Friday, September 17, 2010

The Snarwal

This is my scene for the creativity challenge: snarwal, glass box, cavern.

Bioluminescent waves by Jed, Wikimedia Commons

The Snarwal limped into the yawning cavern beneath the ice. With his one good eye, he squinted into the darkness, searching for a glimmer of light.

"Nothing. One hundred years of searching to break the Mer-witch's spell. No caverns left." He slumped against the cavern wall.

The realization that his long, straight tooth would be forever replaced by the twisted, gnarled, useless thing that held him prisoner hit him hard. He began to weep, great heaving sobs that sloshed the water in undulating waves.

After a time, the Snarwal realized that the roof of the cave—the bottom of the ice shelf—pulsed with faint light. Tiny creatures, riding on the moving water, turned on their bioluminescent glow each time the water moved.

Looking around, the Snarwal noticed that the glow brightened further back in the cavern. He limped along, sloshing the water to keep the luminescence alive.

The back wall of the cave was crusted with barnacles. A lone sea star crept across a shelf of open shells. From behind the shelf came a soft glow, much brighter than the one that illuminated the rest of the cavern.

The Snarwal brushed a fin behind the shelf. He'd found it—the box! He tried to lift it, but his fins weren't made for the job. He bashed the coral with his tail, but the coral held fast.

In a growing frenzy, the Snarwal attacked the coral with his deformed tooth. The sea star—now missing an arm—flew out into the water. The barnacles shattered.

The tooth lodged in a crevice. Enraged by his imprisonment, the Snarwal yanked and pulled. The cavern grew bright as violent waves crashed against the icy ceiling.

Crack! The coral shelf broke free. The Snarwal fell backward, the great hunk of coral skeleton impaled on his gnarled sword.

In the open space lay a glass box. The contents shifted: glowing, swirling, shimmering in the fading light of the cavern. Through an opening in the coral, the Snarwal squinted at it, transfixed. He reached out a fin to touch it, waiting for the spell to break. But nothing happened.

Anger coursed through his body. He lifted the hunk of coral and smashed it down on the box.

Instantly, the tiny glowing things swirled around him. The light was too much for his dark-adjusted eye, and he squeezed it shut.

Tingling. Twitching. The weight on his tooth slid away. The Snarwal dared to open his eye. To his astonishment, both eyes opened—fully. Before him stretched a long, straight narwal tooth. The lump of coral lay before him on the cavern floor.

The spell was broken.

* * *

If you wrote, drew, painted, or otherwise created something for this challenge, please post a link to your work in the comments below. And I welcome comments and criticism on mine.


  1. that was a display of pure, creative skill. What a cool story. And those words, man they were hard to work into a story. Especially Snarwal.

    You did a great job Allison. I'm always fascinated by the stories you come up with.

    I have an award for you over at my blog.


  2. Thanks, Donna!! I lost a follower after this, so the award was a nice salve for the wound.

    I am inspired by my children (one of whom coined the term "snarwal"), so I write some rather outlandish, er, fanciful stuff sometimes. But it's fun. :)