by Kim Martins
a hot toddy
May 8, 1912
There it is again. Like a knock on a distant door from an unexpected visitor. It’s closer now. There’s a change in the air, a faint tingle of energy. I feel a dark presence. God help me it’s coming. Every night I’ve heard scratching sounds on the window, scribblings, raspings. I fear I am losing my mind. They told me not to winter-over, that the wretched loneliness would consume me, but I have the huskies for company, their loyalty knows no bounds. I’ve misplaced items: the silver hip flask you gave me, my compass. I cannot remember things; I am not sleeping well.
There! Louder this time. A metallic scraping at the hut door. It’s trying to get in. I cannot say for sure what lies beyond that door, but I must meet it. I pull the door open, and there is…
Nothing but a wind that tugs at me with its thieving hands. Nothing except the huskies wailing, hailing each other, straining at their leads and barking into darkness. Overhead, oh you should see it Marianne, the rhythmic ribbon of the southern lights. Like a serpent of fire - pulsing pinks, purples, golds.
May 9, 1912
I hear the noises again. In the half-light of dawn I think I see….
February 12, 1926
Eriksen’s team reached the hut as a blinding blizzard set in. It was abandoned but would give them protection for a few nights.
“Over here, sir. It looks like Pedersen’s diary.”
The men gathered round a roughly-hewn table, their oil lamp cast amber light across faded pages. A compass and a hip flask, etched with the initials A.P., lay next to the diary.
They felt a change in the air, a faint tingle of energy.
The men looked towards the hut door.