That’s right, it’s that time again. Saturday Showcase. This week we have with us author of Behind Palace Walls, Erin Chase. Let’s see what she has for us.
Erin’s Prompt: The land was completely covered in ice, all but that one tree. That tree was our hope. Our only hope.
Trapped in a Sea of White
We weren’t sure how many of us were still left on this planet. Was it just the three of us? Were there other groups that had survived? The Great Ice Storm – as we now referred to it – had hit without warning. Well I suppose that’s not completely true. We knew it was coming, but we didn’t know it would be so soon. The three of us had started preparing months and months before anyone else really knew what was going on. It was Tianna who first brought the impending danger to our attention. “I’m not sure when it will hit, but it will hit. It will hit hard and fast!”
Tianna had discovered the anomaly while going through her late mentor’s research data. Though the young scientist had tried to convince her superiors of Earth’s impending demise, they simply shrugged her off. Dr. Allsmith had become the laughing stock of the scientific community, and unfortunately, the treatment of his research papers the young mentor had found was no different. When Tianna realized no one would take her seriously, she came to me first, “Laurel, we need to start preparing for the worst. We either survive on our own, or we perish with the rest of them.”
That seemed to be ages ago now. We were lucky to find the cave when we did. With Tianna’s quick thinking, Teran’s access to resources, and my spelunking skills, we were able to locate a deep cavern that would hopefully keep us safe from the elements. I didn’t have enough time to explore the entire cave, but it would provide us shelter and the fresh water we needed to stay alive. The river that flowed through the cavern looked like it had carved out its path in prehistoric times. Stalactites dangled from the ceiling, while jagged stalagmites rose from the floor of the cave. There was plenty of room for the three of us, our food, and our supplies.
When the Great Ice Storm hit, we had had just delivered one of our many loads. We were nowhere near ready to move into our new “home,” but we didn’t really have a choice either. Tianna and Teran had just climbed out of the deep recess in the earth, when I popped my head up behind them. What I saw in the distance still makes me shudder. The ground was rapidly turning into a sheet of ice. The trees, grass, animals, and even the rocks were quickly coated in white crystals. I grabbed Teran’s ankle before I dove back down the rock face, hoping the pair would understand and follow suit. We scrambled deeper into the belly of the cavern, hoping and praying we would outrun the storm. A rush of cold air like nothing I had ever felt before followed us. Luckily the storm had lost momentum by the time we were back to our home base.
It took us days to finally gain the courage to explore the surface. The world had turned pure white. The only speck of color I saw was a tinge of grey where shadows once lay.
We waited another full week before we chose to explore again. We had packed a calendar and battery-powered clock to keep track of the time, not realizing just how long we would be down here.
Days turned into weeks. We realized nothing was going to change above ground any time soon. It was Teran who suggested we travel deeper into the cave. We walked along the shore of the subterranean river, following the direction it flowed. We negotiated gradual twists and turns, finally coming to rest in a particularly shallow spot. A thick beam of light shone down on the ground just a few feet ahead of us. Without hesitation, I grabbed my spelunking gear and climbed the steep wall of rock. I was able to easily grab the ledge and peer outside. At first all I saw was more ice, but slowly something caught my eye. Is that green I see over there? The land was completely covered in ice, all but that one tree. That tree was our hope. Our only hope.
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