by Wes Carlton
I've picked my favorite few paragraphs from my book i'm still working on, still unnamed.
|“Why in the world would you forget to ask those people back there if there’s a better way to the fog?”
“Oh crap, I forgot. You can’t be talking though,” Elle said with a smile, “You left our water on the fire so long this morning it nearly burned my tongue off!” Elle was walking backwards and folding his arms. “I forgot to tell you that, but now that we’re on the subject…”
“Oh alright fine, sure let's just forget about the time when you woke me up to watch the crackheads stare at the light show!”
The pair had been walking for quite some time now, and were engaging in their regular banter. There was nothing better to do anyway.
“Hey, when’s the last time you saw the chief Elle?” Jespairt said looking back at the path.
“Oh my, that’s right he was just with us this morning. I can’t figure out why he’s always trailing so far behind.”
“He’ll turn up eventually. It’s his problem anyway, keeping up with us.” He mumbled under his breath, “Old man.”
“We did save his life, maybe he could do a little walking every once in a while.”
The chief had been their extra baggage this whole trip, always missing dinner and never quite being helpful in any situation. He had been gone so long Elle had started to forget he was there at all. Come to think of it the last time either of them had seen the old man was back at the little fishing village where they stopped to get some clean water.
When the sun started to set again they found themselves in a strange place. The terrain had been slowly flattening out as they walked and Elle could tell they were getting closer and closer to sea level. The trees were getting shorter and the air a little thicker. But most of all the ground grew wetter. This past day they were forced to rearrange their packs and get rid of any extra weight because their shoes kept getting stuck in the mud. When they got to a high bit of land they could stand on, without sinking into the ground they unrolled their hammocks and Jespairt set to building a fire while Elle searched the area for any people or extra supplies.
Elle legs itched from the tall grass all around on the little islands between the mud pits and he stopped to scratch them, his favorite knife falling on the ground. When he picked it up he noticed something. About a hundred yards away there was a thick fog churning and advancing, closer and closer. He fumbled with his pocket to put the knife away and quickly made his way back to Jespairt. When he got back Jespairt was just striking his lighter and the fire was catching sparks. “Jespairt we got a problem! I was just over there looking around and I saw the fog wall but this time it’s not still like before, it looks dangerous and it’s moving our way.”
Jespairt grabbed some sand and threw it on the fire, any sparks dancing on the fragile tinder were smothered by its weight and he got up fast. “We better get moving, You know how it’s hard to breathe in there.”
Elle nodded and scowled, as he ripped his hammock off the tree.
“Yeah, this is annoying, but we can’t take any chances.” Jespairt was on his way now slinging his pack over his shoulders. “Where did you say the fog was?”
“Here follow me” Elle said, rounding a small tree “It’s right over here!”
Their strides were careful but swift on every patch of dry land they could spot in the moonlight. Mud squelched under their boot and Jespairt almost fell headfirst into hole, only saved by his knee catching a ledge and driving him back to the trail. He looked at his hand while he followed Elle. He couldn’t see it but he could feel the blood, warm and sticky on his palm. His knee started to feel the pain of each step but he stopped dead in his tracks almost bumping into Elle. He had stopped a few yards from the fog and he stepped beside Elle to see it clearly. It was hard to hear now, a fury of sound blasted out from the fog, churning and whirling with the force of a hurricane.
“Oh god! Where did this come from!” Jespairt screamed over the noise. “Are we going in?” Jespairt thought for a second and remembered his throbbing knee. “You should go first and I'll hold on to you, I cut my knee pretty bad back there.”
Elle simply nodded instead of trying to answer him through the torrent of sound and He grabbed Jespairt’s arm trying to find where the rest of him was. “Alright hold on to my shoulders and I'm gonna go as fast as you’ll let me.” Elle pulled his boot from the mud below and took one step toward the fog. “We can do this, just hold tight!”
The two of them leaned into the wind and Elle gave the storm his full strength as they walked through it step by step. Jespairt groaned and hid behind Elle’s back. Twigs flew past his ears and stones flew bast his ankles. Elle must be closing his eyes because he couldn’t imagine how it would feel to be in the front. They both took their last breath, and started to run faster toward the light seeping in through the blanket of murky darkness. A few more steps and Jespairt lost Elle’s shoulders as his feet caught a sandy bank and his eyes filled with light as he fell face first into a pool of water.
When Jespairt pulled his face out of the water and wiped his eyes, he looked around, searching for Elle. He could see the fog just behind him but no sign of Elle, nor his boots now that he thought about it. After pulling his feet through all that mud, all that was left was one sock on his left foot and nothing on the other. He was very annoyed considering he hadn’t broken his feet in for the summer and the ground didn’t seem very friendly up ahead. But he pulled himself up out of the water and stared into the horizon. At that moment he realized he might not need his boots at all because all he could see was lots of water, stretching out towards the horizon and only about two feet deep the whole way. Jespairt began to worry about Elle though, because it looked to him like he should have seen him by now, so he turned around and sloshed his way over to the fog and quickly walked alongside it looking down at the smooth sandy bottom. Pretty soon he saw a dark shape a few feet ahead and when he got there he was horrified to see Elle laying face down in the shallow water. The water around him was slightly red and Jespairt tried to avoid the many cuts and bruises on Elle’s arms as he picked him up. Looking into his eyes, Jespairt shook Elle trying to wake him but no matter how hard he tried the blank eyes just started right back. Jespairt said aloud, “No, no we can’t have this. You gotta wake up so we can get you somewhere.” Elle felt pretty heavy and Jespairt looked around desperately for any kind of ship or town. There was nothing for it now but to just carry him away from the fog and out into the blue sea. Jespairt tried to hoist him up on his shoulders but when he got halfway his legs collapsed and he knee throbbed with pain. So he grabbed a piece of Elle’s shirt and tied a brace around his knee. He didn’t know how long it would hold but it did stop the bleeding and a little of the pain. Next he took of Elle’s boots and threw them away. They were heavier than he thought and he was glad for the little bit of weight he could remove. Now he was ready to start carrying. With The hundred forty or so pounds on his back all he could do was take a few steps and rest for a minute before slinging his further up on his back and carrying on. Jespairt soon figured out that he couldn’t do this for much longer. Small shells dug into his feet and he was losing his grip on Elle. He kept on sliding down his back and finally he let him fall into the water. This time Jespairt collapsed into the water with a splash and stared up at the sky. He laid there for a minute watching the clouds and breathing in the warm air right off the top of the waves before he remembered Elle couldn’t breath and he raised his head above the waves, bobbing up and down hit each crest. “If only he could see this. All the trouble I go to keep him alive. He might already be dead, I don’t know. He’s breathing. That’s good.” Jespairt looked hopefully at Elle who looked comfortable. He didn’t know how he could look that way with half the skin on his arm missing, but at least he couldn’t feel the pain. Jespairt didn’t know which was better so he just sat there on the sand and kept his friend alive.
Walking was out of the question now and all he could do was just stay as still as possible and just wait. They were staying so still in fact that several times a fish came up and swam around them, inching up to Elle’s hand floating in the water and dashing away when it moved in a wave. The sand was soft where they lay and the afternoon sun shone bright on their skin drying everything above the water. What Jespairt couldn’t figure out was why the weather and light was so different in every single place they’d been. Back where they just were it seemed like there had been no sun at all and only a murky have lit the surroundings. Here, The sun made the light blue water glow and puffy clouds danced lazily overhead. Jespairt was deep in thought and beginning to think he might never see the life in Elle’s eyes again when to the right, a new shape came into view. As he squinted his eyes the bow of a small ship cleared a wave and it sat lightly into a swell about a hundred yards away. Jespairt stood up and held Elle’s arms like a puppet, “We’re saved Elle! You can’t hear me but we are! Look, at that! It’s just like in the stories, How lucky we are!”