Fiction by Mark Crimmins
From the shore I look across Kluane Lake and have a vision. A perfect lane of ice. A meter wide. Five thousand metres long. A flawless path bereft of obstacle. It’s May. Too late to be out on the ice. The spring breakup is imminent. I’ve run 10Ks in some magnificent places. Saul had his thousands. I’ve had my ten thousands. But two straight fives across the ice is sublime. In no time I’m out there. Stopwatch in hand. Pacing myself into a trance. It’s early evening. The ice is firm. The surface is rough. Traction is good. I always run six-minute miles. It’s my métier. Six. Six. Six. On a treadmill my footfall is soundless. My step light fantastic. A mile from the shore, my feet start splashing through pools of meltwater. Nine minutes in, I look back over my left shoulder, lunge with my right foot, and hear a sickening crack. I skid to a stop in shock. Behind me a jagged line forks like panic. Insidious. A cleft in my reality. The silence is unearthly. Fear-frozen, I look around. On the far shore a bald eagle swoops up from the boreal forest and circles my way. Northwest of me, across twenty miles of ice, the sun has rolled down the leaden sky and rests on the horizon like a boulder. Southwest, over a vast white plane, the moon has risen. A wheel of ice. I stand at the interstice of worlds. If I die here, I think, it was for glory. Gingerly, I start to run again. When I reach the shore I turn around and start to run back. A wolf’s howl dopplers behind me. Halfway across the lake I see myself from the eagle’s eye. A crazy figure flitting across a sea of shattering glass towards the fires of Destruction Bay.
Mark Crimmins has published experimental fictions in Happy, Confrontation, and theNewerYork. He taught 20th Century Fiction at the University of Toronto from 1999 to 2013. He recently moved to Hong Kong to write stories and publish his first collection.
Featured Image photograph by E.B. Bartels, www.ebbartels.com.