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Stories from the Verse
Verse Three, Chapter One
Chapter 91: Hastings 32
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 90: Kondor 30
When Lauren woke, it was late on a fine late spring morning. In fact, she was enjoying just being late. She had nowhere to go, no reason to hurry, and no worries. The wood smelled good, the air was warm, the ground was soft, and in fact she rolled over and closed her eyes, just enjoying the rest.
But although she could probably stay comfortably here in the woods for days, she should probably get up and figure out where she was and where she should be. She unzipped the sleeping bag and let it air draped over the cart while she put together a cold breakfast.
Dragging the cart wasn't going to be easy in these woods. She thought about levitating it, and about flying out of the woods; but it was best to make decisions slowly and carefully. Still, it would be nice to know which way to go. She tried to lift herself off the ground, but this time it didn't work. That was all right; it might mean that psionic levitation wasn't possible in this world, and it might just mean that it was more difficult and just didn't work this time. She still needed to know how to find her way.
Seek and you shall find, she thought. The marble worked; perhaps magic was easier than psionics here. Anyway, she'd created enough magic in Philadelphia that she felt quite familiar with the process. So she extended her arms in front of her, and began turning slowly, and said aloud, "Seek and you shall find; I seek a path to civilization." She continued turning slowly for about half a minute and then stopped.
Something in her wanted to go in the direction she was facing; and although it didn't look any more promising than any other direction, she thought she could get the cart through the trees there, and had no better information.
Grabbing the tongue of the cart and pulling, she realized that her muscles were sore all over. It had been a very rough night, she remembered. But they won. The worst of the Philadelphia vampires was destroyed, their fortress demolished, their ranks turned against each other; and the humans and the wolves and even one of the wizards had come together, and hopefully would continue to work together against the scourge of darkness.
But it was still painful pulling the cart.
Still, she pulled it over the soft ground for a short distance, and then found a narrow dirt road. She wanted to turn right, and not knowing why she wanted that or having any reason to prefer left, she did, and the cart moved much easier once it found the firm path.
And Lauren was in no hurry. She ambled down the road lazily, looking at the trees and listening to the birds and breathing the fresh air. Already she liked this world, and hoped to stay a long time yet. She told herself not to jump to conclusions, that there could be a very dark and dangerous reason she was brought here; but with the fresh spring air and the warm glow of the sun through the canopy it was hard to imagine that anything could be amiss here at all.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with five other sequential chapters of the novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #57: Multiverse Variety. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter.
As to the old stories that have long been here: