TITLE: The Faithful Son
GENRE: Adult Fantasy Fiction/Myth retelling
The man was startled to find himself nearly naked, sprawled face down on the banks of a frozen river. Someone was probing him, urging him to get up, a low grumble and pop mixing with the echoes of a dream. A blinding ray of sun exploded over a rock outcrop, but the air bit cold.
A shadow hovered over him, reaching to him with a long stick: “Get up, man. Get up.”
The man squinted at the shadow who spoke to him. It was a barefoot old shepherd covered in ragged skins, clutching a crook that he now held out, perhaps in an effort to help him get up. “The ice,” he said, pointing upriver. “My man, you must get up.”
The grey, frozen river had splintered, ice turning transparent in places, black in others. How he had gotten here, on his knees on the ice, he couldn't fathom. He was cold and damp, and the state of the loincloth he wore was even worse than the old shepherd’s skins. The ice beneath him gave a few shudders and a loud boom, followed by a crack and a pop that made him leap to his feet.
“The ice is breaking, see?”
The man felt the urge to rush to the forest, and to find a tuck to hide in, an old dead tree or a large rock. He didn’t know why. Certainly not for the ice, nor for this old shepherd with the scraggly beard who still poked him.