keeps this site and its author alive.
Stories from the Verse
Chapter 145: Brown 160
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 144: Slade 134
Derek had not realized how big a city Bucharest was.
Of course, he was out of the city now, but its size still impacted him. It had been what seemed a short drive from the embassy to Dorin’s apartment, so he had unthinkingly assumed it would a short walk back from where he died in that apartment to where he left his luggage at the embassy. As he considered it now, he realized that if the car averaged thirty miles per hour and he walked three, it would take him ten times as long to cover the same ground, and a half hour drive would be a five hour walk, another hour for every six minutes beyond that. Of course, walking he was not restricted to following the city streets, stopping at intersections, going around buildings--all of that was gone. He did have to trudge up and down the hills, and frequently the ground was largely loose sand, which made walking slower and more difficult.
Thus he trudged forward through the night. Had he realized how far it was, how long it would take, he probably would have slept and made the trip in the morning. Once he had started, though, he kept thinking that it couldn’t be that much farther, that it would be one more hill and then his gear would be in sight, and probably also that other verser who seemed still to be in the same direction. The scriff sense gave him direction, but distance was not so simple, and he didn’t feel like trying to do the triangulation even if he was certain he could do it accurately.
The starlight, and for part of the night the moonlight, was ample for seeing in this open country, and there was not that much to see. He still did not have any wilderness survival training, but he had some rations with his gear, and he would head for the city once he had gotten that. On he trudged.
He realized that the sky was lightening, that dawn was beginning. Still he trudged onward.
Reaching the top of a rise just as the sun broke the horizon, he looked down on an odd campsite lying in the shadows of the hills--four people sitting on a blanket sharing a meal, packs and duffels off to the side, his own gear somewhat scattered on the sand a dozen yards or so from them, and he recognized three of the four people.
They also recognized him.
“Good morning, Derek,” Joe Kondor called. “We’ve been expecting you. Come, have some breakfast, courtesy of the Lady Shella. I’m afraid we only have cups and plates for four, but if you don’t mind sharing I’ll rinse mine for you.”
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: