Some drabbles sharing bleak winter cheer…
The soft smell of smoke haunted the air, driving the ragged group of people onward through the snow. Behind them, the glow of fire lit the sky with the only hope stretching into the forest. The moon beckoned them forward, its calming silver light muting their fear.
“Are they following?” Whispers broke the silence. “No, we’re alone.”
“Did the others escape?”
“I don’t know.”
A different kind of silence fell in the night, broken by harsh, frayed breathing.
By morning the stench of smoke and woodland was behind them, with the road to the mountains winding ahead through the snow.
The static hum and creak of gears vibrated inside the ice, mechanisms perpetually moving within the web of magic. A glow of golden light lit the dusk, illuminating the cracks and rock surrounding the device, and casting a gleam over the frozen tundra. It outlasted its makers, outperformed the very civilization that conceived it, and remained a forgotten monument to a people that fled through its portals.
And here it would stay, trapped in the ever creeping ice, a frozen block of technical hubris, a forsaken drudge in everlasting existence to no purpose. The forever monument to what was Atlantis.
The old grey mill persisted, abandoned and weathered, buried in the depths of winter, accumulated snowdrifts nipping at its peeling paint, icicles swinging faint chimes from its eaves. The wheel still creaked in the wind, though never turning, frozen in the ice and its own rusted gears. Rustling sounded under the piles of dust and forgotten chaff; mice scurrying in the cold, nibbling at their food stores before burrowing back in the holes for warmth. A barn owl tracked the mice, but stayed perched in the rafters, content to rest.
Outside, the wane morning sun peaked out from the clouds.