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|Athropolis: Iceberg - the Story of the Throps and the Squallhoots. Copyright © 1994-2002 Athropolis Productions Limited.|
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The sounds and change in motion had not been enough to wake the children - they still slept soundly under the cover. The dark clouds had rolled along, dragging the storm behind them, and the water was calm again. All was quiet.
What was that - within the deep dark crevices in the ice? The darkness was pierced by the glow of green spots - almost like fireflies. The spots danced silently - in pairs. Eyes! That was it! The glowing green eyes moved out into the twilight and toward the lifeboat. Closer... and closer... and closer.
The sun would soon creep over the horizon, and in the first reflected light of the day, shapes began to appear around the eyes. Dark hands reached out. A touch - quickly withdrawn - then another.
The lifeboat was surrounded! The ghostly, green-eyed creatures loomed - ready to pounce!
Suddenly, the first beams of sunlight broke over the ridge of ice. There was a flurry of snow as the shapes scampered into the shadows.
Then, new sounds. Somebody - or something - else was coming, following the path of the sun as it slowly lit each icy ridge and cliff and began to gently brush the last fogwebs from the ice.
A scouting party appeared on the ridge. Ice helmets pulled protectively over their heads, they held their ice shields and icicle clubs ready for battle.
"Listen, Throps! Be careful now! There! More tracks! Do you see the print of the big toe?"
"Squallhoots! Squallhoots! Watch out, Fourth Leader!" The Throps scrambled through the snow and disappeared behind a snowbank - leaving Fourth Leader alone, crouching nervously.
|Ice helmets pulled
"Where? Where?" The leader's eyes darted across the snow.
Frightened heads popped up one by one.
"Over there - in the shadow!"
"Is that one?"
"Does it have horrible green eyes?"
"DON'T LET IT EAT YOU!"
The leader gripped his club firmly and crept up to a deep crevice in the ice that was still hidden from the early morning sun. "Th - th - there's nothing here! It's just shadows," he said after carefully peeking all around. He waved the Throps onward. "Let's go!"
"But what's THAT? Over there!"
"It's... Oh, it's nothing!" Fourth Leader was becoming annoyed. An early morning patrol during danger time was no place for these new scouts - they were just youngsters full of the jitters. "Come on, or we'll never finish the patrol before sunset - and you know what happens when the sun goes down!"
"WE'LL GET GOBBLED UP!"
Under the cover of the lifeboat, Jason was just rubbing the sleep from his eyes. "Gobbled up?" he repeated to himself. Who was talking?
"We'll get gobbled up in JUST ONE BITE!" the voices continued.
With those words, Jason was fully awake and wide-eyed. He cocked his head and strained to hear.
"LOOK! Look THERE!"
Sara was startled awake by the shout from outside. She started to speak but Jason put his finger to his lips. "Shhhh."
"It's a - a FLOATER BOAT!"
See the big toe?"
Fourth Leader approached very carefully. "It IS a floater boat, and it's not made of ice. It's made of something different. Be careful! Be very careful!"
From under the cover, Jason and Sara could hear spiked boots crunching into the ice as Fourth Leader crept closer and closer - icicle club held high and ready to strike.
BANG! BANG! BANG!
Kevin was jolted from his sleep - just in time to hang on as the lifeboat was rocked back and forth. The cover was suddenly snatched away and the three children bolted upright - coming face to face with the Throps! Squinting eyes stained to see! The ice armored shapes looked blotchy and shiny against the bright morning sun.
"AAAAAHHH!" Everybody shouted out together!
The Throps leapt upon the boat, yanking the cover back down. Icicle clubs swung wildly. The children were jostled about under the cover as the Throps struggled to hold them in.
"Hold the cover down! Hold it down TIGHT!" Fourth Leader jumped into action as the Throps shouted out in terror. The Throps had never seen faces like these! What could they be?
"Yeeeiii! Are they ICE TROLLS?" a scout shouted.
"NO! They're too ugly! They must be SNOW DEMONS!"
Kevin joined in the shouting. "Hey! What's... OUCH!" An icicle club bounced across a round shape under the cover! "That my head!"
"D - d - don't let them out - whatever they are!" the Throps screamed. "But what ARE they? Maybe they're b - b - bugaboos! REAL bugaboos! W - w - w - w - what NOW, Fourth Leader?"
Fourth Leader was so excited he hardly knew what to do. He didn't know what they had under the cover. Maybe they were invaders! Maybe they were spies! What should he do? "Tie them up TIGHT! That's what we'll do!"
The Throps jumped about frantically! Rope flew wildly from side to side! The scouts became tangled in a mess of coils and knots.
"Now what will I do? What will I do NOW?" Fourth Leader shouted to himself as he jumped about in circles.
"Uh - take them prisoner?" a Throp suggested.
"I know!" Fourth Leader had a brilliant idea. "We'll take them prisoner! Yes! That's what we'll do! Quickly! Tie these ends together and we'll take them back to the castle - as PRISONERS!"
"Ouch! Jason - tell them to stop!" Sara pleaded.
Jason tried to call out again as he was bumped about. "Stop... UGHH!"
"Just you wait!" Kevin was angry now. "You can't do this to... OUCH! I'll get you for... OUUUCH!"
"Quickly! Quickly now!" shouted Fourth Leader.
The muffled shouts of the children drifted across the ice and down into the deep crevices. From dark caverns, green glowing eyes watched as the Throps began to rock and drag the boat - bound in a mess and tangle of rope - through the ice and snow. Deep angry grunts and growls followed each movement, until the lifeboat and the Throps vanished over the ridge and into the bright morning sunlight.
Somebody was going to be very angry.
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