Not at the water that came pouring. Everyone had been expecting that.
It was the flood of stories that took everyone off guard.
Tales of woolly mammoths, of desperate tribes caught between the devil and the frigid blue sea, of trickster gods and their whole lost pantheons. They unthawed, came marching out of the icy wastes in which they had frozen solid whole ages of the world gone by. They wondered what we had done with the place in their absences.
It was all very strange.
Water had been expected, but how do you build psychic dikes to keep your mental ramparts from being overrun by tales frozen for ten thousand years?
It was tricky. Minds were saturated, short-circuited; ran amok. People suffered.
But then, the ancient stories had a terrible time adjusting to the modern world, too.
Those wonderful old tales - each unique, each springing from some long-lost tribe or ancient, doughty people - were simply not prepared for 24/7 streaming services, for always-on-demand, for the ubiquity of franchises, for crossover event movies. They were not expecting lines of action figures, or T-shirt merchandising, nor for the endless need to promote and exploit themselves by appearing on soul-crushing reality TV.
In the end, most of them decided it was too much bother, and went back into storage. Now they are sleeping again - the woolly-mammoth-stories, the lost-tribe-stories and the rest - resting still and silent in those gaping, hopeful vats of liquid nitrogen, lined up beside all those other Hollywood dreamers, waiting patiently for the dawn of a better day.
The artwork is by Olesya Hupalo, specially commissioned for this story, and it is as wonderful as always. Olesya is a tremendous artist, and if you read my stories you will probably know she has done artwork for many of them. She is also Ukrainian, and thus things are rather difficult at the moment. You should check out her work, and if you need any art doing, please consider her. There is an NFT of this story, including Olesya's wonderful art. If anyone buys it, I will use the funds to immediately commission more art from her.
This story is also available on YouTube, if you can bear to hear it narrated in my tremendously annoying voice.