Scott Daughtridge is the author of I Hope Something Good Happens (Lame House Press). Most recently his work has appeared in Midwestern Gothic, CHEAP POP, DOGZPLOT, Curbside Splendor, Necessary Fiction, Matchbook, and other places. “Savage Earth” is a selection from a story collection
in progress titled, “Strange Temple.” You can find him online at notmuchisreallysacred.com.
The ice covering the lake had turned spiteful and seemed alive, grew as if it were made of skeleton, teeth and blood. The ice had beat its boundary and, with no serenity or mercy to speak of, clawed its way onto the grass, blooming like billions of screaming silverfish crawling over each other, fucking and giving birth to babies that then fucked and gave birth to babies that fucked and gave birth and so on, buzzing with a language no human could decipher: That of a rusted steel train, that of a grinding axe, that of an arrow entering a bird’s chest. There were no human voices to combat the stabbing vibrations of violent sound. The child, woman and man who lived in the tall stone house on the lake’s shore did not stay to witness the destruction the fierce, depraved earth was capable of. They bagged their clothes and food, caged their cat and dog and, with frostbitten hands, lugged everything they could carry toward thawed ground. There were no white flags, no peace treaties. The unrestrained frozen expanse, all silver and white, grew in feet by the second. It devoured the porch, it shattered the sliding glass door. It burst through the windows, moved into the abandoned house, through the kitchen, over the carpet. The walls became wet and the stairs crumbled. The ice claimed the space as its own. It whispered it so, it said, all this, all this is mine, all this is mine now.