Grave Beginnings: 23

Posted: October 23rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: | No Comments »


Captain Crozier comes up on deck to find his ship under attack by celestial ghosts. Above him — above Terror — shimmering folds of light lunge but then quickly withdraw like the colorful arms of aggressive but ultimately uncertain spectres. Ectoplasmic skeletal fingers extend toward the ship, open, prepare to grasp, and pull back.

The temperature is -50 degrees Fahrenheit and dropping fast. Because of the fog that came through earlier, during the single hour of weak twilight now passing for their day, the foreshortened masts — the three topmasts, topgallants, upper rigging, and highest spars have been removed and stored to cut down on the danger of falling ice and to reduce the chances of the ship capsizing because of the weight of ice on them — stand now like rudely pruned and topless trees reflecting the aurora that dances from one dimly seen horizon to the other. As Crozier watches, the jagged ice fields around the ship turn blue, then bleed violet, then glow as green as the hills of his childhood in northern Ireland. Almost a mile off the starboard bow, the gigantic floating ice mountain that hides Terror’s sister ship, Erebus, from view seems for a brief, false moment to radiate color from within, glowing from its own cold, internal fires.

Opening paragraphs from The Terror
by Dan Simmons
Art by John Picacio

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