Ch18: Blue Ridge

Copyright © 2013 by P.A. Lackey
All rights reserved.

No part of this story may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. 

Chapter Eighteen: Blue Ridge

Arius hugged the wood keeping him afloat. He felt in a fog as the heat beat the top of his head, and his neck began to burn from exposure. He tasted salt as water breached his dry lips. His throat burned for something to drink, but all he had was miles of salt water. He wasn’t sure how long he had been adrift in the ocean, but he had long lost the crash sight the night before. He had to be miles from where the boat wrecked, and all he had was a piece of its frame to keep him afloat.
He thought he could see a blue ridge ahead of him which he thought was land, but it never grew closer, and at times it would disappear beyond the ocean. Perhaps his eyes were playing tricks on him, perhaps it was the heat.
Arius’ mind wandered, and he found himself back upon his home world. He recalled the vast forests of his homeland, the magnificent cities of the empire, and the orbiting planet Geira which would flood the lower lying continents in flood water during the night. He longed to be there again.
The cry of a bird startled him, bringing him back from his memories. It dashed over him, bringing his eyes toward a large rock sticking up from the water. The water swelled up around him, and pushed him toward the rock. Fighting to brace himself he bounced off the stone before being swept around it where a massive island awaited several miles beyond him.
Glancing around Arius found that he had floated into a shallow bay with several rocky spires coming up from the water. White birds circled the bay toward the shore, and forest stretched toward what looked like mountains farther inland.
Arius began swimming for shore while using the wood to keep himself floating. The water grew shallower the farther in, and soon he was on his feet pushing through the ocean. A beach was directly ahead of him within a narrow valley sunken into the cliffs along the ocean. A river ran through the valley and dispersed into its salty relative.
He felt like collapsing upon the sand as soon as it was under him, but he pushed forward to the tree line where he would find shade. Leaving the wood behind, he stumbled to a large oak next to the river. The water felt good in his mouth and even better down his throat.
Arius pushed himself against the tree where he let his muscles relax. He didn’t know what he was going to do now. Not only was he separated from home by a few hundred light years, but now he was separated from the only people that could get him home. He regretted his every move since day one, but pushed his negative thoughts away. He couldn’t dwell upon his regrets, but had to focus on survival.
Laughter caused him to role onto his belly behind the large tree’s roots which twisted into the ground. He spotted a young girl walking by the side of a large beast he recalled to be a horse. Another younger boy walked on the other side of the horse kicking the sand with his feet. They were mere children, but whether they were hostile he didn’t know. Perhaps they were human, the locals of the planet called Earth, or perhaps they were related to the leather bearing life forms.
Arius watched as they moved toward the water, and feared they would discover his tracks coming from the ocean. The tree provided too little shade to hide in while on his belly so he carefully stood up to stay in the shadows. Peeking around the trunk he watched some more as the boy dashed along the edge of the water splashing it into the air. The girl led the horse to the river side where it began to drink.
A tremor alerted him to something to his right, and he glanced up to see a man standing at the top of a ridge that flood waters had carved out. He was only a few feet away, and watched as the children played. A rifle was in his hand, and his clothes looked rugged. If not for the shade Arius would have been discovered.
“Dad, look at what I found,” the boy called.
Arius looked back to see the wood he had come to shore with. The boy drug it across the beach as it was too heavy for him to carry. From what he could tell, this was a human family.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check out my book, "Ground of Oam," here. 


Post a Comment