Here is the third of the submissions, continuing in no particular order. Please remember that this is the opinion of one editor. There will be others who agree, but there will also be those who disagree. In the end, it’s your call. If you appreciate what we’re doing here, please support our magazine. To coincide with the release of issue 50, we have a number of special deals. See the ASIM website.
Big Grey Man’s Mountain
The news is all over the Net by now: humanoid bones found on a Scottish mountainside. Not human, unless Andre the Giant had a big brother lost in the Cairngorms. And some reports mention scraps of hide, still covered with coarse grey hairs.
Officially it’s an Environmentally Sensitive Zone, authorized entry only. Reporters and rubber-neckers come flocking to the villages or the Ski Centre’s funicular railway, any place they can grab a toe-hold to gawk at a stony mountainside. Rumors are epidemic: the bones have been removed for study. They’ve been removed and destroyed in a government/religious/industrial cover-up. They’ve been left in place for a sacred ceremony to contact the Ancient Transplanter Spirits of the Stars.
Like they say, it’s not what you know; it’s who you know. One of the railway operators remembers me kindly. There’s an old man, he says, in a hut halfway up Ben Macdhui. Says he knows all about Fear Liath More, the Big Grey Man. Says he’ll talk to whoever will listen — not that anybody will believe what he has to say.
I don’t have to believe it; I just have it report it. So I’m scrambling up a rocky little track with delusions of grandeur, looking for a man to tell me about Scotland’s answer to Sasquatch, Yeti, and Co.
Scotland’s late answer, that is. It looks like the position’s just come open.
If you had told me stateside I could miss the only human-made building on a barren slope, I’d say you read too many fairy tales. Not even the romantic Scottish highlands make houses just disappear. But this place I somehow don’t see until the slate roof’s almost under my feet — set right into the hillside, with a trickle of wood smoke rising from empty stones.
I find the present tense a little worrying; I’m not sure how it will hold up for the rest of the story. The infodump at the beginning is one way to get the essential information over to the reader, but I think it moves a little too quickly. It could be expanded a fraction to set the scene more elegantly. The part after the hash mark is the real beginning of the story, which raises the question of why it doesn’t begin the story, with the other details regarding the reporter’s presence filled in later. That would create more suspense. But it’s interesting enough to make me want to read more.