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I Followed Him

Gus Savoie's picture

I pull back the branches and dive into the depths of the forest, leaving the clearing and its small group of discussors behind. A few steps over the soft, leaf-dappled moss of the forest floor and I am utterly lost in the green shadows beneath the canopy. The defined shape of the clearing is now only a spectre on my retinal memory.

Macheté appears in my right hand, a product of concern for the enclosing wall of vine and branch. Fathoms above, the wind whispers across the surface of this ocean of trembling biomass. I easily slice a person-sized space around a handy looking trunk. Blade in scabbard, hoisting upwards.

Moments of vertical effort later, I look out from my perch over undulating, endless treetops. Splashes of warm and cold sunlight wash over the verdant waves. High above I see glittering sprays of ice-crystal clouds in a achingly blue sky.

"Halloooooo!" My bellow disappears almost immediately in the rush of leaves and wind. I gasp for breath, this sudden sense of loneliness is a punch in the guts. Paying no mind to my emotional crisis, my eyes continue to scan. What are they looking for?

Far below, they see a sharp flicker of reflected sunlight. In a world of trees, here is something that was probably more like myself. Not a tree.

***

Carpenter is waiting for me when I thud foot on the forest floor. Hat in hand, fanning his sweaty, pocked face. His other hand is gripping his own macheté.

"See anything?" I can see the direction he has come, a tunnel leading off into shadow.

"There's something," I unbutton my holster and point my blade in the direction I had marked, "to the Venusian West of our current position."

"What kind of something?" More sweat bubbles to the surface of his face, dripping from his cavernous pores "A settlement?"

"Can't say." I shake my head. "Something reflecting sunlight."

"Worst cast scenario, we find water." He crams his hat back on his head. "You can stop saying "Venusian" now - if we get back home it'll be a fucking miracle."

"Carpenter. " I thought "This is the worst story nugget you have ever pried loose from that festering cavity you call an imagination."