Friday, February 12, 2010

Seven #2.15

It was a warm day and for the first time since starting on their journey, they were sweating--due to the extra weight of their packs and everyone was becoming uncomfortable.

"Can we stop and get some water? My canteen is empty," Seven asked.

"We'll be coming to Cave Springs in a couple miles. We can rest and get water there," Cassius said.

"You can have some of my water," Nicholas said.

"Thanks, Nicholas."

"Give me a nickel first," he said.


"Give me a nickel."

"A nickel? You've got to be kidding me!"

"We're in the middle of nowhere, Seven. Just give him a nickel," Tara said.

Seven fished a nickel out of his pocket and handed it to Nicholas who gave Seven his canteen. "This better be the best water ever," he said before he took a drink. He handed the canteen back to Nicholas. "Thank you. That sun is a killer."

"I have a couple of hats I got in Indianola that will help keep the sun off of you," Nicholas said.

"Wow, that's great!" Seven replied.

"Give me a quarter first."

"What is wrong with you?"

"We're in the middle of nowhere, Seven. Just give him a quarter," Tara said.

The four left Cave Springs refreshed and ready to go. The sun had disappeared into some clouds that had gathered and the air cooled off immensely.

"Feels like we could get into a storm," Cassius said. "Back when my Grandaddy was a slave, he attacked and killed his master in a storm."

"What for?" Tara asked.

"Oh, his master was a mean one. Beat you even if you were the best slave in history. My Grandaddy attacked him in the storm because it was dark and he wouldn't be seen. All the other slaves knew who killed their master but no one told," Cassius said.

"What happened to your Grandaddy?" Nicholas asked.

"He was set free. Moved down to the Delta and started a small farm. Died a couple years ago, aged 102," Cassius said in a proud voice.

The trail suddenly went into some woods which were very dark with the lack of sunlight. The slight wind rustled the leaves. Suddenly, a wooden thud echoed through the trees, startling Tara.

"It's okay. It's just a couple of tree branches hitting each other," Seven reassured. He felt a rain drop on his nose. "It's starting to rain. Should we stop and see if it gets worse or keep going?" he asked.

"We should keep going. We'll be coming to Eminence this evening if we keep walking. They have a hotel we can stay in," Cassius said.

Another wooden thud.

"That one was louder," Tara said.

"It's just branches. Come on, I want to get to a hotel so I can sleep in a real bed," Seven mused.

Nicholas slowed down and walked beside Tara, smiling at her. As the four came to the edge of the woods, the rain picked up even more. They paused and looked at each other. Some rain was getting through the trees but they weren't soaked.

"Do we wait it out?" Nicholas asked.

"It could be hours," Seven said. "I say we just deal with the rain."

"Okay but I'm not helping take care of you if you get sick," Nicholas said.

Another wooden thud.

Then another.

All four of them turned to where the noise came from but Seven spoke. "That didn't sound like a tree branch."

"If it's not a tree branch, what is it?" Nicholas asked.

"I'm going to check," Seven said and stepped off the trail into the woods. The forest was nearly pitch dark the further he went in. The rain hitting the canopy of leaves echoed through the silence. Suddenly, beyond a group of trees, he saw a bright light--glowing a bright blue. Seven gasped and impulsively fought his way toward it. The light remained until Seven got to a small clearing where it vanished.

The clearing wasn't exactly clear as vines and other flora had sprung up and taken over but Seven did notice a gravestone. He walked over to it, vines cracking and snapping under his weight and grabbing hold of his feet, and looked at it. It was barely legible except for 'Kerr' inscribed on it. He could also barely make out a death year: '1848'.

Since the year was before people were even allowed to settle in this area, Seven figured it was a trail traveler although he thought it was odd that this person would have a stone.

As he turned, he noticed another gravestone leaning against a tree. As he walked over to that one, another loud wooden thud echoed near him. He stopped and listened. It was somewhere close.

Seven ran back the way he had come and back through the forest. When he got back to the other three he had stopped running and casually returned to the trail.

"Did you find anything?" Tara asked.

Seven swallowed and shook his head. "No," he said. "But we should probably get going."

The four set off again into the rain, leaving the woods behind. Several hours later, the clouds remained but it night time and slightly chilly. They crested a hill and found that they were less than a mile from Eminence. They all breathed a sigh of relief and descended the hill into town.

The four get settled at the hotel while a city plans.