Long Dirt Roads – The Monksville Chronicles (42/124)

III
Ice Fishing

They hold watch over The Beast.
It came from within The Gleam.


Long Dirt Roads

A pair of tip-ups, a jiggin’ rig, a lidded bait bucket, and the mighty auger, its spiral blade untarnished after multiple cycles of use – these are the supplies loaded into the sled which The Giant pulls uphill through the heavily falling snow. The once treacherous climb has long been made mellow by the construction of the giants’ dirt roadways, but that means nothing to the blizzard. This blizzard is a force of nature, a wrathful creature with a will all its own sent by the Great Spirit to wreak havoc on the giants and all the other denizens of Mother Monksville’s keep for the inexcusable crimes they’ve committed against her time and time again. Denizens eating other denizens, giants stomping supple grass until it lies dead in long dirt roads, and The Giant, perhaps the most despicable of all, he who killed the very apex ‘breather he released into the lake in the first place. This blizzard has been a long time coming, The Giant is sure of that, and he deserves every frozen flake that falls upon his raw, numbed face.

Though they’re not really flakes, are they? Were these airy ice crystals colored in yellows, oranges, and reds he would mistake the winter for late autumn when the trees shed their leaves in great swathes, almost as if they plan it, almost as if the trees communicate with one another through their roots in a way unfathomable to beings with eyes in their heads. But it is not autumn, it’s the dead of winter and the beginning of a new cycle, ‘tis furious snow that falls from the sky in large clumps on this dark day. Still The Giant presses on, his moccasins strapped with metal claws so he does not fall victim to the slope. The sled follows obediently behind him, its strap heavy in the numb calloused hands of its puller.

‘It’ll be a blessing if I crest this hill,’ The Giant thinks to himself as his claws dig into the frozen dirt. ‘A miracle if any of the bait survives.’

It’s a miracle The Giant has bait at all; as per usual, he was the last fishcatcher to set out of the lower village this morning. Many of his tribesfolk fish the tamed stretch of the Wanaque Res’ day after day – the giants of the Fishing Village would perish if they did not – but only one auger was ever crafted, and the mold was broken after it was made. Not Black Smith’s most brilliant play, but he did it out of respect for The Giant – in his eyes, no other member of his kind is worthy, or capable, even, of wielding such a powerful tool. So, every shinerise, The Giant follows his fishcatchers onto the frozen stretch of tamed Reservoir – hot air rises whilst cold air sinks, and the waterfall only helps with the freezing – and he drills their holes. Then he returns home, visiting the fish hatchery on the way to gather his own bait, and loads his sled. His choice of bait is normally not extensive, despite the respect his villagers claim for him (he does not blame them, as he’s the last to dip into the reserves), but today there were a trio of ample shiners and even a freshwater eel. A traveling merchant traded the slimy snakefish for a bucketful of bass before setting off for the Southlands a few shinecycles passed; The Giant knows not where this merchant found the eel, but he does know one thing: something a’swim in Mother Monksville is going to take it today. Something big, and it shall take it very well.

Hauling his loaded sled up the once treacherous climb is a daily routine for The Giant and it does not get easier with time, but never has the climb been as difficult as it was when he was just a small giant migrating from the lowlands up to the crescent moon valley. Not until today; the snow continues to fall, in clumps, not in flakes.


This has been the sixth subchapter of the third chapter of The Monksville Chronicles. Here is everything you need to know about it:

The Monksville Chronicles

I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.

The Hillside Commons has a Facebook page. Here’s that.

If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. From this day on, we move forever forward~

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