Brutus guided the boat toward a cave that looked small from a distance, but grew to be large enough to fit a cruise ship. The water broke and slapped at the cave walls making it impossible to hear anything else. But April wanted most of all to know where she was. It had begun to dawn on her that she wasn’t thinking clearly. She had almost forgotten the door, that her husband had fallen through and she had gone after him. Waking up in that field had seemed so normal, even Brutus and this island of ice felt perfectly normal.
As they reached the back of the cave, the water began to settle and quiet.
“Is this where you live?” April asked.
“Yup,” Brutus replied. He was distracted as he brought the boat alongside a wooden dock. The small boy leapt out and onto the wooden planks to tie off the boat. “Come on, I want you to see something.”
“It’s too cold here, Brutus,” April said. “I can’t…”
“I know, that’s why we need to go,” Brutus explained.
April climbed out of the boat, but everything she touched was covered in a layer of ice, freezing her skin and speeding up the cold creeping into her chest. Once again Brutus led the way. First into a narrow cavern and then up a set of icy stairs. April noticed that the walls of ice produced their own light, glowing magically.
The stairs were steep, and April’s legs were beginning to burn, but it was at least keeping it warm.
“How much further?” April asked.
“Sorry,” Brutus apologized quickly. “I’m not done building it. But when I am, it’ll be better. I’m gonna have secret passages and maybe an elevator that shoots you all the way to the top really fast.”
“Sounds fun,” April said politely, not knowing if he actually meant it or imagined it. “But for now, how far?”
“All the way to the top,” Brutus said. “You can see everything from up there.”
The top was another hour away, or at least that’s what it felt to April. Brutus pushed open a metal hatch letting in a stream of blinding light. He stepped out, followed by April, onto a massive plateau. But Brutus was right, it was an amazing view. It look out over the dense fog that encircled the island. April could make out the beach where they had set off, and if she squinted, even the field where she had first woken.
Brutus took her hand in his and guided April to the other side of what was an enormous glacier. The view here was of mostly water. The ocean went out as far as the eye could see. It danced like fire as the sun shone down on it. Directly below them was some sort of lake, cut off from the ocean by more ice.
“There,” Brutus pointed. “Do you see?”
He was point into the air and so at first April thought to look for some bird or cloud. When she saw nothing, April’s eyes refocused and spotted what he was trying to show her.
“We’re not going on that are we?” April asked about the rope bridge. It went out from the edge of the ice into what looked like, to April, nothing.
“We have to,” Brutus said. “Please, please. If you don’t I’ll…” He didn’t finish the sentence, instead the buzzing in his throat grew louder. The veins in his face and arms throbbed.
“Okay, okay,” April agreed in the hopes of stopping a tantrum.
Brutus opened his mouth in a disturbing smile. He ran off toward the bridge, and April tried to keep pace. When they arrived, April thought that it didn’t look to bad. It was newly constructed and as she hit it with her foot, it hardly swayed. Brutus didn’t give her much more time than that before he darted along the wood and rope. April took a slower approach.
Every few yards or so, Brutus would stop to urge her forward, until they came closer to the end. There was a door there, floating in mid-air. Brutus waited with his hand on the door knob, looking like he was going to pee his pants. And almost before she was at the end, he flung the door open and dragged her through.
They came out into cave that was too narrow to walk abreast, so that they had to scoot through sideways. The cave came to an abrupt stop and April stepped out into a living room. She looked back to see that she’d come from a large crack in the wall. In the house most of the lights were off, except one or two that provide just enough light to see by.
Directly across from them was the front door, to their left a sliding glass door. There was a hallway that would lead to the three bedrooms and a bathroom. The kitchen was at the front of the house, along with the dining room.
“This is my house,” April said.
“I know, I got it for you,” Brutus replied.
It was definitely April’s house, but, “This isn’t my furniture.”
From the hallway came a noise. A light flicked on and the silhouette of two people was cast across the wall.