381 words (1 minute read)

Chapter 1

The elders tell stories of these things called trees.

In the stories, they were green and covered almost every square mile of the earth. There were different kinds of trees, some with leaves and some with needles. The ones with the leaves could change color as bright as fire. The elders also say ocean was once blue and warm, not frozen in a barren sheet of death.

Before, the world had been alive.

From the ridge of a mountainous snow dune, Puck watched over the valley below. It was boneyard of capsized tankers and skeletons of numerous ships. The butt end of a jumbo jet had swept inland and half buried under ice.

One massive, skeletal structure that stood out over than the rest was an aircraft carrier fused to the top of a petrified swell. It had been flash-frozen decades ago. It looked as if it could tip over and plummet, teetering on the edge hundreds of feet in the sky. This aircraft carrier was impossible to reach even though many had tried. It was a child’s game to dare each other to climb the spine of the wave and touch the haul.

No one had ever gotten halfway since the incline was so steep.

Puck’s gaze scoured the horizon through a flurry of gray flakes, the hazy light sunk beyond the swell as the sun set. Even at high-noon, the sun’s light was always cold and remained a dull sphere behind a perpetual storm.

The scarf around his face almost stuck to his lips as his breath froze against it. As night crept in the time left to be on the surface shortened.

He turned his back to the ghostly wreck yard. Frost crusted towers were the gravestones of Old Francisco, half buried under a long-dead tsunami.

Puck had listened to countless stories of how the waters flooded the world, and the first Tempest clutched the planet almost a century ago. But his favorite tails were always about trees.