• June 16, 2024

The Lantern of Kaamos – A Adventure Short Story by Jonathan Page – Reedsy Prompts

The melting Arctic is a crime scene, and I am like CSI Ny-Ålesund. Trond is the anonymous perpetrator leaving evidence and clues for me to discover, like breadcrumbs leading back to him. “Jonna,” he had said, the day we first met at the research institute, “If you are going to make it up here, don’t lock your doors.” It seemed like a life philosophy, rather than a survival tip.

It is ironic. Out on Kings Bay, the coal miners came first, then the science outposts. Trond was already out here mining the Arctic when I was still just a bright-eyed undergrad, out to save nature from the ravaging capitalists.

When we met, we both understood immediately that we were on opposite sides. I guess sleeping with the enemy isn’t out of the question when it is seventeen below. At winter’s end, we both got the tattoo “79 ° North” on our shoulders. After flask after flask of bittersweet Jägermeister Mule and a night of cross-country skiing on the fjord to observe the Northern Lights, there seemed to be a permanence in the gesture. A holiness to it. Sacramental and sacred. We weren’t big drinkers and we had used a month of drinking credits to line our shelves, to consecrate the occasion.

We had lived together in the world’s northernmost settlement, located on the southern bank of Kongsfjorden, throughout the whole of the polar night. The tattoo was a memento and a reminder of that time. The promise of an unbreakable bond. Then, with the first sunrise, everything changed. As a biologist, I should know by now that what is forged in the endless night, seldom survives the spring thaw. SEE THE NEXT PART AFTER

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