Sunday, May 22, 2005

 

the child, sixty-three


The first section of the small valley, the part nearest the camp, hardly looked like a promising place to find a stream. Stone pressed on, moving quickly. And it felt good, getting to stretch his legs and walk at his own pace for once, instead of having to slow down to accommodate the others.

The valley made a bend and plunged into woods. Hmm. If he had only come this far earlier, he thought, he would have easily found some sticks to make the splints from for Forest. Then Morgen and his friends wouldn't have had to give up their tent.

He felt bad about that. But - hey! Maybe he could do something about it.

And so Stone began searching for a replacement tent pole as he walked along. It would have to be a long stick, maybe a foot longer than he was tall - strong - sturdy - but easy to carry - something about as big around as, say, Starr's arm...

Starr. He chuckled at himself. Imagine thinking of the dimensions for the stick in terms of Starr-girl!

And then he smiled. Starr-girl...

It took quite a while and a long way walking, but at last he found a stick that seemed just right. He hefted it, leaned his weight on it. Tried hard to break it. Yes, sturdy and sound!

And not bad as a walking stick, he decided. Hefting it once more, he turned back towards the camp...

Water! He slapped himself on the forehead. How could he have forgotten? He had come looking for water, not a new tent pole!

Hmph. Well, press on then.

And using his new walking stick, he strode on up this small valley, determined to keep his mind on the task and find fresh water as soon as possible.

Did he notice anything out of the ordinary? Not yet, he didn't.

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