The line of boys marched steadily towards the mountain. It reared up suddenly, its frozen slopes steep and forbidding in the constant grey twilight.
Jack sighed. He didn’t like climbing and would love to know who dreamed up this ridiculous challenge for the new boys. No-one had ever attempted to climb the sheer cliffs of the mountain which was aptly named “Glass Mountain.”
The troop of boys were all well protected from the ferocious cold by their thick fur-lined jackets with hoods, fur-lined trousers, gloves and waterproof and tough hiking boots. They all carried ice picks, ropes and other climbing aids. They wore snow glasses but their vision was still impaired by the continuously falling snow.
Training for this event had started on the boys first day at their unusual boarding school for future environmentalists in the frigid wastes of the Arctic. High climbing walls had been installed for this purpose and the boys had to qualify to participate in the “Polar Bear Climb”. They were all very keen; hoping to become part of history as the first team to scale Glass Mountain.
Jack’s minor irritation turned to trepidation as the group approached the foot of the mountain. There was something strange and fearful about this place. He had a sense of foreboding about the climb they were all about to attempt. He didn’t like the strange ridges that ran across the top of the lower part of the mountain. To his mind, the ridges seemed to evenly placed to be natural. They looked almost like the spines of some great animal.
Before Jack had a chance to communicate his uncertainty, the head of his school house, Ralph, gave the signal and the boys all ran forward, each determined to start up the cliff face as soon as possible. Jack was swept along by the crowd. He signed again, there was no turning back now so he might as well do his best with the climb.
The front-runners, including Jack, soon reached a small plateau between two of the great ridges. There, they huddled in a group, accessing the next cliff that was so sheer, it was almost a ninety degree angle. An approach was plotted and the boys stood up, ready to climb again.
Three boys were selected to lead the group. They would scale the cliff face and hammer the staples for the ropes into it. The other boys would then use the ropes to help them climb up.
Due to his amazing agility, Jack was selected as one of the three leaders. He raised his ice pick and plunged it deeply into the smooth, glassy surface.
A pulsating fountain of a bright coppery substance spurted from the hole. Jack’s mouth dropped open in surprise. The boy’s attention was so focused on the fiercely gushing liquid that he did not immediately notice the noise. An unearthly shrieking sound which rent the clouds, heavy with sleet and snow.
The mountain began to heave and move; the boys on the plateau swayed drunkenly. The boys who were still on the lower slopes stopped and started to back up quickly. Something was happening.
The mountain shook and twisted. Great chunks of ice and snow fell down like small avalanches. The boys made out the shape of an enormous man rising from his previously seated position. Clouds of vapour billowed from the gaping mouth as the creature continued to bellow. Clearly the pain of the ice pick sinking into his ankle had woken the enormous frozen giant from his sleep, Jack stared at him in superstitious horror, recognising the beard and face of a man-eating giant.
The thick vapour settle on the plateau like a blanket, making it impossible for the boys to find the ropes dangling over the edge and climb down the mountainside. They stood, uncertain how to proceed. The vapour was acidic, making their eyes smart and their skin sting.
The boys on the lower rock face managed to reach the the bottom and drew back from the creature.
With a bellow, the giant stood up throwing the boys on the plateau in all directions.
“This is the end,” thought Jack as he disappeared beneath the masses of falling snow.
The remaining boys turned and ran. A rush of hot air pushed them forward as the dragon, whose head had long been trapped underneath the giant’s hand, roared. A jet of flame shot from its mouth, incinerating everything in its path. It then turned its fiery breath on its own body, freeing itself from the ice that had held it captive for thousands of years.
The dragon and the giant finished freeing themselves from their icy prison and assumed their battle stances; ready to re-commence their age old feud.
This story was written for Diana Peach’s speculative fiction writing challenge. You can join in here: https://mythsofthemirror.com/2019/01/01/new-feature-speculative-fiction-writing-prompt/