Saturday, April 7, 2018

Page 1678

((Triple Saturday -- Page 3 of 3))
They reached the open green of the eastern hills and just kept going. There wasn’t much to hide behind out here, save maybe the hills themselves. Only the occasional wild brumby or flock of sheep dotted the landscape.

Some or even all of those sheep had probably belonged to the village a couple days ago, Parson figured.

At length, Germal started to lag behind, and the Trio finally stopped running.

“Already tired?” said Damian, though he sounded out of breath himself.

“No--I’m--just--” Germal dropped to his hands and knees. “Just--one minute...”

Nobody seemed to be chasing them, as far as Parson could tell, but they were still fairly exposed out here. He looked around for a place to stop but didn’t see a particularly good spot. Only the nearest hill offered any kind of visual cover from the treeline in the distance.

It would have to do, he supposed. “Over here,” he said, and he helped Germal back to his feet so that the three of them could conceal themselves behind the hill’s slope.

He could still see a few slender trails of smoke beyond the treeline, which at least helped him keep track of where the village was. The eastern mountains that were now at their back did not look particularly inviting, as usual. The Storm Mountains always lived up to their name, and the Trio was close enough now to even see flashes of lightning within the dark clouds that perpetually concealed the mountain peaks.

“Now what?” said Damian, keeping an eye out over the hilltop.

Parson was still tired. And hungry. That snake hadn’t been nearly enough. His only solace was the blanket that he’d managed to bring with him from their hide out. He was glad that he’d told everyone to take theirs.

“I said, now what?”

Parson heard him the first time. He just didn’t want to answer him. But he supposed he had to. Germal was giving him that expectant look that Parson had seen a dozen times before. “...I still say we go north,” said Parson. “If we go south, we’ll have to cross a river. If we go west, we’ll probably run into more soldiers. And if we go east, we’ll run into that.”

The other two boys eyed the storm for a moment, and then appeared to agree.

And so, after an hour or so of rest, they headed north.

They spotted more sheep along the way. Damian tried to kill one so they could eat it, but he only managed to wound it before it ran off. Then the hunt turned into a rather long chase, as the boys were already a bit tired from earlier. Parson was the one that finally caught up to the beast and finished it off. At that point, killing it was a mercy.

They made another fire while Parson stripped the animal for its meat. He’d seen his mother do it a hundred times but never done it himself.

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