Crystal grip.

The ice calls at night. Aching and groaning. Pressures unimaginable, squeezing and forcing and expanding, slowly creating a barrier crust to belching snowmobiles and the sun's cold whimsy. Metres below, the water hesitates between liquid and gel, dark, sluggish, shock crystallized by a northern wind and retreating sun. There's no hope down here, no maybes, no possibilities. Heartbeats slow, hunger dulls, movement settles to stillness. The fish sleep, half mass, half life, wide-eyed and dull blank, rocked by the moon's gravity. They sleep knowing the thaw will come, opening the frost seal, bringing oxygen, hooks and slashing knives. They sleep, already knowing the end. Meanwhile the ice, it aches, it groans in the night. The howl calls across the lake, off granite and maple, "Come child, step out, just a little further..."