Con Verse Lea; Chapter 37, Hastings 242

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Stories from the Verse
Con Verse Lea
Chapter 37:  Hastings 242
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Beam 135

Lauren noticed that Tommy immediately took to the task of getting everyone water, starting with the leaders, then their students, then everyone else, drinking and washing off.  It didn’t take long for the leaders to address their tasks, but Tommy was keeping people organized for quite a while.  Lauren chided herself that she didn’t think of that.

She set her gear near the fire circle, intending to sleep as close to it as she could.  She was already tired, and had quite a bit to do still to make this camp work tonight.  For the moment, though, the leaders were taking care of it, getting through the first steps.

She hoped she would be able to determine what parts of the buck were edible, without making anyone sick.  Of course, all the major muscles would be cuts of venison, and although the taste would be different she thought she could recognize the liver, and the tongue.  She wished she knew more anatomy; she was fairly certain that you couldn’t eat the gall bladder, but not at all sure she could recognize it.  She should be conservative, cooking only what she was confident was good for food.

That also raised the question of what to do with the rest.  Tommy was right; there would be predators in the area, and also scavengers.  The scraps would have to be carted outside the camp somewhere, but she was not at all sure where.  Of course, her firewood teams were supposed to be bringing back information about the area, so perhaps that would give her some ideas.

The fire pit was ready before the firewood started arriving, but even when the first group returned Lauren had them wait for everyone else, so they could all learn to build the fire.

Returning, the leader of the second team said, “We found something.”

Lauren nodded, and said, “Let’s get this deer roasting, and then we’ll talk about everything you found.  That way, everyone will know everything.”

Once the third team was back, the group leaders began building their fire.  There was enough wood to stack a fair amount to the side, but Lauren recognized that they would need more before long.  However, one step at a time.

Tommy used another of her precious matches to start the fire, and Lauren again considered that she was going to have to find another way to do it.  In the parakeet world where she learned many of her camping skills she had used her pyrogenesis to start the first fire, and then never let it burn out.

She again took out her cooking knife.  “I’ve never done a buck before,” she explained.  “In truth, I’ve only ever done fish and birds.  It also bothers me that I know that the skin of this beast, what they call the hide, would make fine leather useful for a host of applications, but I don’t know how to do that.  Maybe we’ll experiment and see what we can learn.  Right now, though, the issue is to get through to the meat.”

“The meat?” someone asked.

“Yes, animals are made of meat,” she explained.  “I suppose that people are, too, but we don’t eat people, or at least, we think it’s better not to.  Some animals eat people, which is why they’re dangerous, but hopefully we can persuade them that we are more dangerous than they are.  Meanwhile, don’t let the children wander away from the camp.”

She stopped speaking.  Skinning the animal was hard work, and she needed to focus on it.  Sometimes she asked one of the others to hold part of it steady, or to pull at it.  Blood was oozing out on the ground, and it occurred to her that slaughtered pigs and cows were usually hung to drain before being butchered, but she was in a hurry here so probably would not have done that even had she thought of it.

The fire was burning nicely by this time, and beginning to build a bed of coals, so she had them add more wood to it and began cutting large sections of meat, looking for natural breaks, where muscles tied to bones, where they were separated.  Were she a butcher, she realized, she would know what to call these various cuts--round, tip, loin, sirloin, rump.  She was stuck pretty much with “leg” and “not leg”, and maybe “ribs”.  She recognized the heart and the liver and the kidneys, and decided that if you could eat those in a turkey and in a cow, you could probably eat them in a deer, so these, too, went onto the fire.

How long?

She knew that at home she would set her oven for probably three hundred seventy-five degrees and cook them for so many minutes per pound, but here it was much more make the fire as hot as you can and watch the food until it appears to be cooked through.

She tried to explain this to the others.  “From now on,” she said, “you are going to have to catch, kill, and cook your food, if you expect to eat.  But cooking--well, we’ll want to try to turn it over without burning ourselves, to cook it through, but mostly we’re just watching.”

She was supposed to remember something.  What was it?  Oh, right.

“So, scouting parties, what did you find?  Peep?”

“Mostly woods, a few more of those water pipes and old fireplaces like this one was.”

Lauren nodded.  “Boronir?”

The former Tennan looked nervously at his people, and spoke slowly.  “Well,” and he seemed to be grasping for what to call her, then skipped to what he wanted to say, “we found a flood.”

“A flood?”

“A huge expanse of water.  It seems to be contained.”

A lake, she thought.  “I’ll need to see it.  First, though, Sylwi?”

“We think we found a bathroom.”


“Well, it was like many bathrooms together, but it was also two separate, what did you call them?  Buildings?”

“Right.  O.K., I think that’s first.”  She looked at the food cooking on the fire.  “This should keep long enough.  Let’s all go see the bathroom.”  And following Sylwi’s team, they went.

Next chapter:  Chapter 38:  Takano 69
Table of Contents

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 #465:  Characters Wander.  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:

Verse Three, Chapter One:  The First Multiverser Novel

Old Verses New

For Better or Verse

Spy Verses

Garden of Versers

Versers Versus Versers

Stories from the Verse Main Page

The Original Introduction to Stories from the Verse

Read the Stories

The Online Games

Books by the Author

Go to Other Links

M. J. Young Net

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