Title: Qallupilluit
Word Count: 558
Warnings: None
Challenge: This was written for Challenge #28: Unseen at http: Summary: Sokka wakes up to find Katara gone. Takes place sometime before "The Boy in the Iceberg".
Notes: For this story, I needed a mythical creature that was known for luring children away and pulling them into the ocean. Instead of creating such a creature from scratch, I decided to borrow the qallupilluit of Inuit legend, which are sea trolls that sometimes take the form of woman and dragged unsupervised children under the ocean ice.
Disclaimer: From what I have been told, Avatar: The Last Airbender comes from and belongs to Nickelodeon. Not me. Certainly not me.

Qallupilluit

Sokka no longer concerned himself about childhood monsters. He had grown beyond being scared by gran-gran's cautionary tales. Or so he thought. It was difficult to put such stories out of his mind as he ran through the night with Katara's parka in one hand and a lamp in the other. He was following Katara's tracks in the snow leading him away from the tent they shared with their now fragmented family and toward the ocean.

Towards the qallupilluit.

Ah, the qallupilluit. Their haunting presence gave children nightmares. Not that many years ago, it was Sokka who had woken howling with fear babbling about the water spirits who took a form resembling that of a woman, with seaweed hair and shark fangs and raven claws. Their unseen voices lured parentless children under the ice. Children like his sister.

Sokka neared the ocean and still no Katara. Was he too late? Had the qallupilluit already gotten her? No, they had not. Relief filled Sokka as he caught a glimpse of his sister in the distance, shuffling through the snow.

"Katara!" he called out as he ran toward her, "Katara!" But she did not seem to hear and she only stopped when he grabbed her arm and held her back. Only then did she look toward her brother, with empty, haunted eyes.

"Katara, where do you think you're going?"

Katara looked blankly back to the ocean. "To mother," Her voice was as far away as her eyes, "She's calling to us. Can't you see her?"

He tried, harder than he should have hoped to see what his sister saw, but only saw frozen ocean and heard the howl of the wind.

"There is nothing out there, Katara. Nothing but the ocean." And the qallupilluit but he didn't mention them. Best not to draw attention to yourself by calling out their name. Sokka wished gran-gran was here, not sleeping peacefully in her bed roll. She knew how to deal with the qallupilluit. The boomerang tied to his back wouldn't be much use against them.

"Sokka, she's out there!" Katara insisted again, as she pulled away from her brother, fighting his grip. "Can't you see! Can't you hear! She's there!"

No, she's not, Sokka thought but the words don't reach is lips. He found himself straining his ears and eyes. Didn't the wind sound vaguely like a woman's voice? Didn't the swirling snow almost look like a woman standing in the water?

Katara began to pull away with greater strength. Or was it that Sokka's hold was weakening, that he was letting Katara pull him forward. Toward the ocean. Toward their mother. Toward the qallupilluit!

"No, Katara!" he yelled, digging his boots deep into the snow and pulling her back, "No! You can't have her!"

The spell was broken. Katara's struggles stopped suddenly and she collapsed backward into her brother. No wonder. Cold could put such a strain on a person's body and, as Sokka saw as he lifted Katara into his arms, she had left her boots behind as well. Sokka carried Katara, wrapped tighy in her parka, back to camp. He ignored the sea and the false promises it held. He held Katara tightly to his body as he walked away from the ocean and the qallupilluit that lived unseen under the ice. They would not have his little sister.