Prompt: Using the magical realism in the Borges and Marquez stories as models, write a scene in which something surreal happens to a character. Remember, this isn't fantasy writing in which everything is fantastical. Magical realism introduces something surreal into a very "real" enviroment.
Try to employ the technical elements of craft we've discussed thus far: show more than you tell through significant detail/image, pick a point-of-view for the main character and stick with it (you can use
Our group passes through the arctic white noise weather like a herd of ghosts, steadily migrating from nowhere, and going nowhere. Billions of spectral snowflakes dancing in front of our goggles, buzzing around the five of us like a swarm of albino locusts with some kind of collective death wish. Brrrrr! Can’t stop shivering. It’s cold. So cold. The temperature seeps right through all nine layers of fabric and creeps into my bones, like if someone had poured liquid antifreeze on me.
Meanwhile the violent winds continue their offensive attack patterns against us, fast and strong winds, viking winds, 100 knots of resistance fighting each and every step we take towards our destination. So cold, and the landscape in Antarctica is exactly the same no matter where I’m looking. It’s just one vast, smooth landscape that’s topped with layers of reflective white snow, spread uniformly across the entire landmass and then left alone, like some half-assed work of modern art.
Everywhere you look, it’s always the same naked white world. Always. What a nightmare. If it weren’t for the rope stringing us all in the same direction, surely I’d have got lost and succumbed to the elements by now, surely I’d be a frozen body in the snow, reduced to a mere ice sculpture of my former self. Brrrrr!
“Hang… in there… guys…” sputters Dr. Baudry over the radio, clearly out of breath. He’s just barely audible over the sea of static that fills our ears whenever he opens the comm channel. Baudry is leading our research expedition, the purpose of which is to identify the source of the anomalous readings that our sensors over at McMurdo Station have been reporting for several months now. “We’re right… on top …of the signal.” Dr. Baudry continues, completely winded. “Should be… dead ahead.” he wheezes.
It isn’t long before his statement is confirmed by a colossal shape fading into view, jagged and wild near the base, but almost spherical at the top, like some sort of massive glacial helmet. Even though its partially cloaked in silver murk like everything else, it manages to appear quite separate from any other natural ice formation I’ve ever seen.
As I approach my fellow travelers, all gathered at the mouth of what seems to be a large cavern, I wonder what has them looking so spooked all of a sudden. The shelter is a promising one, and also appears to contain the source of the anomalous readings which brought us out here in the first place. Everything is going perfectly, as far as I can tell.
But then I see it, just sitting there in the frost as if it made any kind of sense at all. A footprint, some kind of large animal, by the looks of it. “Creeping Jesus,” I say, pulling my thermal mask down past my pinkish nose and my mouth, which just hangs there in disbelief, wide open, shooting steam with each breath I take. “That’s… a footprint?” I say, “But no. I mean, it can’t be… a footprint? Not here?” I silently consider this more carefully for a moment, but cannot fathom a practical explanation. “Here?”
“One thing’s for sure,” says a research assistant named something or other. “It ain’t human. Three long toes, now what the hell could that be?”
“Whatever it is, it’s not native to the region… not that there is much of anything alive out here to begin with.” says Mr. Beagle, our microbiologist. He fits into this place better than the rest of us, because he looks like Santa Claus, and the winter-esque surroundings seem to suit him.
I’m looking at the blood, thinking, a single print, no others, just one. That means, whatever it was, it managed to leave behind a trail that ends and begins in the same spot. And whose blood is that, anyway?
“So what the hell is it then?” says what’s-his-face, the research assistant.
Beagle clears his throat before making his next statement,
“My closest approximation is that we are dealing with some sort of large flightless bird. However I cannot identify its species…” he leans forward, peering over the top of his horn-rimmed glasses, growing serious, “…yet I can say that we may very well be on the verge of the biggest ornithological find of the century. It’s imperative that we track the beast down.”