Blood on the Ice

📅 Published on April 3, 2021

“Blood on the Ice”

Written by Wentz Hesselman
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Rating: 8.40/10. From 5 votes.
Please wait...

When people told someone like Chad Hoftrand to get a life, they didn’t realize that meant a death sentence for someone, somewhere.

He was in the market for a new life sooner than expected.  He could usually hold onto one for at least a few years.

But the roll of the die and a few snags in his paper trails got the hounds hot on his scent again.

The pressure was on since the FBI had closed in more than they ever had before.  He panicked and went for the first life he thought he could crack.

The victim was a man that did an excellent job of keeping to himself—the perfect target for Chad.  Nobody would miss him, and nobody would notice the discrepancy in the facial features.

He skinned the man of his identity and threw his body in a river.

Chad found out after the fact that he had just stepped into the identity of a very exotic and esoteric researcher who was to depart for an extended archaeological project that had no set end.  It could last weeks; it could last years.

Chad would have been able to go on record as one of the most gifted autodidacts that ever lived.  But his genius had to dwell in the shadows along with his deeds.

But even his genius would be hard-pressed to assimilate even the rudiments of the profession he had just stepped into.

He had always been partial to archaeology, but this obscure and shadowy branch of it reached out into the darkness of man’s comprehension.  Looney stuff.  Monsters, demons, aliens that cohabited with humans and produced half-breeds.  That spectrum of things.

The knowledge that Chad’s victim had possessed, most of it was his own.  It couldn’t be researched in the reference volumes of a library.

Like the man that rightfully belonged in the life he had stolen, Chad was mostly going in blind.  It was terrifying.  And thrilling.

Chad intuited that he didn’t have much time.  There seemed to be just one officer too many at the port when he was getting ready for boarding.  He kept his hat low and his eyes down.  And as usual, he got away.

The adrenaline rush was like nectar flowing through his veins.  The only thing sweeter than adrenaline to him was blood.  He liked the way that blood looked dark, like chocolate.  He always thought it looked thicker and sweeter when he made the death as agonizing as possible.  That could have just been an altered perception resulting from a heightened state.  He also loved the sound of human screaming, and the screams that he learned how to pull out of people were almost as intoxicating as the thrill of nearly getting caught.

And so, Chad boarded a dark and wormy vessel with three other people that were just as backward and teetering between genius and madness as Lucas Baldwin, the man whose name was on Chad’s identification.

Leading the expedition was a stuffy and stout man that looked like an old iron stove brought to life.  His voice sounded like he was always gargling gravel.  His name was William Marsh, one of the few people in this line of work that actually got to speak about his profession and its ideas in university without getting kicked out.

The next researcher was someone that could have easily suffered the same fate as Lucas Baldwin had he been in closer proximity to Chad.  Young, handsome, and ready to trade aristocratic life for drilling into the depths of forbidden knowledge.  Zach McConnell was his name, and his sharp blue eyes always seemed to be as mechanical as surveillance cameras.

Then there was the blonde girl that actually looked like some kind of researcher.  Her jacket reminded Chad of a lab coat.  She struck Chad as a grandmother trapped in a young woman’s body.  This made him frown.  Killing her was going to be terribly unsatisfying.

Things didn’t get better when they arrived at their destination.  Chad wasn’t sure of their exact location, but they were someplace far North where the days were short and the nights were long, and their accommodations were just a shade above primitive.  All the funding had been put into their equipment they would be using to dig, and any creature comforts were an afterthought.

The dig site was a glacier the size of a mountain that rose straight up into the air like a great monolith.  The elevation at the very top was dizzying, and there was no way anyone was getting up there without the aid of an airplane.  But that’s not where they were going to focus their efforts.  The aim of their study was inside the glacier.

Their accommodations weren’t even in a tent, but they were inside the iceberg itself.  Chad was a bit taken aback at how perfectly smooth and angular the halls and rooms were that had been carved out of the ice.  Their personal sleeping chambers had curved entrances so that they could have some privacy in the absence of doors.

It was no work of any crazed artisan that liked working in the cold, but the work of the million-dollar machinery that they had been granted for the expedition.

The equipment had already been set up and installed.  It just needed a crew to operate it.  Chad thought for sure that this is where he would be suspected of being an impostor, showing up unable to operate the machinery that was integral to his vocation.  But he was relieved to find out that nobody knew anything about the machinery other than the old man, Marsh.

