What Lies in the Ice

A week in the mines and I finally feel I am getting the hang of this. This world could not be more unlike home. And yet, this mine is so much like any other, it is easy to believe at times that I have never left.

The days of tunnelling paid off. We hit a deposit of methane ice that will probably be worth millions on the interstellar market. We’re having a party down in the mess tonight.

I think Aran drank too much last night. He started telling everyone today that he went back to his dorm and there was two of everything. Poor guy. I tried to tell him that’s what happens when you let people poor liquor down your throat with a funnel, but he’s adamant about what he saw. Said it freaked him out so much he couldn’t stay in the room. I went and had a look this morning but everything was normal. Told him to sleep it off in my dorm.

We hit another repository in the ice today. This frozen lake is more like a frozen ocean. The next mine is over a thousand clicks away and I bet they’re kicking themselves now for not coming here first. Pala told me that they surveyed the land and decided it wasn’t worth anything. Can you imagine a worse decision being made?

Aran’s dead. I don’t even know how it happened. He just went home after his shift and… Pala said it was a heart attack. They wouldn’t let any of us in to see him. I feel like I should tell his family. I’ve never even met them, but.. I think I should tell them.

Pala just came back from a meeting with the bosses. They’re giving us all shares in the company. I think it’s meant to be in honour of Aran’s memory. Pala asked me to clear out his things. His clothes will be recycled, but I managed to find a few things to send home. He had a figurine of some water creature with fins and tentacles. Ugly beast. It wasn’t from home, that’s for sure. Probably Jumangan. It’s a souvenir for his mother now.

There was another death today. I think her name was Maradena. Pala told me she lost her footing in the mine shaft and her safety line snapped. One of her colleagues said she was too busy checking her scanner to check her lines. Only, when they found her body she didn’t have her scanner. She left it in the mess hall. I saw it at dinner. Pala says we should just try to move on.

Derun was behaving weirdly today. He said he kept seeing double. I asked if he was drunk. He looked almost frightened when he told me he wasn’t.

I don’t really know what to say. I always knew mining was dangerous. But…
Derun, he…He was shadowing me while I went down the shaft to take a sample. I asked him to pass me an ice claw, and then he…he just fell. It was like his mind just stopped. I was looking right at him and his eyes went blank. He dropped the ice claw and then he fell right over the edge.
Pala said it was an aneurysm.
I went back for the ice claw later, but I couldn’t find it.

Everybody’s on edge. Three deaths in a week; who can blame them? Pala says to just keep working. More ice means more profits. But it’s starting to get to people. I asked Faredahmed for the ice saw today, and he kept saying “Which one?” We only have one saw. I didn’t have time to argue with him.

I feel sick.
It was rest day today, so we all went to the Rec room. It was meant to be fun, but it’s a bit hard to relax when everyone’s so on edge. Faredahmed and Mena almost got into an argument over a book. I told them there were two of them so what were they complaining about. Faredahmed grabbed the book and then he collapsed. We tried to revive him, but it was Derun all over again. He was just gone.
I think I did this. I don’t know how. But what other explanation is there?
I think…I think maybe I’m not remembering things. I saw Aran’s sea monster in the Rec room. I’m sure I boxed it up with his things, but there it was. Just staring at me.
I couldn’t bring myself to pick it up.

Three more today. It can’t be me. I didn’t even know them. It can’t be me.

Mena told me about something today. She had a Kripkechian nanny when she was young, who told them legends. She said there were things that could kill without leaving a trace. They mimicked the forms of random objects and waited for someone to pick them up. The Kripkechians call them Tashkari. In their language it means “clone demon”.
Part of me wishes I could believe it. But it’s just a story for scaring children.

I should never have come here.

It’s chaos out there. We keep finding bodies. I’m afraid to pick up anything other than this commset. I keep checking the room, expecting to see double.

We woke something down in the ice. Something that should have stayed frozen. It was wrong to dig here, to think we had any claim on this world.

There’s hardly anyone left now.

I can’t hear anything. I don’t want to look outside.

Aran’s sea monster is beside me. I never brought it into my room.

Part of me thinks I should just pick it up.

FFM Day 23

Prompt: Write a Cosmic Horror that includes tentacles, is in first person, and features a suspicious person.

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