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Stories from the Verse
Garden of Versers
Chapter 129: Hastings 172
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Lauren opened her eyes. She was sure she had fallen asleep, but abruptly she was awake. A wave a nausea passed through her, and she tried to get her bearings. She realized that she was looking up at the stars. How, she wondered, did she get out of her cell?
Gradually she connected the dots--not the constellations, which were entirely unfamiliar, but the facts she knew. They didnít generally feed prisoners in those cells, because those cells were death row cells and there were no extended appeals processes--once you were in the cell, you would be executed before you could really get hungry. She assumed that they had brought her food because they had failed to kill her twice and she had complained about being hungry. Now it seemed that they had brought her food so they could poison her, probably with an overdose of some opiate that would render her unconscious. They would then have produced her body and claimed she had committed suicide while in custody.
Of course, the joke was now on them. They couldnít produce her body, and they couldnít say she had vanished, and they certainly couldnít say she had escaped. They were going to wonder for a long time what happened to her.
They were probably also going to wonder what happened to her belongings. She got a fix on them. She also got a sense that someone else was in this world somewhere, but that would wait until she had collected her things. It had been a twenty minute ride across town from the hospital to the jail; she wondered how long it would take to walk--but then, maybe she didnít have to walk. With a quick mental push, she scattered the dirt--sand, this looked very like a desert. The telekinetic pulse worked easily, so she tried to lift some sand, and when that worked, she lifted herself, then shifted from that to flying in the direction she sensed.
She also looked around. From up here she could see a distant valley, a pair of rivers coming together, a city built just below the fork. That was where the other verser was. She wondered if she knew him. There was a sense in which odds were against it, because there must be more versers than she had names for numbers traveling more worlds than all of them combined could imagine. Yet experience also suggested that versers who landed together seemed to do so again, so there was at least a chance that this might be Derek, or Joe, or Bob and Shella. It had happened before.
The sun was rising as she found her belongings. Noting that her psionics seemed to work well, she wondered about magic, and decided she might as well try the comfort bubble. She settled into the shelter it formed, and called a meal into existence. As the sun rose she decided it would be a mistake to travel by day, and put off her journey until evening. She napped a bit, but she was restless--having been cooped up for weeks, she thought it ironic that she now put herself in a cage when she could be out exploring. Time would come for that.
As the sun set, she organized her things, donning her plastic armor and her weapons, getting her wagon suitably arranged, and then used her telekinetic flight to carry her swiftly across the open desert toward the city, eventually slowing down over greener land as she approached the city wall. She landed on a road about a mile from the gate, and walked the rest of the way pulling her cart behind her.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with twelve other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #316: A Gather World. 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: