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Stories from the Verse
Con Verse Lea
Chapter 27: Takano 66
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Previous chapter: Beam 130
It was late afternoon when the horde led by Lauren and Tommy reached the dreaded wall. As Tommy had speculated, it was a chain-link fence with a gate across the road, a gate which appeared to be powered and remote activated. Stopping the crowd, Lauren walked up to it and examined the mechanism. After a pause, Tommy came up behind her. It was fairly obvious that there was an override to open the gate manually. This concerned her.
“You’re not opening it, are you?”
“Well, not yet,” Lauren answered. “Why?”
“Well, I just thought--” Tommy trailed off.
“I thought that a fence like that must be there to keep something contained, and since there aren’t any animals on this side, there must be something dangerous in the woods.”
Lauren glanced at the woods, then looked at Tommy.
“I don’t know,” she said. “Wolves, maybe. Or lions, or bears.”
Lauren nodded. “Well, you’re right that the fence is here to keep something on the other side, but not the way you think.” Tommy gave her a puzzled look, and Lauren continued. “Undoubtedly there are such creatures in those woods, but there’s little on this side of the fence that would interest a predatory carnivore, and so no reason to be concerned about them coming this way. On the other hand, a, what, twenty-foot fence? That’s there to contain foraging herbivores, probably deer, so they don’t destroy the crops. But you’re right to be concerned about carnivores, especially with people who have no idea what those might be.”
Suddenly something caught Lauren’s eye, and she looked away, then went to her wagon. Tommy turned to see what it was that Lauren saw, and saw a flock of large birds strutting across the field, pecking at the dirt.
Abruptly an arrow pierced the chest of the largest of the birds. This was followed by missiles felling two more good-sized animals. Tommy turned to see Lauren holding her fancy bow.
“That hopefully will do it,” she said.
“What, three birds enough to feed everyone?” Tommy asked.
“Not on their own,” Lauren said. “But it’s going to be a challenge for us to clean and cook three wild turkeys. We’ll have to build a fire pit of sorts, gather wood, clean the birds, remove the inedible parts, and probably cut them up to roast them in the fire in pieces. Then we’ll have to share them out with the people. Ever build a fire before?” she asked, catching Tommy off guard.
“No,” she said, “but I have matches.”
“Matches are good; we’ll use them this time, but we’re going to have to find another way to start fires, because over time we’re going to light more fires than you have matches. All right,” and she shouted, “Leaders!” and waited.
Her three group leaders and three team leaders came forward.
“We have work to do. Gather ‘round, and we’ll figure out who does what.”
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 #463: Characters Unsettled. 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: