Cold Cold Air

I’ve missed a couple day’s writing, and I haven’t felt too badly about it. Yesterday we cleaned the garage. That needed doing.

Xannajhandra-tha buoyed near the surface where the vent-heated lake still warmed his naked body and gave his mind comfort. This small volume of water had no name, but he’d come to think of its shape as little-gate or last-gate or maybe lost-gate as he drifted from inlet to outlet all morning. He allowed a tentacle to uncoil past the drop-off and sink into the hotter layers nearer this last vent on the downstream end of Lost-Gate. As it snaked deeper, his awareness of place increased. The heat differential between his head and tail fed a sense he couldn’t feel outside walking on the ground. Like this, caught between the relative cool of the shoal and the scald of the vent, he felt precise, accurate, and calm. For Xannajhandra-tha the contrast made making decisions easier, and he wanted to have one last memory from one correct decision.

He lulled to one side and pushed a bulbous eye outside into the cold air. The surface tension tickled when he blinked the nictitating membrane to clear the water pooled in the corner of his eye. No one noticed his movement; no one was there to notice. Outside, the lake steamed. Very few fliers and no walkers would be able to see him depart the safety of the water. He scuttled out making no more noise than necessary and none that wouldn’t be mistaken for the sound of lake water surging into the stream nearby.

Next, he changed shape; he’d have to find clothes in this human form.

Not sure I made this bettter:

276 words on day 891

Pah Facilè

I liked yesterday’s effort enough to return to it to fill in some blanks. The one obvious hole I placemarked and the lack of concrete character description, Please note: the French phrase title of this entry and it’s use in the body is purposefully misspelled.

The boatman assured the men, Victor, Lars, and Daniel, there was a bike trail on the other side, but Daniel continued to press him for details.

“First part hard…pah facilè?” Daniel asked. He pointed to the bank where the bow of the longtail was headed then sketched a diagonal grade up the cliff wall where he imagined the trail might be.

The boatman swapped grips on the motor, waggled his head, and said something in Vietnamese accented French. He pointed to the same spot on the bank then drew a vertical line up the wall instead. Four hours later the three made camp at the top of that wall by collapsing in the leaves and mud next to the last motorcycle hauled up.

“We should of paid him,” Daniel said. He brushed sweat from his forehead and red face with an equally wet arm. A patch of mud transferred as a stripe from his eyebrow to the part in his blonde hair.

Lars grunted and asked, “To take us back across?”

Daniel nodded.

Lars grunted again.

“We should have,” Victor echoed without lifting his head out of the dirt or taking his eyes out of the canopy and clouds. His stale blue t-shirt read “The Best Ride in Vietnam”; a new hole at the shoulder showed a little blood beneath.

“Jesus. You too? You two kill me sometimes.” Lars pulled himself into a sitting position, back leaning on Daniel’s bike. They were ten days into their journey and his once crisp Fu Manchu had begun to blend back in to the rest of his dark beard. “I mean, fine, we all know Danny’s a pussy, but you Victor?”

“What, me? I’m no pussy. That—” Victor’s muddy and bloody forearm went up at the elbow and dropped pointing in the direction of their climb. “—was four hours we could have ridden, Lars. Gotten somewhere.”

Lars fingernailed mud out of the shocks on Daniel’s front fork and sighed. “But the long way. I say this four hours saved us twenty or more down your road.” Daniel and Victor had heard this plea of Lars’ several times before breakfast, before they came across, before they climbed half a day.

“So you say, so says the pussy.” Daniel pointed to himself.

Lars snorted a laugh through his nose faster than he could get it out of his mouth, but Victor didn’t give him a chance to recover before he again echoed his twin brother, “So says the pussy.” Lars choked and sputtered after that.

[a paragraph of description for pace. Gah! Ran out of time again. Well this awesome mystery paragraph would have been packed with jungle sounds and ambience. It would have ended with an air horn sound coming from a boat in the river below; I probably would have made a deft, elegant, and ironic parallel to the sound of a factory whistle.]

“Well, we’re here now.” Everyone knew that. “Burning daylight.” Everyone knew that too.

519 words on day 732

Edit: The Third Conner’s Son

All entries for Conner’s Son.

Conner’s Son hadn’t destroyed them.

Conner toted the injured boy back to the source of the spring. He laid him carefully be way of apology. COnner’s Son couldn’t tell.

The first part of the cave required one to lay down and scuffle through the mud. It would not be forgiving about the bad ankle.

“Right one, yes?” Conner’s Son grunted his assent.

“I’ll go first. A bit of a ways in I can turn around and come back to help pull, but you’ll need to lie on your left side with he bad foot on top, crawling till I can get back to you to help.”

Conner’s Son struggled through the remaining nausea to say, “Cover…up.”

“Too late for that. We can only hope [the beast by name] won’t be able to get in. Don’t waste time come in right after me.”

Conner worried they’d wasted time trying to lead the beast astray of their hole.

Conner dropped into the spring and began to crawl. The narrow space made him a little frantic. He struggled his way through to each opening he could feel. Sometimes pushing, sometimes kicking, sometimes wriggling with his whole body. His son’s smaller stature would make it easier, but not by much. There was no way to know if Conner’s Son followed or not. All Conner could do was to get tot he turn around and edge back hands first.

Recall, on the weekends I edit.  Above edited below:

Conner’s Son hadn’t destroyed them.

Conner toted the injured boy upstream to the spring’s source.  He laid him down carefully by way of apology for his early outburst, but Conner’s Son didn’t notice.

“Right one, yes?”  Conner asked.

Conner’s Son grunted his assent.  The change of position from being carried to being prone renewed Conner’s Son’s nausea.

“I’ll go first.  The first part we have to lay down and scuffle through the mud. After a bit—two body length’s maybe—I can turn around and help, but you’ll need to lie on your left side, bad foot on top, kicking till I can get back to you to pull.   Near the end you want to be on your back.”

Conner’s Son stammered through the remaining nausea to say, “Cover…me…up.”

“Too late.  We can only hope [the beast by name] won’t be able to get in.  Don’t wait for me to disappear.  You need to be right behind me.”  Conner captured Conner’s Son’s eyes with his own.  “Right behind.”

Conner ducked into the spring-cave and began to crawl.  The narrow space made him frantic at first, but as the cold water soaked into his shirt and pants it cooled his fear.  He struggled through four narrowings and a leftward bend.  Sometimes pushing, sometimes kicking, sometimes wriggling with his whole body.  The pattern of movement brought to mind the first—and only—time he’d explored the cave.  Hopefully nothing new blocked their way.

There was no way for Conner to know if Conner’s Son followed or not.  All he could do was race to the chamber, turn his body around, angle back hands first, and hope.