Microcuento 1: The Old Man and the Ice

I thought it would be amusing and would keep me in practice if every week I posted a microcuento set in a world that was fantastical, but not too dissimilar from ours. The first does not seem much like a fantasy story, but I’m hoping to squeeze them into a similar framework with time, all set in the same place. We’ll see what happens.

 

The Old Man and the Ice

A man from the sea thought he would journey into the country to see what it was like. Above all else, he desired to know what it was like in a place where the mornings were not drowned in the salty aromas of the ocean’s waters, and the gentle humming of the waves did not caress the ear to awaken.

He climbed over the mountain with some merchants who were returning to their country villages after selling goats-milk cheese and dates to the fishermen. The smell of grass, wet in the morning, was foreign to him, and he indulged in it freely.

When he was on his own, however, he was soon lost and a putrid smell infested the air. An old man with a crooked shape was carrying a block of ice on his back. His ribs seemed to protrude irrationally from his skin and his knees clopped against each other like horses’ hooves against the ground. His beard was composed of patches of long white hair and areas of wrinkled skin, and his eyes wandered independently of each other. The putrid smell was him.

“Old man, let me assist you!” the man from the sea exclaimed. The old man resisted him. “Why do you carry this ice upon your back? Your flesh seems to be freezing and it dribbles down your chest! When was the last time you ate? Slept? Breathed! Your back seems permanently afflicted by the weight of your determination!”

“Ice? What Ice?” he said, walking away, leaving a trail of blood behind from his scarred feet.

The man from the sea returned home just as the sun was parallel to the sea, and the gentle hum of the familiar ocean soothed his soul.

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