Loki saw no sign of the woman as he entered, but a roaring fire and a table filled with delectables were more important to him. There were dozens of pictures covering the walls of men, women, and children that belonged to a large family. Loki just felt oddly comfortable and at ease in the small home. He took off his snow shoes and left them at the door, then took a seat to rub his sore feet. He had never been hiking before and was worried he would form a blister.
“Errr, aintcha a bit cold sittin’ like that Loki?” Tepic looked at his friend with concern as he looked about the cabin with more dread than comfort. Bookworm called out to their host again, who warmly welcomed them from out of sight. “Feel free to take off your shoes, your coats, and rest here. I will join you soon.”
“We do not mean to stay for very long,” Bookworm replied. The cabin felt inviting and warm, but something unnerved her about it. Yang was starting to edge back towards the door.
“Don’t leave us…stay…” As the lonely voice spoke the door to the cabin vanished. Yang found himself desperately hitting the side of a wall where the windows had vanished as well.
Loki jumped to his feet in bewilderment while Wright growled as he looked for a target to shoot, but the young singer was nowhere to be seen. He turned to Yang, “Know something about this place you could share?”
“There is a legend,” Yang said as he clutched his coat apprehensively. “Similar to others found elsewhere, of a feminine spirit haunting the mountains. A lost soul in search of a husband, a family. She sings to her victims and casts her spell upon them. In the day she disorients them, entices them into her home, and sings their minds away as her powers grow at night. Their bodies are frozen down to the bone with a wedding ring made of ice placed upon them. That is why she is called the Kona Snaer…the Snow Wife.”
“But I’s too young ter get hitched!” Tepic cried, as did Loki. Mariah sounded calmer as she queried, “What about women?”
“She marries men and women alike,” Yang indicated the pictures on the wall, “Whomever is not married is adopted into her family and still frozen solid. We are lucky it is noon when she is at her weakest or our minds may already be gone.”
“Avariel’s first telegram said she spent a night under some fir trees,” Bookworm said as she tried to remember the details. “She woke up completely encased in ice.”
“Cor! We gotta get outta this old windy shack ‘fore she traps us here!” Beryl agreed as they went towards the door. “Yes, everyone out while we still can!”
“But the door is gone!” Yang gestured to the blank wall. Beryl and Tepic exchanged glances and looked back to the others. They sighed in resignation together. “If’n yer don’t see the door we’s just gonna have ter convince the old maid ter leave us be.”
“There would be no legend without survivors. How can we escape?” Mariah rubbed her temples as Yang shrugged in response. That had not made it into legend. Loki had sat back down as he considered the problem at hand, yawning as the soporific song relaxed him.
“I would say we should burn the building down, if we were not inside it ourselves.” Wright muttered, adding that women weren’t even his type, as he tested the walls for a weak point.
“Well, she likes singin’, so maybe if I play’s me flute for ‘er she’ll be nice and let us go?”
“No Tepic,” Bookworm had not noticed when she had taken a seat next to Loki, but could not summon the will to stand on her aching legs now, “I think your flute would probably help us fall asleep faster.”
“That depends on the song,” Mariah said with a suddenly impish grin. “Tepic, Beryl, would you two join me over here.” The two joined Mariah as she whispered to them. Tepic giggled, though Beryl looked worried. “Are you sure? This could make it angry.”
Mariah insisted and the two retrieved their instruments. She turned to the others with a broadening grin, “Alright everyone, if its songs you want I’ve got a few! Now I might not sound as soothing as the snow girl, in fact you may find I sound like a strangled frog, but I think you’ll be singing along with me soon enough!”
Mariah began to sing, Tepic would say croak, a bawdy song about a woman of the night robbing a seaman of his clothes and coin. The soothing croon from the apparition was drowned out by the music and song provided in the flesh. The crew’s reaction ranged from outright laughter to indignation, but Mariah was not finished assaulting their better senses. Her next three songs were filled with innuendo which Wright joined her for when he knew them. One song, which was actually about a horse, was called ‘When I was on top of you.’
Before she was half through her final song the fire extinguished, and the cabin could be seen for the cold, empty ruin it had always been. Loki and Bookworm stood up from the rotten chairs hastily. The door hidden from those under the Kona Snaer’s influence was visible again.
“Guess Captain Rhodes was right. I’m just not marriage material,” Mariah laughed as the group hastily exited the building and traveled north. They ate trail rations throughout the day putting distance between them and the cursed building.