Tuesday, May 17, 2016

These Are Otzi's Mushrooms by Lenitschka

Prompt: tell your version of how The Ice Man died

These were Otzi’s mushrooms, and no one was going to take them away from him. For days he had toiled high in the mountains, gathering every fungi he found. With bag half full he made his way down to the mountain, gathering more mushrooms as he went. He could see smoke ahead of him now. Otzi’s neighbours were very impressed with themselves for their new invention. He didn’t see the point. Food tasted just fine without fire anyhow.

He hugged his cloak more securely around himself as a gust of wind tried to rip it away. He’d won it in a fight the day before yesterday. The other man had got in a few good cuts, leaving Otzi’s chest sore and purple, but Otzi had kept the upper hand, and now the cloak’s first owner was floating down the river. After Otzi had helped himself to his axe of course.
The mushrooms were thinning out the further down Otzi got. He turned back around and started up the mountain again. He needed more if this were every going to work.

Bag mostly full, Otzi congratulated himself on a job well done, wincing as he sat down. Once again he reached for his lower back as another blinding pain shot through him. He never should have tried to grab the arrow. It’d never come out now he’d broken the shaft off.  Still, fleeing for his life from the cloak owner’s brother he’d been full of stupid ideas. He reached for it again in vain. Even if he could grab hold of the spot in his back where the arrow had broken off, how would he dig it out? It’s not as if he could cut himself open. No, the mushrooms were his only hope. He pulled out a handful of mushrooms and smashed them between two rocks. Folks said these mushrooms were magic. They could even heal a man. Otzi scooped up a handful of mashed up mushrooms and took a huge bite, then spat it out in disgust. Why’d the mushrooms have to be magic? Why couldn’t it have been magic goat’s meat instead? Otzi wouldn’t’ve had a problem with that.

Grimacing, he finished off the mushroom paste, swallowed it down with berries and dried bear meat, then sat and waited for the magic to take effect. An hour passed. Then another. The arrowhead was still in his back and Otzi was growing bored.  He got up and started climbing again. Everything was starting to look hazy. There were colours in front of him that Otzi had never seen on the mountain before. It was beautiful. Otzi was beautiful. Everything was beautiful. He stopped walking. At least he thought he had. The world wasn’t holding still so maybe Otzi was still moving. Someone was behind him. Otzi heard voices. He pulled out his dagger, but forgot about the attackers as soon as he noticed how beautiful his hand was. Had Otzi always had hands? He had two of them? Wonderful, beautiful hands. Wonderful, beautiful Otzi. He held his hands to his face, dagger still clutched in his fist.

The whole world was purple now, and Otzi thought it was beautiful. Beautiful purple, beautiful hands, beautiful pile of rocks that Otzi wanted to float over like a bird sailing over the beautiful water. Only rocks weren’t good for floating. Now Otzi was falling. Falling, falling. Hadn’t he always been falling? Wasn’t that what life was? Falling?

There was a loud crack, and all the colours disappeared.

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