Marsh went into a very pompous speech about the cutting-edge technology that they were all about to be working with.  He had a way of rapidly shaking his head side to side as he spoke.  If it weren’t for his white beard, his jowls would flop about like epileptic trout.

“However long this expedition lasts, this work of genius engineers back at Princeton, the IMAT drill, will shave off weeks of work.”

He keyed a sequence into the pulsating rainbow-colored keypad.  An HD screen pulled up, showing a 3D wireframe image that rotated crudely.

“You are witnessing the first use of Dark Sonar outside of military application.  This was not cheap technology to gain legal use of.”

There was nothing about the drill that looked like a drill to Chad.  Any average day he would have figured it as a failed prototype for a car assembly line, just bigger and uglier.

“We use the Dark sonar to map out equal measurements in the iceberg in cubic meters.  This allows us to form a map of the interior of the ice.  If we find a section that is worthy of exploration, we add a little spice.

“May I direct your attention to that section of wall over there.”

He pointed to a corner of the room as he keyed away on the machine.

Chad could feel it on his skin.  Some heat energy, teasing the edge of his awareness.

Like butter on a hot griddle, a section of the wall melted nearly instantly and flowed, steaming, down one of the shafts in the floor.

Everyone, including Chad, was impressed.  Heather held her gloved hands to her heart.  Chad leered at her.  What was she, late twenties?  The elderly vibe she exuded kept his pulse from quickening.  But she was the only woman for many icy miles.

Their first night on the job, the crew ate together, mostly in silence.  They were nowhere near as cold as Chad thought they would be, having drilled their way deep inside and created the biggest igloo known to mankind.

Conversation was sparse.  Chad tried not to stare at Heather.

He didn’t like the idea of having to force himself to enjoy killing her.

Days of digging passed, and Chad was feeling the creeping ennui gnawing into his bones like the cold of the ice that surrounded him.

The day came when he would have his chance to have his way with the girl if he so desired.  The IMAT drill had gone as far as it could go without harming something that had been detected inside of the ice.  It would be necessary for someone from the team to enter the shaft and investigate.

It was a vaulted chamber that couldn’t have been naturally occurring, but how any ancient people could have smoothed and carved the walls that flat and high was a mystery.

There were hundreds of humanoid remains.  Each burial had a reliquary of personal objects, including some simple tools and blades.

The chamber alone was too great for them to explore in a single day.  But the chamber wasn’t what stole the show that afternoon.  It was the nude girl they found in the ice.  She was young, surely no older than seventeen.  She was so well-preserved that she looked as if she had fallen asleep in her icy tomb just yesterday, sleeping the slumber of Snow White.

Chad thought she was perfect.  Flawless.  He couldn’t take his eyes off of her.

So much of the body under the ice was distorted by the refractions of light, and yet so much of it was clear.  The slight distortions were tantalizing, inviting him to come inside and see for himself the exact way she looked, her true image, uncorrupted by the barrier of cold that separated him and her.

Her hair was long and dark.  No fancy stylings or braids.  Just straight and simple.  Elementary female.  Her breasts were small and upturned.  So much elegance and yet a nobody.

The trembling in Chad’s hands traveled to his ribs, where he felt a shiver in his breathing.  He sounded like a man that could be dying of hypothermia, but he didn’t care.  This, this was the excitement that he had been trying to force himself to feel for that Heather.

The only thing he managed to feel for that boring thing was the simple awareness that he had power over her.  A power that he could wield on a moment’s notice, and she wouldn’t see him coming.  That did a little bit for him, but not much.

The real thrill was this moment.  Standing alone with the entombed nude body in the chasmic silence of Relic Storage.  She could be under his power should he so choose, but even while encased in the ice, she held a great power over him.  This was where the real arousal was.

He saw her in his sleep.  He saw the angles of those eyebrows when he shut his eyes.  He saw the curve of her lips.  He even dreamed what her voice would sound like in several instances of hypnagogia.

Her voice was a rattling whisper from centuries of never speaking a word to anyone.  The hoarseness would creep into her voice at just the right syllables and enunciations, and it drove him wild.

He heard her voice once in a week’s time.  Then twice the next week.  Then more, and more, and more.

The expedition’s foray into the oversized crypt was picking up.  But the marvels that were being extracted from the ice meant nothing to Chad.  He was completely enamored with the girl.  He longed to remove her from the ice and ravage her.  He wanted to see if the body would hold together under the force of his violent passion.

Each time he dreamed of her voice he woke up in a cold sweat, shivering and hyperventilating.  It was too much.  He was mad with desire for a corpse.

But after one more half-dream of hearing her voice, he opened his eyes, looking up into the icy ceiling of his chamber, and he heard the voice again.  His eyes were wide open and sleep had fully left him, but he could hear her.

He put on a few more layers and made his way down to Relic Storage, which was filling up fast with things that didn’t look like they even belonged on the planet.

Some artifacts had flavors of nordic design, or possibly Eastern, but by and large they were all alien and foreign, and the old man was positively taken with them.  He had been taken with the body of the girl at first, and it was all Chad could do to check his jealousy lest he murder the old man the first chance he got.

Chad moved past all the stone statues and fragments of burial detritus and all else, until he found her.  He thought the ice she was in had become thinner.  It wasn’t.  He held up his lighter and brushed the surface of the ice with the thirsty flame.  It was like the invisible fire that lived inside of him.  The thing that thirsted for blood, the dry heat that couldn’t be slaked, no matter how much blood it drank.

But in that moment, he thought that if she were alive, she would come close to giving him peace.

He wondered if he had enough fuel in that small lighter to remove her from her frozen prison.  He waved the guttering flame to and from across her face, watching the ice become smooth and more transparent in places as the ice turned to liquid, running down her frozen casket before refreezing down below.

“Yeah, you feel that?” he grunted under his breath. “That’s what you do to me.”

He found himself hypnotized by the way that the light played off her features.  The way shadows were cast by her nose and her cheekbones was rather striking.

The shadow of her nose swayed like a sundial in a time-lapse video.  He was trying to see if her eyelashes would cast a shadow and make her look even more delicious.

There was a play of the light that caught his attention and the hand with the lighter held still, but the movement of the shadow of the eyes continued, and this puzzled him.  Until he realized that it wasn’t the shadow of the eyelids that was moving, but it was the eyes themselves.

Her eyes opened.

However blurred the ice made the image before him, he could tell that she was looking at him.

Her eyes didn’t have that disoriented look to them you would expect from someone that had been sleeping for millennia.  No, they directed their gaze with purpose, and he felt a thrill that he had never felt before.

He felt like someone had reached inside of him, as if some hand had made it past a few barriers in his soul that nothing ever got by, and thrown a molotov cocktail into the sacred darkened halls and immolated him from the inside out.

Her gaze may as well have been ropes with iron hooks that buried themselves in his jaws and held him fast.  He dropped the lighter, and the two figures were illuminated by the ghostly glow of Marsh’s LED lanterns.

He waited for some indication that what he was seeing was either an illusion or some freak incident that had a physiological explanation, like the way some corpses will sit up in the morgue under the power of muscle memory, long after they’re dead.

He didn’t dare get the lighter, for fear that her eyes would close and he’d never look into them again.  She was the first one to blink.  Her eyes continued to bore into his.

Chad was thoroughly shaken.  The flames from the molotov cocktail were spreading and the fire burned in places inside of him that were never meant to be disturbed.

From his perspective, he had shut his eyes really hard and opened them, when in fact he had retreated to his sleeping bag in a state of shock.  The events of the previous night were difficult to piece together.  They all felt like a distant dream, but the effect on him was more real than any dream he had ever had.

As soon as his body would respond to him, he was up in an instant and he hurried to Relic Storage.  He was offended and frustrated to see the old man Marsh and that damnable Zack McConnell with his staring eyes.  He didn’t want to see Zack’s buggy stare.  He wanted to see the girl.  He wanted to have some more alone time with her.  He was craving it like a fix.

But Marsh prattled on about something dry and academic and McConnell lapped it all up like an eager puppy trying to learn a trick so that it can have a treat.

Chad must have realized how agitated he looked too late.

“Mr. Hoftrand,” Marsh said, his tone almost turning the statement into a question.

“You look like you’ve got some interesting dreams to report.”

Chad eyed the two men and then looked at the girl.  He was waiting for some sort of hint that she had opened her eyes and they had witnessed it.  He desperately wanted the breakthrough to be his and his alone.  Her features didn’t do so much as twitch.

He was torn between wanting his memories to be verified as reality, but he didn’t want these men to see that she was alive, but he dreaded finding out that the magic, the horrible magic that left him feeling electrified from last night, was nothing more than a story his brain had told itself.

“You look like you’ve seen a ghost,” McConnell remarked, a look of wonder in his camera lens eyes.

Chad nodded.

“Perhaps the rapid progress in discovery has gotten me a bit overstimulated.”

“You’re going to have to get used to it, my boy.  The things that you and Heather have opened the door to are beyond the scope of anything we could have dreamed.”

“No kidding,” Chad said, looking at the girl forlornly.

“I’m not exaggerating.  Unless there’s a huge gap missing in my studies, I’m going to venture to say that we’ve stumbled onto a missing chapter in humanity’s history.”

“I think the young lady’s body should be extracted from the ice,” he blurted out.

His two colleagues shot each other with a look of alarm.


“Of course the corpse will be removed for examination.  She’ll be looked at closely along with everything else we’ve found once she reaches one of our laboratories.”


“No.  She needs to be extracted and examined here.”


The look rekindled in the two men and stayed.


“My good man, whatever for?”


“The ambient temperature of our camp will melt her ice anyway.  If we hasten the process, then we will be able to make sure she isn’t prone to any damage when none of us aren’t paying attention.”


“I appreciate your concern, Mr. Hoftrand.  I always value a colleague that is so deeply invested in a project.  But I can promise you that we keep it just warm enough in here to prevent us from freezing to death.  Our dear girl’s coffin will hold together just fine until the project’s end.”


Chad tried to resist the desperation rising inside of him, but he couldn’t.


“My data says otherwise.  We can’t risk endangering a specimen like this one.  She needs to be extracted immediately and placed in an alternate container.”


“We don’t have any alternate containers,” Marsh said, his patience thinning.


“Are you so eager for some alone time with the doll?” McConnell chided.


Even Chad didn’t see his own reaction coming.  He was on McConnell in an instant and landed a wicked left hook.  Marsh scarcely got him to cease his attack.  He wrenched him off of the other man and held him against one of the walls of ice.  The old man was much stronger than he looked.


“You are going to your chamber and staying there until I can figure out what the hell I’m supposed to do with you!  My forbearance with you can go no further!”


Chad stared at him in disbelief.


McConnell looked every bit like an offending child that had redirected the righteous anger of a parent onto a sibling.  With a last long gaze at the girl, Chad obeyed, which meant that they all had more to worry about than they could have ever known.


Despite the fact that there were no doors in the living area, Chad felt imprisoned.  He tossed and turned in his sleeping bag, caught between the roaring of his own thoughts and the voice of the girl.  She was still there.  She wouldn’t stop saying his name.  He pleaded with her, not daring to speak above a whisper, telling her that he had tried, and that he had to be careful from that point on.  He begged her to be patient.


Another part of his mind ridiculed him for letting a body frozen in ice have so much power over him.


But this was the closest Chad had ever come to falling in love.  He had no real concept of the emotion, but this came close.  The flames from that molotov cocktail had gutted him.  Incinerated the rafters, cracked the buttresses, climbed the towers and were now licking at the majestic banners flown by his ego.


Without moving so much as her eyes, she had brought him under the weight of chains like a wild animal captured for the circus, and he was as titillated as he was enraged.  But the weakness brought on by his new emotions was at the forefront.  He didn’t like that.


He gazed at the curved entryway to his chamber.  Doorways with actual doors hadn’t held him.  What was keeping him down this time?  Weakness.  Weakness brought on by the girl.


* * * * * *


Chad entered Relic Storage with one of Marsh’s blowtorches.  A blue and orange flame lapped at the nozzle.  Two hoses connected it to a large tank on a rolling platform.  Riding alongside the tank was a fire ax.


He looked at her, his face a mix of tenderness and malice both.


“You did this to me,” he whispered through clenched teeth.  She opened her eyes.  Had she heard him?  Had she understood him?  She who was born into a world where the roots of the English language hadn’t even been thought of?


And yet he couldn’t help thinking there was a look of knowing in her eyes.  Some awareness.


