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Stories from the Verse
Con Verse Lea
Chapter 15: Takano 63
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Beam 124
In the end, Tommy decided to stay with the camp. Part of that was that with Mister Beam having vanished the night before she thought the people might get nervous if she and Lauren both vanished today. She spent an extended time working with her kawanaga, practicing her falls and rolls, and moving through the various strikes, kicks, blocks, and other combat moves Lauren had taught her.
She realized that she was doing this because she was bored, having nothing much else to do. After a few hours she had had quite a workout, realized there were no showers and indeed not a lot of water, and that she was hungry. This last was the only thing she knew how to fix--but it would require walking some distance at this point, as the people had been working outward from the campground, stripping the peas, spinach, and broccoli in an ever widening circle. She decided she could eat later.
Instead, she pulled out her sketch pad and markers and played with ideas for graffiti. She knew that there was nothing in sight she could paint other than the garage, but suspected eventually they would find other buildings, and maybe trees. She remembered going to some nature park when she was younger in which trails through the wood were marked by paint splotches of different colors on the trees, and she could accomplish the same thing with her graffiti.
That gave her another idea. She should think of things people would want to find, and figure out what kinds of pictures she could easily paint with her spray cans that would suggest trails that led toward them. For example, if they found a place to get water, they would want to mark the way to the water so that others, not to mention their own people, could get to it.
Water would be a tough one. What could she paint? With her limited skill, a spigot was probably not likely, and anyway for how long would people remember what a spigot was, now that they were out in the natural world? But what were the alternatives--a lake, a waterfall, a river?
A river. She couldn’t do a realistic river, but she could do a blue wavy line. She could even align it with the direction to the water, and put an arrow point at the end. Yes. She would want to practice it, but for the moment--
For the moment, she didn’t know where to point it. And it would be counter-productive to make direction signs that didn’t point toward what they promised. No, it would have to remain in her notebook for the moment.
What else could she draw?
It struck her that food and shelter were the obvious other needs--but she didn’t know what kinds of food or shelter they were likely to find, so she couldn’t really do much for that yet. After all, a picture of a cow would be very different from a picture of a beef roast. Apples look different from oranges, and both look very different from spinach or broccoli or peas--and she had the complication that her art skills and her medium were both somewhat limited. Certainly there were skilled graffiti artists back home who could do beautifully detailed images with spray cans. She was not one of them.
No, she had a good design for water, but food and shelter were going to have to wait.
Late in the day she walked out to get food. As she was harvesting spinach for her dinner, she saw Lauren coming back from her trek.
“What did you find?” she called.
“Not much,” Lauren admitted, “other than we’ve got enough food to feed everyone for a few days, although we might want to move the camp to stay with it. I feel a bit like a shepherd, moving the sheep to fresh pastures.”
“Won’t the explorers have trouble finding us?”
“Trouble finding a crowd of a hundred people on an open plane?”
When she put it that way, it seemed a pretty dumb question.
“So, when do we move?”
“Tomorrow, I think. The explorers won’t be back for at least another day, I expect, unless they got very lucky. And people aren’t going to be complaining about how far they have to walk to get food just yet. After all, they just climbed miles to get out of the caves, so this isn’t a lot of walking compared to that.”
“I wonder where Mister Beam and his friends are,” Tommy ventured, reminded by the mention of the climb.
“There’s no knowing, really,” Lauren answered, “but knowing him I suspect he landed on his feet somewhere.”
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 #460: Versers Reorganize. 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: