She was walking along a sandy shore, cool grains rolling beneath her bare feet. Looking around, she frowned a bit. It was a beach, but which one … and where? She spied an old soil-and-straw Cobb house in the distance, rising ever so slightly from the tall grass just beyond the dunes, and her breath caught. It couldn’t be.
The thatched roof was caving under years of neglect, the small stone chimney beginning to crumble, but even in such dire shape, she recognized the cottage. Her childhood home. But how did she get there? This house—this beach—this was Iceland. How—
Suddenly a massive thunderhead rolled in behind the cottage, dominating the sky as it loomed toward her with unnatural speed, roiling angrily. Thunder boomed, lightning striking the landscape, and a blaze erupting in its wake.
Eira was overwhelmed by a sudden sense of violent foreboding as the storm bore down on her. Something evil approached, a foul scent riding the winds of the storm. Eira didn’t know—she couldn’t know—what it was, but it was there. She could sense it.
Another bolt arced out, striking the dunes behind her in a crackle of electric fury that echoed and shifted, becoming a maniacal cackle, and the cloud above her twisted, transforming into a wicked face that grinned down at her, laughing with gleeful malice.
“Loki!” Eira screamed, stricken with terror.
Panicking—gripped by fear—she turned and dove into the icy waters of the sea, swimming without thought or reason, consumed by an inexplicable, yet desperate, need to escape. It was the devil, himself, and just when she’d thought she was finally safe. But he had found her, somehow… Found her and brought her here. She had to escape.
But the water grew choppy, frothing waves surging all around her, and before she could save herself, Eira went under, struggling against the current that tugged her down. She fought for her life… Her head broke the surface… She gasped for breath … and saw to her horror that everything around her had flipped upside down.
She was underwater again, her lungs filling with thick, salty water as she inhaled. It burned beyond words.
The searing sensation of the sea in her lungs—her heart racing as though it may burst—hurt like hell, but somehow, she didn’t drown. Aside from the pain and panic, she … seemed fine. She floated, weightless beneath the waves, and somehow, she was just … fine.
Then a stream of bubbles rose from the shadowy depths, calling her gaze down. Below her, ruined buildings littered the ocean floor, remnants of some ancient civilization long since destroyed. They were scarcely recognizable—anyone else would have thought them little more than scattered spires of stone, if not for the obvious symmetry of the structures. Small depressions marred the surfaces of most—windows, she decided, though it was just a guess. The combination of erosion and deposition had rendered them utterly blank. A few more years and no one would know the difference—just another strange formation created by the tides, which would have washed away any evidence to the contrary.
Nothing could live there, and nothing had for some time—how could it? In her short time beneath the icy waters, Eira hadn’t seen even a single fish. What could live in such dark, desolate depths, except the ghosts of a world now lost? Yet there was something… Somehow, the streams were growing thicker, a swirling curtain of bubbles engulfing her, hinting that she wasn’t alone. Something was down there—something big, hidden within the wavering gloom.
Eira frowned, her brow knotting. Was that movement!? An illusion cast by the liquid haze? She couldn’t tell. Her body tensed, jaw clenched and heart racing as she peered into the watery twilight, waiting … silently praying that she was imagining the whole thing.
And then a long shadow slid languidly from amid the buildings, slowly revealing its ophidian nature. Eira’s heart stopped and her blood turned icy, frozen with terror—renewed and redoubled—as the demon revealed itself.
Jormungandr? The Midgard Serpent—cursed son of the devil, Loki—condemned by the gods to an eternity beneath the waves. The legend was older than time, and Eira had never truly believed it.
Now, it seemed, she wouldn’t have a choice.
Then, without warning, the monstrous serpent exploded into view and sped toward her, its cavernous jaws gaping to reveal venomous fangs. Eira screamed, her horror escaping as a bubbling stream of her own, and tore at the water in a vain attempt to out-swim the creature.
But the ocean floor ripped open, creating a massive whirlpool, and the water drained into the rift, swallowing the serpent. Eira swam with all her strength to avoid being sucked down into the watery abyss along with it. Driven by sheer instinct—the need to survive and the dread of horrors unknown—she fought the current, futile as it was to even try, slipping ever closer to the hole despite her efforts. The force of the vortex wrenched her down into the ruined buildings, then further still, bombarding her with debris as the city was razed, its stones joining the maelstrom.
The gaping, jagged maw drank the sea with seemingly insatiable thirst. And the closer she drew, the harder she swam. But the vortex only pulled harder.
Suddenly her feet disappeared beyond the edge of the rift. She was losing. Eira grasped at the sea floor in hysterical frenzy, searching for an anchor—anything that may save her—
And then the water was gone.
Eira was lying face down beside a gaping chasm.
B. Three Eagles is a long time doodler, freelance designer and artist. She comes from a mixed background of Native American and Gaelic cultures, both of which are celebrated in her daily life. Since childhood, B. has kept journals of random daydreams and short stories, but didn't officially delve into the world of writing (you know, for other people) until the summer of 2010.
She currently lives in the foothills of the Ozarks mountain range with her husband and daughter.
Her debut novella, Book of Seidr is set to be released in 2015 as an introductory prelude to the first novel of the series, Lady Valkyrie n Element Alive series.