She knew something.  And by God, he was going to find out what it was.  She would most certainly be aware of him by the time he was done with her.  He was already picturing himself on top of her, taking a deep breath like a man about to dive into a frozen lake —


“What the devil do you think you’re doing?” Marsh bellowed from behind Chad.  The old man had one eye wider than the other, and Chad couldn’t stifle his chuckle.


“She needs to come out,” was all Chad could think to say.


“She needs to be taken out under very special conditions, and I don’t think you have the finesse she needs.  We need this specimen intact, Mr. Hoftrand.”


“For heaven’s sake, look at her!  She’s more than intact; she’s alive!  Her eyes are open!  Look!”


For but a moment, Marsh and the entire crew that had come with him were disarmed.  They were researchers, not security guards, and the possibility that this incredible find could be even more incredible…well, it was too much for them.


Marsh frowned when he got close enough to get a good look at the girl.  Chad looked from his face to hers and saw that her eyes were very much shut.


“Mr. Hoftrand, I’m declaring an indefinite detainment.  You’re a clear and present danger to this expedition, and you need to–”


Chad cranked a small valve next to the business end of the blowtorch and fully opened the trigger, engulfing Marsh in a gout of flame.  Graham held her hands and began trotting in circles while gibbering and squeaking.  McConnell had the presence to grab the fire ax and charged at Chad, who turned the flames onto the younger man.  McConnell still swung the ax.  He couldn’t see the damage he did, but he did hear Chad shout, and there was much more fire.  The severed hoses of the torch flailed around, spewing flammables that erupted into columns of blinding light and heat on the ground.


Chad’s next thoughts were of getting the frozen girl to safety.  He left Relic Storage to grab one of the hand trucks in the main shaft.  No sooner had he left the room than the hoses splashed the very tank they led from.  The explosion was so loud that Chad felt it more than he heard it, his head filling with a ringing.  A prickly panic overtook him, and he staggered back inside.  McConnell and Marsh were both puddles of crimson spreading across the ice.


Heather Graham had a broad trail of blood underneath her as she struggled to crawl forward.  The fire ax was intact.  Chad dove into the thick waves of heat and took it.  He looked at Graham.


He started with her left leg, burying the ax head into the soft tissue behind the knee.  He kept going after she passed out, working his way up her back to her wrists, elbows, and finally her neck.  He kicked her head down the shaft like a soccer ball and laughed like a lunatic.


Then he turned to the girl in the ice.  Most of her cocoon was nearly gone.  There were but centimeters, even less than that, in some places, the heat of the blast had done a lot of the work.


Chad’s heart hammered from the fun he had with the geek girl. Now he would fully resolve his lust as soon as he could tease his treasure out of what was left of her shell.


Columns of flame made the ceiling melt, and steam filled the air.  He nudged her towards the nearest fire where he could bear to stand close by.  The ice thinned…and thinned…and thinned…


Then it was cracking and flaking away as her flesh touched the air.  As if his heart couldn’t beat any harder.


She opened her eyes, and the two of them gazed at each other with no barrier between them.


“You aren’t going to enjoy this,” he said as he knelt down. He moved to grab her throat with one hand, but she caught him by the wrist with a grip so strong that he thought it was going to fracture.  She grinned, revealing two long fangs that were a cloudy white like the ice that entombed the two of them.  His last preception was the iron-tainted scent of blood on her breath, stale with the passage of time.

Rating: 8.40/10. From 5 votes.
Please wait...

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

Written by Wentz Hesselman
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Wentz Hesselman

Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

More Stories from Author Wentz Hesselman:

The Scarecrow’s Mausoleum
Average Rating:

The Scarecrow’s Mausoleum

The Storm of Tears
Average Rating:

The Storm of Tears

The Courtesan's Blade
Average Rating:

The Courtesan’s Blade

Related Stories:

No posts found.

You Might Also Enjoy:

Anything For My Bubela
Average Rating:

Anything For My Bubela

I Made a Monster Out of Clay
Average Rating:

I Made a Monster Out of Clay

A Season to Dismember
Average Rating:

A Season to Dismember

Recommended Reading:

Return of the Living
Fright Bites: Short Tales of Terror
Don't Scream 2: 30 More Tales to Terrify
Face the Music

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Skip to content