Episode 1 – Disaster
After a particularly vicious Adirondack blizzard, I set out from our cottage at the base of Big Furnace Mountain to hunt Turkeys. As I waded through the snow, I looked back at our family homestead, a squat little cottage that had been in our family for generations. Smoke curled from the crooked chimney, and warm lantern light illuminated the little round windows. Hidden as it was amongst boulders, it could have been just another rock, if you didn’t know better.
I envied my family sitting around the warm fireplace telling tales of Iceland past, but I had work to do. At seventeen, I had become the breadwinner for all. My father was old and arthritic, and everyone else in our brood of twelve was female….so I had no excuses. I was the tallest of the Twilber clan, a giant, at 5′ 8″. I pulled my fur cloak tight around my slender frame, and headed toward the river gorge. Turkeys were sure to be perched in the trees.
I gave a last thought to our snug cottage. Had no desire to be out in bitter weather, but the larder was empty and Mother wanted to cook a stew. My mouth watered just thinking of it, but meat was essential. It wouldn’t be a meal without it.
Fortunately, I was snug and warm. My fur lined cap, mittens and boots were dry and comfortable, but it was a forbidding afternoon. The wind was whipping over the new fallen snow…drifting and swirling…the air was so cold and dry, it sounded like blowing sand.
As I walked, I thought about courting. I’d just turned seventeen, and traditionally seventeen-year-olds were sent out to find other Icelandic families who had daughters, and if they were appropriate age, begin a series of rituals leading to marriage, but my family was worried. No Elf in the Adirondacks had ever been my size, and they were afraid marriage was pointless. No union seemed possible. The thought tormented me since I became a man at age thirteen…and, though I practiced a lot, my future seemed hopeless if no girl was compatible.
As I reached the river bank, I scanned the trees overhead. Didn’t see anything at first, but further on noticed a tall fir, and peered into the branches. Sure enough, I saw two dark shapes, and slipped an arrow from my quiver. Slipped the notch into the gut, and was about to shoot, when a strange sound rose above the howling wind. I couldn’t make it out at first, but within seconds, it was a thunder-like roar…an avalanche. It crescendoed, then faded away.
Immediately, I realized the sound came from the direction of Big Furnace Mountain…I panicked. Leaped through the snow as fast as I could. Finally, reached our meadow, and stood dumbfounded. There was no sign of our cottage, nothing…just a huge mound of ice and snow. Convulsive sobs burst from me as I sprinted to it…climbed up and tried to dig, but the ice was hard as rock. I searched everywhere, but there was no sign of life…no sign that a home lay beneath the rubble. I stayed a long time trying to find a gap or tunnel to get through…nothing. Then, it hit me someone might be alive in a deep pocket, struggling to escape, so in desperation, I sprinted away to get help.
To be continued…Read next episode!