a night's respite

Author: David VC /

I knew I had to find a place to rest before I became completely exhausted. I wandered into a patch of mushrooms of gigantic size, the smallest ones at the edge of the patch being waist high, which I tried my best to step through without damaging. Their wide caps were concave, allowing me to sip some handfulls of collected dew as I passed through. The cap elevations grew smoothly upwards. I waded through them until it became easier to crouch under them, weaving my way through the white stalks like an endless series of tight doorframes. I was gradually able to walk with a normal gait where the stalks reached twice my height. The ground beneath these fungi was drier than the rest of the swamp, almost sandy like the soil under the pine forests I remembered from the Surface. Large lazy circles of moonish light on the sandy soil traced the gaps in the canopy above.

I dropped the roll of airship canvas form my shoulder. I sat and leaned my back against the largest stalk, and feasted on the previous owner's snack as I spread out the content of the pouch before me. Mostly documents, along with a fountain pen, and the revolver. I predicted there wouldn't be matches of any sort, since the inside of the pouch didn't smell of tobacco. Of course, most tobacco is smuggled into the city along with the tea, therefore a suspicious habit for the rank and file Constabulary. Only the Commisioner's office had the lingering odor of pipe smoke. It looked like I wouldn't be building a fire tonight. Not that I needed one at the moment, nothing to cook and with the last few days of the Neath summer, the weather wasn't chilly at all. I unrolled the canvas and folded it upon itself on the ground enough times to qualify as a mattress. Still a bit long, I rolled the narrower end inwards to serve as a pillow. I lay down there, listening to the songs of the insects of the swamp I kept my revolver in my hand, and closed my eyes, wondering if the nightmares would find me under the thicket of fungi.

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