Under the Snow

Proverbially, spring after a snowy winter is a time of unburdening and rediscovery. Thaw is an ugly word for a lovely phenomenon.

Or so Pat had always felt.

He checked the progress from the kitchen window. The snow was clearing away but there was something new and problematic out there. Namely, a mound or tumulus in his backyard which he could not account for.

Probably, he decided, it was just a mound of unusually deep snow. He would leave it. In his experience, most puzzles and problems resolved themselves in time. No doubt as the warmer weather set in, the mound would disappear.

However it did not. Instead, the disappearance of the snow gradually revealed what appeared to be a large nondescript grey mass.

After wondering about it for a while, he took a spade and went to investigate properly.

The mass seemed to be alive, or had been alive. But it was curiously insubstantial, with the consistency of a poorly set jelly. The substance of the thing seemed to shimmer slightly, as if it were only a hologram or a magic lantern display.

Overall, it reminded him of a child’s attempt at a dinosaur modeled out of multicoloured plasticine; or perhaps a vanquished and moribund serpent; but there was also something bejeweled and heraldic about it. It was too big to move en masse and yet he found the process of digging into it unappealing. It felt like he was desecrating something unique.

He had no idea what it was or what to do with it. He was right about one thing though. The problem did go away. The creature, or whatever it was, steadily dissipated. It seemed to be made of something volatile and the size of the mass just gradually decreased. It was not rotting exactly, but undergoing some kind of deliquescence perhaps, some return to primordial elements.

There was no stench, but rather a faintly floral smell like an “odour of sanctity”.

Then, one warm morning, Pat woke to find that the thing had gone completely.

Afterwards, he regretted not keeping proper records of some kind. It would have been good, he thought, to have put up a nice tribute site to his monster on the Internet. Maybe someone could have identified it. He wondered how the thing had gotten there in the first place. Did it fall from the sky? Or had it crawled out onto the surface to die?

It raised more questions than it answered and left him more bemused by existence than ever before.

However he was pleased that the puzzle of the entity would never be explained away and leveled down to dullness like so much of everyday life. It was like something out of childhood, remaining unexplained and unspoilt. His own private monster. A huge secret which would join him in his grave.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Julian O'Dea on September 8, 2015 at 4:01 am

    I made a few changes.


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