Thursday February 9th, 2017

The exercise:

Write something that has to do with: the avalanche.

Worked from 8 until 1 at the bakery today so that I could be home in the afternoon to help with the sick kids. Max seems to be in a holding pattern while Miles is maybe hopefully slowly improving. The antibiotics seem to be helping him, at any rate.

Woke up this morning with a sore throat. A warm cup of water with honey and lemon juice helped, but I'm not sure how long I'll be able to get away with that.


The avalanche had struck without warning. Temperatures had remained consistent in the week leading up to the catastrophe and no new snow had fallen for four days. The town and its residents hadn't stood a chance.

It seemed like a casual, almost backhanded reminder from Mother Nature that although her mountains are most often majestic and benign, they also brim with the potential for annihilation. 

There was a search for survivors afterward, of course. But no one expected to find such a fortunate soul and no one did. The army collected bodies and labelled bags with the names of the deceased whenever possible. Soldiers in thick winter gear worked in silence under the watchful eye of their commander.

When a secret room was uncovered with the remains of five men within it, excitement buzzed through their ranks like bees once did in spring meadows. Had the organizers of the resistance finally been found? Could the government's foot soldiers at last return home to their families, comforted by the knowledge that their freedom and security was no longer in doubt?

It took nearly two weeks to discover that the avalanche had been man-made. It took less than a day after that to confirm that the bodies of the five men in the secret room were not who the army had very nearly convinced themselves they were.

And so, with nothing but a stone cold trail to attempt to pick up and now suddenly weeks behind their quarry, the search resumed.


Greg said...

I hope the sickness is staved off by the honey and lemon -- I think honey does have mild antibacterial properties, but I don't think either of the two are antiviral I'm afraid. Still, if you like the taste there's always the placebo effect!
Ah, it's rather nice to get a revisit to the conspirators, although we're hearing the other side of the tale now and seeing how resourceful they are. Now that we have both sides it's a little trickier to decide who we should be rooting for though... they both make their cases quite nicely. I shall ponder on it, and wait and see if there are any more bulletins from the front while I do so :)

The avalanche
Geraldinium Holmes had apparently decided that Sixticton was a home from home and had donated her last two pieces of artwork to the town. One sat in Asbestos Park, testament to a more naive time and now best viewed while wearing a gas-mask and from a safe distance. The older folk would reminisce about walking there on the pristine white paths, usually while coughing phlegmatically, and children would sneak past the fences and through the barriers and play in the playground there when they thought no-one would catch them. Also often coughing phlegmaticallly, a Sixticton trait. The other was in the grounds of the Sixticton Monastery, which had been converted to an Orangery after the last monk had died of a wasting sickness that consumed him from the inside out and involved a lot of coughing. That sculpture was called the Peeled Orange and rumour had it had been based on pictures of atrocities from Tibet. Many people had stood looking thoughtfully at the sculpture, fresh orange-juice running down their chins and over their fingers, debating what it might be and what it might represent. There was a definite human form in there, but the muscle and sinew seemed too surfaced and too taut. Sixticton's art critics fought in the newspaper's weekly art column, putting forward theories and knocking down those of other critics.
Then Geraldinium sold her next piece of artwork to the town council, prompting cries of "Fix!" and "Lollygagging!" from the watching audience. The skinny thug was eventually calmed down and someone explained to him what "lollygagging" actually meant, and the proposal to purchase the sculpure, The Avalanche was passed. Then the floor was opened to discuss where to exhibit the sculpture.
"It should be thrown into the caldera," said Ms. Holmes, striking a pose. In profile she looked distinctly swinish, so this was noteworthy though not flattering. She was referring to the still fuming mouth of the volcano that had recently erupted and narrowly missed turning Sixticton into a modern-day Pompei. "It will appease the gods and goddesses that bring lava to the surface."
"I say," said a gentleman in the audience seats. People turned to look at him. "Aren't you the lady with the kitten press?"

Greg said...

"We're paying a lot of money for this sculpture," said the Mayor. She was a young woman who thought she'd been applying for an internship and so was Mayoring only part-time; the rest of the time the Mayor's office was run by a temp from an agency. "I don't think we can just throw the sculpture into the volcano. We might as well throw the money in there instead." There was a murmuring from the audience about that.
"Perhaps we could put it on the western slope," said the bakery assistant, who was serving on the council that week also as a part-time job. "The geologists say that's where any more eruptions are likely to go. That way we're not wasting money, and if there is a need for an offering, it's in place."
Light applause, followed by "I say! Really though, you're the artist with the pressed kittens right? And a kitten press?"
"Not much of a western slope left," said another voice. "Not after the snowboarding."
Everyone looked at the skinny thug, who was staring at the dictionary with the vacant gaze of someone who's discovered King Tut's treasure chamber before the tomb robbers.
"Put it on Main Street?" suggested the Mayor.
"Bad luck," said the bakery assistant. "We don't want to attract avalanches."

Marc said...

Greg - well, it's a part of what I'm doing. And it does seem to help with my sore throat. So, you know, whatever helps.

Thanks! I feel like there might be more to come, and shall attempt to not make you wait too long for it.

This is a fun and entertaining scene. Always a treat to hear what's going on in the Six :D