve anything. Each impact caused his foot to slip instead of a deal any damage. Tears that were pouring from his eyes were starting to freeze the second they reached his cheeks. Those gray eyes wavered as they struggled to look at his left arm, still encased in an icy cuff. Faintly, he could see black writing imprinted onto it. He squinted his eyes, deciding with himself the last thing he had to do was to see what it was, that was it and afterward he could give up. For the next couple hours, he had something to hang onto life for.
And then, he was finally able to make out the dark ink.
The boy didn’t understand what this meant. If he did, he’d know one thing; he was important. He didn’t know this, however, instead he watched the marking a while longer, thoughts dull before his gaze moved away. He let his eyes close, his breaths deepening.
Somehow, the boy relaxed. The nagging pull in the back of his head was consuming his thoughts. The boy felt at ease, at peace. All the questions he could have been asking about where he was or even who he had been was irrelevant. The only thing he comprehended now was how chilly the ice was. For an anomalous reason, this calmed him.
However, things are never calm for long.
The boy’s eyes flew open at the sound of destruction. He shook at the sudden and piercing clamor of a window on the opposite side of the room being smashed. Glass joined the ice, looking uncannily similar to it. A massive figure squeezed through the newly made entrance. Hungry eyes that were black and shimmering were soon gazing down at the boy.
The body was behemoth in size, covered in shaggy hair that was missing in large patches, revealing blotched skin below. Its jaws parted, revealing sharp canines meant for tearing flesh. A snarl escaped them, a hollow roar. And then, it surged forward.
Mutant One had thought he’d emitted the shrillest sound possible earlier; he hadn’t.
Sara Grover: Being that this is your first story and I assume first draft, a lot of little mistakes are common, we all have made them; little things like your instead of you're, missed capitalization, missing punctuation, etc. As for the plot, I have a lot of questions and I did leave comments on certain sect...
Tiffany Thomson: This story is not something I would normally pick up and read but I'm so glad I did, I wasn't able to put it down and my husband was yelling at me at 3am to put it down and go to bed (just waited for him to doze back off before picking it back up) I really hope Natalie brings out another book eit...
genlynne2379: I read the other review of this book and I must say that I disagree with it wholeheartedly. I do not believe the author put the apostrophes in the names just to be unique, but because the characters are supposedly of a different race than humans. They are Anmah. They should have different names a...
Diyfamilygarden: This is one of the best books I've ever read! The characters, the unique love and everything else in this book is so well written that it feels like you're there! Like you can see it with your own eyes! J.K.Rowling can watch out, this fantasy book is just as good as the Harry Potter books, maybe ...
Lorena Boothe: A few paragraphs in and I was immersed into a new world.I wasn't expecting that at all.I thought it might take a few more chapters for sure. Did I keep reading?You bet I did.I lost track of time until I had devoured this tale.Fun characters, awesome plot and lovely language. All I ever want in a ...
sujitha nair: What's so distinct about this story was that it could easily be real. Praveena can be your classmate, neighbor or that girl you saw at the coffee shop today. The important decisions she makes and the dilemmas she faces, remind us of our own twisted lives.
JWalker: I loved this story from start to finish! It flows at a really nice pace and the story world feels so real. The fight sequences are a treat especially when Isanfyre is training to become a warrior. I found the names really cool and thankfully easy to pronounce. Personally I have always struggled w...
Dru83: This is probably the fourth time I've read this one. I read this a few times on fictionpress as dru83. This is a wonderful story. It still needs a lot of shining up as there are many instances of punctuation issues, grammar issues, and issues with using the wrong word. But all that still can't ta...
Pablo Rojas: Love the story, at the end it is a western story, simple, yet giving hints and pieces of the situation that is happening all over ravencroft´s universe. easy to read and always keeping with the main stream story I want to keep reading about, Olafson´s adventures.