Con Verse Lea; Chapter 64, Beam 148

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Stories from the Verse
Con Verse Lea
Chapter 64:  Beam 148
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Hastings 248

Warren was waiting when they reached the caves.

“What kept you?” he asked.

“I thought you were married,” Beam joked.

Actually, Ashleigh had been quick.  They were slowed by the facts that Bob did not walk well, and the worse over uneven or rough ground, and that Bron was pulling the tool cart.  The weapons cart was fairly good over most ground, although it had some trouble on steeper slopes; Dawn could move faster without it, but it didn’t function well without having a specific person to follow, and although the girl never expressed any emotion Beam had the impression that she liked having the arsenal with her.

“Anyway, here we are.  What now?”

“You’re expected.  We’ll get you settled in your rooms, eat some rice, and figure out the next step in the morning.”

“I thought you didn’t cook here?”

“We don’t.  The rice was cooked elsewhere and brought here.  Also, we’re saving the batteries by using oil lamps, because there are only a few of us here tonight so we don’t have to light the entire space.”

As they stepped into the darkness and saw dim light ahead, Beam wondered if Ashleigh, now as Viper, thought this romantic.  After all, this was where they had gotten married and spent the first night--in some sense the only night--of their honeymoon.  He’d like to think it was romantic, but to him it was mostly damp and dark and a bit chilly.  Still, when they got to their room he added his blanket to the bedding, and decided that he ought to make the night memorable for her.

That, he realized, meant he should go easy on the sake.

It was good sake, which to some degree made up for the fact that the main course was mostly rice, fried with some egg and assorted vegetables but for all that not much flavor.  He ate it because he was hungry, washing it down with the sake.

He awoke in total darkness, with enough hangover to recognize that he had overdone it and passed out.  The feel of his surroundings told him he was in a bed, and that someone was sleeping alongside him, and not Bron.  He wanted to get up, go find the latrine, but was deterred by two things.  One was the total darkness.  He had a flashlight; it was in his duffel, he thought, but he wasn’t entirely certain of that, and he wasn’t entirely certain where he’d dropped the bag when he had brought their luggage to the room.  The other problem was that someone had removed his shoes, and he wasn’t exactly certain about walking barefoot on the cave floor in the darkness.  He would wait.

No, he was not going to be able to wait.  Anyway, certainly not until someone brought light.

He sat up, and his head spun.  He closed his eyes, but that was worse, so he opened them again.  He thought it odd that he was better with them open, given that it was pitch black and by sight he couldn’t tell the difference, but for some reason having them open in the darkness made him feel more oriented.

He felt for his lighter, and drew it out of his pocket.  He realized his hands were shaking.  Don’t drop the lighter, he thought.  That would make things worse.  He took a deep breath and held it.  A wave of nausea passed through, but he was accustomed to that, and it passed.  He exhaled slowly, took a few more slow breaths, and carefully lit the lighter.

In the flicker he spotted his duffel against the wall, his shoes on the floor, but more significantly an oil lamp on the ledge beside the bed.  Sidling closer, with his left hand he brought up the wick and removed the glass, then he touched the flame of the lighter to it.  Slowly the flame grew.  He replaced the glass and drew down the wick for the best burn.  The biggest problem had been solved.

He slipped into his shoes.

He remembered the way to the latrine from his last stay here.  He was going to have to pass through some dark corridors.  The question, then, was whether he was going to take the time to find his flashlight, or try to carry the lamp with him.  He stood, and was unsteady on his feet.  If he stumbled and dropped the lamp, that could be a serious disaster.  Over the objections of his bladder, he shambled to the duffel and unzipped it.  It took an uncomfortable moment to find the needed cylinder, but fortuitously it worked when he flipped the switch.  It occurred to him that even if they had batteries in this world, they probably didn’t have the sort he needed, so he should go easy on these.

Leaving the lamp alight for his return, he stumbled to the door and out into the caves, to find his way to the needed facilities.

Next chapter:  Chapter 65:  Takano 77
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 #470:  Verser Turnings.  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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