Day 30: Mayfly Graves
Eric had tried going with James on one of his “finding yourself” treks through dragon territory before. He’d borrowed a pair of James’ shit-stomper boots, and nearly fallen out of them when the hiking got steep.
The direhounds had been beside themselves to see him accompanying James, which made it at least a little worth it. They were so excited they would bound ahead up the rocks and roots, tails thrashing bushes to the earth, and come bounding back with thickets caught in their fur. James pointed out the dirty water sopping their muzzles, stopped Eric from tripping face-first into their pawprints, and remembered a spring nearby.
It took them hours to reach it—a flat, dark lake with coarse water, sheltered by the broken sides of what had once been a quarry. James didn’t say it, but Eric knew he could have covered three times their distance in half the time if he’d gone alone.
It was nearly dark. James scraped leaves and mulch out of a breach in the quarry, and weighed a tarp over their heads with stones at two points. He searched around for dry brush, plopped down beside Eric at the water’s edge, and bore long, tacit witness to the mayflies finding their graves in the mouths of fish.
So now what? Eric asked.
James shrugged. Think we’ll probably camp here, he said. He scratched a hound’s ruff obligingly when her massive, panting head flopped between them.
No, I mean—
Eric stretched to see James over the hound.
What are we going to do now? Like, why did we come out here?
Because you asked to, dumbass, James said. Both boy and hound gave Eric blank looks. We came here to come here. Now we’re here. What else do you want?
I don’t understand you, Eric said, and that had been about the end of their trips together.
Cue triumphant music: I finished out the Camp Nano series that I WOULD have finished in April, if my computer hadn’t destroyed itself! The draft is coming together better than I could have hoped–even though about 70% of it needs retrieving from my old hard drive, I’ve mined the remaining 30% almost completely out of my notebooks.
I’m kind of excited about this one, folks. Thank you to everyone who followed this series of first-draft snapshots (Lord knows you didn’t have to), and if you liked them, keep an eye out for future news about “Black Dragon” on the blog.