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Stories from the Verse
Chapter 143: Brown 159
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Derek thought that he never really appreciated these trips to the shore. You could swim in the ocean, but then you had to rinse the ocean salt off when you got back to the house. Sand castles got boring pretty quickly, and sand had the same problem as salt, that when you got home you had to wash it off. Perhaps it was because he was older, or more experienced. Heíd never realized just how relaxing it was to lie on the sand, basking in the sun, listening to the surf.
Of course the sand and the sun were rather hot. Things were starting to cool, though. Apparently the sun was setting. It figures. He had just gotten here, and it was time to go home. Where was he, anyway? Romania, right? So was this the Mediterranean? No, it must be one of those other inland seas, the Caspian or the Black or something. Could he tell by the sound? He tried to focus on the sound of the surf, but it eluded him. Thatís foolish, he told himself. Youíve never heard the Mediterranean, or any surf other than the Atlantic Ocean on the New Jersey shore. Anyway, wouldnít it all sound pretty much the same--different, maybe, from one day to the next, but you couldnít tell what ocean it was from the sound of water hitting sand. Besides, he couldnít hear it all that well. In fact, he couldnít hear it at all at the moment. Someone must have turned off the water.
Wait--that did not make sense. It had to be there. Yes, there it was--no, it wasnít, it was gone again. Was something happening to his ears? He shook himself, and sand flew around him, and he sputtered and sat up.
He was now awake. Apparently he had been dreaming. But he did get the sand part right, and the sun seemed to be setting. The part that was missing was the water--this appeared to be a desert.
He was Morach. That was who he was when he was shot. He could see a bag a short distance away, which he recognized as his own small backpack-type bookbag in which he had packed Derekís clothes, and more importantly some of those energy drinks he needed for the transformation. But he wasnít in that world anymore. He didnít know whether he could transform in this world at all, and he didnít know whether it would be easy as it was in the vampire world. But before he did that, Morach had several advantages--and one of them was that he could get high enough to get a look at the land.
As he started to rise, he also relaxed inside to feel the direction to the gear he had left at the embassy. He made a note of the direction, but realized at the same time that there was also a person there, another verser. As he rose, the vector shifted, and it seemed that it all pointed to about the same place. That was peculiar, he thought, but at least it meant he didnít have to make too many choices.
There was something else within view--an obvious destination, a valley with a river and a large city, obviously the end of the desert--but that would not be his first stop, not until he had gathered his gear and determined whether the other verser was friendly. He had never met an unfriendly verser, but that didnít mean there werenít any. So in regard to which vector to follow, the verser or his luggage, he did not have to make a choice.
He did have to make one, though. He could fly there, but he probably could not do so and carry the bag with Derekís clothes. At least, it would be heavy, and would make flying difficult. He did not want to abandon anything, particularly not those energy drinks as although he had a case of them somewhere he could not replace them once they were gone. His things and the people were too far to see really at all in the rapidly fading dusk, so there was nothing for it but to become Derek, change into Derekís clothes, and hike the distance.
At least he would be walking in the cool of the night, and with the scriff vector to guide him all he needed to worry about was whether there was anything between here and there that he didnít see. Having decided what to do, he began. He transformed into Ferris and then Derek, and did not need the energy drinks to do so, which was an encouraging start. He thought he might want them before too much longer, though, as he expected to have a long hot hike, and he had no water.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with twenty other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #269: Versers Arrive. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: