Saturday, November 30, 2013

Marsh Madness

            "You have the whole world to choose from and this is the job that you pick?" Leopold asked, looking out over the swamp that stretched before him. It was thick with trees and swamp plants but not so thick as to hide the sticky, squelchy mud underneath. The smell was horrible but every so often a large bubble would rise to the surface of the mud and burst, releasing a foul odor that, as Midas was fond of saying, would knock a buzzard off a manure wagon. A dull sucking sound indicated that this had happened again, and Leopold's nostrils were assaulted by the awful stink.
            "Holy cow!" Midas said. "That's strong enough to knock a buzzard off a manure wagon!"
            "I didn't have the 'whole world' to chose from, as you would put it," Daniel responded to Leopold's earlier question. "This was the only job that was even worth doing. It was either this or kill stray dogs that were killing some poor fool's chickens. I mean seriously, why doesn't he just get a dog of his own and have it chase off the strays?"
            "Because then the domestic dog would eat the chickens," Raven countered.
            "Teach the stupid thing not to eat them," Daniel said. "It is possible to train a dog."
            "So instead of killing stray dogs we're in a swamp," Leopold grumbled. "We'd better be getting paid a lot more to be in this filth."

Friday, November 29, 2013

Marsh Madness: Part Eight

Leopold used Midas’ knife to carefully slice through the slimy substance that encased Raven and tore it open, revealing her face. Her eyes were closed and her skin was pale and clammy, but at least she was breathing. He continued to remove the substance until the girl was completely free of it.
“I still don’t get it,” Midas said. He gestured to several other mucus covered forms lying on the ground. Opening these cocoons had revealed several swamp creatures and even a deer. Leopold wondered absently how a deer had made it this far from its natural habitat.
“It’s like a spider,” Leopold explained to his brother. “You carry Raven and I’ll explain on the way back to camp.”
“You can find the way?” Daniel asked. “Even out here?”
“Tracking an animal may be difficult in a swamp, but I can always backtrack, no matter where I am,” Leopold answered. “I can most certainly find the way back.”
“Well, what are we waiting for?” Midas asked. He threw the limp form of Raven over his shoulder. “Which way do we go?”

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Marsh Madness: Part Seven

Midas, and Daniel stood frozen for a few moments, the weight of Leopold’s words still handing in the air. All three scanned the trees surrounding them. The shadows seemed a little darker than before, and everything was a potential threat.
“What exactly are we looking for?” Daniel asked.
“I don’t exactly know,” Leopold responded in a low voice. “I have no idea what we’re even following or how big it is.”
“Just look for anything out of the ordinary,” Midas hissed.
“Out of the ordinary?” Daniel asked. “In a swamp? How familiar do you think I am with stinking wet-land environments?”
“Shut up,” Leopold hissed. He lifted his nose slightly and sniffed experimentally. “Do you smell that?”
Before anyone could answer, a deafening roar shook the swamp. The sound accosted them from behind, accompanied by a roiling gust of warm, moist air. Midas tried to spin on his heels, but his feet stuck in the mud and he fell to the ground. Leopold twisted at the waist to see what was happening but only saw what looked like a tree trunk rushing toward him. At contact he knew it was no tree; the texture was too scaly for that. The force of the blow knocked him fifteen feet through the air and out of his boots which were still stuck in the mud. He landed on his back but immediately righted himself, thankful that none of the foul smelling mud had gotten into his eyes. He looked to where he had been standing only moments ago and gaped slack-jawed at what he saw.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Marsh Madness: Part Six (forgotten)

Below is the back end to Part Six of Marsh Madness. Somehow I managed to not upload it last time. The original post is updated with it as well. So here it is...enjoy.

            “There’s no way in heck that I’m doing that,” Midas snarled. “Leopold, tell him he’s being ridiculous.”
            “You’re both being ridiculous for making so much noise while we’re tracking a monster,” Leopold shot back. “It probably already knows that we’re here thanks to you.”
            “Another reason to not risk our lives on a futile mission,” Daniel said.
            “Wrong,” Leopold countered in a quiet voice. “Raven isn’t dead as far as I can tell. I can get us back to camp, so we aren’t in any danger at the moment as long as you to shut up. We’re going to continue.”
            “You’re not thinking,” Daniel argued. “Raven has been captured by a beast of significant size and will be dead soon if she isn’t already. Even if we find the thing, we won’t be able to anything to it. You saw the destruction that it wreaked; we’ll be like gnats to it.”
            “If you want to go back, be my guest,” Leopold said sharply. “Take your amazing tracking skills and find your own way back to the camp. Take our stedillion, take our contract fee, but take it away from here.”
            “You know that I can’t find my way back,” Daniel complained. “You’ve gotten us so lost and turned around I don’t know which way is north.”
            “Well I do, which means that you have two options,” Leopold said. “Either leave right now or stay, but if you stay, you had better keep your mouth shut or I will shut it for you.”
            The harsh statement from the younger boy caught Daniel off guard.
            “We really are close, aren’t we?” he asked.
            “Yes we are, and unless you want to end up dead, you need to be quiet.”