Qalupalik

27 Apr

by: Megan Finsel

Lynn Canal, Alaska
December 6, 1905

Without the light he would have been lost, wandering the frozen canal for hours. When it cut through the dense night, beckoning to him, he grabbed it with his eyes and refused to let go. He had made it this far, but as he tried to run, the ocean seemed destined to keep him as a prisoner; causing his shoes to slip with every step.

The wind laughed at him.

“Look at him,” it said, “the stupid boy can’t keep his footing!”

“Silly child…”

“Run Inuit!”

He kept his eyes focused on the place he knew Eldred Rock to be. He watched as the lighthouse beacon rotated slowly around and around, and he determinedly put one foot in front of the other.

The wind rose against him. “Run!” it screamed.

The shore was in sight when he heard her soft humming from behind him. His ears said it was only the wind. Still, his imagination ran ahead, leaving him in the dark with unspeakable terrors.

The humming echoed through the cold, bouncing off the clouds overhead and the frozen swells surrounding him.

“Do you hear that, child?”

He ran faster.

“She is coming for you…”

The light broke the darkness, reaching for him as if trying to draw him in to the safety of the harbor; an embodiment of hope.

Then, there came a sound from behind.

He slid to a stop.

He heard the pounding, and felt the vibrations under his feet. He looked down to see her palm pressed against the underside of the glassy ice.

Her humming grew louder. Qalupalik; the she-demon, the kidnapper of rebellious children who snuck too close to the water’s edge.

His body was numb and his heart rattled hollowly against his sternum. His ears rang with both her humming voice and the tales his Aana had embedded inside him.

“This is it,” the wind sang, “she is here for you. You never should have tried to escape.”

The light seemed closer now. It enveloped him; taking him in with loving arms, swaddling him in warmth.

Her humming grew still louder. She continued to strike the underside of the ice.

He ran. The shore was within reach; the rocky shoreline so close now he could taste the salt that encrusted its surface.

He heard the ice shatter as he jumped for the shore, landing face-down on the wet, cold sand. A hand grabbed him by the ankle. He looked down at her sickly, green skin and began kicking, but to no avail. His fingers dug into the sand, as her fingernails bit into his flesh. He met her eyes, glowing just beneath the surface of the water, as she smiled a wicked grin.

 

Bio: Writing is my passion. It’s how I connect with the world, and how I share my thoughts, ideas, and feelings. If you want to truly know me more, you need to read my stories because I put a piece of my heart into each one.

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