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Monday, October 23, 2017

The Valley---Part 4 of 6

by gt281 (writer), State of Denial, November 18, 2012

If the water was poisoned or full of germs and gut eating alien bacteria it didn’t really matter...

The trek westward for Captain Rienoon was slow and painful, every movement hurt’ It wasn’t really walking at all, it was more like drag and hop drag and hop, every twenty minutes or so Captain Rienoon would have to stop to catch his breath, he couldn’t afford to try and sit, so he just leaned against his crutch and tried to regain some of his strength, with only six pain pills remaining he wanted to wait until he absolutely had to have one. Even with his cast made of rock, dragging his left foot caused it to bleed and leave a red stain on the valley floor. Captain Rienoon would occasionally look back to see if Joe was there, but after a few stops he could no longer see where Joe was.

The valley floor was wide and the sun shown overhead most of the day, the floor was made mostly of compacted dirt with small grape size to egg sized rocks along the way. Smooth rocks as if they were tumbled smooth by bouncing along a river bottom, but that must have been long ago. There were also debris of landslides leaving there deposits of boulders and rocks, some of the boulders were as big as houses, while others were just large enough for Captain Rienoon to take a moment and sit on. The hours of dragging his foot and constantly leaning against the crutch were beginning to slow Captain Rienoon down, he was now only able to travel half the speed he did when he started, how much farther he kept thinking to himself. Was Joe right about the water? Was it still there? Maybe it was just a seasonal spring? The scenery never seemed to change, ahead was more white grey valley, looking down at his path, was the same dirt and rocks he had been limping thru for hours, lifeless chalk colored dirt.

The shadows were becoming longer now and the darkest of the valley sides were closing in, but up ahead there seemed to be a change, perhaps it was just an illusion created by the mixture of light and shadows. But the white grey valley up ahead, seemed to have more color to it, Captain Rienoon could now see touches of green, and yellow, and streaks of honey coloring among the rocks and boulders. Another hour or so of stumbling along and he could clearly see the small green plants among the boulders and scattered along the valley floor, a sure sign that water was somewhere near by. Then thru a recent landslide area and among the dislodged boulders he could see it, a beautiful sight, clear fresh water bubbling up from the ground, a clear spring with a small rivulet making its way down along the valley floor. Sheer exhaustion now overtook Captain Rienoon and the last few feet towards the spring was more of a fall than walking. His head and shoulders were soaked by the water, he drank the clear liquid with cupped hands until he could take no more.

If the water was poisoned or full of germs and gut eating alien bacteria it didn’t really matter, Captain Rienoon only had enough supplies for a couple more days anyway. To die because of poisoned water or to die of starvation a couple of days from now, what difference did it make? For Captain Rienoon to survive, this spring had to be safe, it had to be.

(click)…“Day…hell I don’t know what day it is. I’ve found the water than Joe said would be here. Found it last night before sunset, had my fill, it tasted sweet and cool. It’s morning now, cold among the shadows here, I don’t feel any effects from drinking the water, no stomach cramps or dizziness. I’ll run a water test later, just to see what’s in it, but it really doesn’t matter now, if it’s poison, well, I’ve had enough to kill ten men. I’ve unwrapped my left ankle and I’m keeping it in the stream, seems to be easing the pain. The area around the spring has some vegetation, hopefully it’s eatable. I’ll do tests on samples, that’s where my biggest worry of poisons comes from. No sign of Joe, course I expect it will take him a couple of days to travel this far.”…(click)…

(click)…“Late afternoon now, clear sunlight coming into the canyon floor, still no effects from the water, ate two survival biscuits, only six left. Tested some water samples from the spring, it’s loaded with some kind of organisms, but I don’t have the equipment to tell what they are. Like nothing I’ve ever seen before, they could be harmless or maybe they don’t react with my human DNA/chromosome structure. Also tested some of the green plants near the water edge, no indicators of any known Earth poisons, very high amounts of Omega 3 and stanol-sterol esters. So far the plants look non-poisonous and eatable, I’ll make a soup tonight with what I can find, hope it tastes better than it looks.”…(click)…

(click)…“Another morning at the spring, ankles feeling a lot better today, swelling is way down, a couple more days and I maybe able to at least walk on it. Made a soup last night with some of the native plants around the spring. Very bad tasting, could barely eat it, even worse than anything the mess hall could make, needs a lot of seasonings, or something, maybe able to find some natural minerals around here to help with the flavor. There’s a small recessed area along the north wall of the canyon that looks as if I might be able to dig out and make into a better shelter, at least I’ll be near the water and some eatable plants. I’ll need to start exploring the nearby hills to find more survival items, looks like I’m going to be here for a while. Home sweet home, yeah, should have been picked up days ago. Still no sign of Joe, I’ll have to start calling him slow Joe, mighty slow Joe.”…(click)…

(click)…“Late afternoon, I have taped up by left boot and ankle as best I could. I can walk on it some if I’m careful, need to do something. Did a little exploring to the west, following the stream along the valley floor. About two miles west the canyon opens up into a large valley, not much there, looked like just stub grass and weeds. Maybe be able to dig for roots, still no signs of animal life, looks like I’m going to become a vegetarian. Have started to clear away some of the rocks along the north recessed area, slow going, but it keeps me busy and occupies my mind, not so lonely when I have things to do. I never realized how much I’d miss another person’s voice, even sergeant Defoe’s would be welcome. What with his Tennessee accent and all, funny, I can almost hear everyone’s voice, clear as day, like they were sitting in the same room with me.”…(click)….

(click)…“Took one pain pill and slept well last night. I maybe overdoing it, clearing away the rocks and rubble around my new ‘home’, can’t afford to get seriously hurt. The more I think about it, the more I realize just how quiet this place is, no sounds at all, except for the wind rushing past my ears. I’m going to make some wind chimes as soon as I get a moment to sit down, it’s too quiet. I wish Joe was here. Even talking to an alien creature would be preferable to all this damn silence. I wonder if I should go and look for him, if he…ha, ha…, if it doesn’t show up tonight, I’ll head back to look for him tomorrow. One thing they don’t tell you in survival training is how much work there is to do, if your going to be someplace for a while. Starting with nothing is a lot of work. I wonder if this moon has seasons, is it winter or summer now? The nights are cold, maybe I should look for a campsite farther up the ridgeline? No, I’ve done too much work already, I’m near water and I don’t what to haul everything uphill, I’ll just have to be ready if colder weather comes. Still no effects from drinking the water or eating the native plants. Damn it’s quiet, makes you start to hear things, just hoping for any sound at all.”…(click)…

(click)…“Awoke from sleep by a large sonic boom and the sound of thunder, then the explosion of something hitting the ground miles from here, I could feel the tremor. Must be some more space debris from the battlewagons, I’ll check it out in the morning.”…(click)…

(click)…“Another great morning, ha ha…my back is taking a beating from sleeping on the ground. Can’t seem to get ahead of my needed work load, at least my new ‘home’ is nearly complete, just need to fashion a door of some type in case the weather turns, out of what I don’t know. No wood around here to build anything out of, might have to do some savage work at a cash site to get some metal panels. I should investigate that large explosion I heard last night, maybe there are pieces of wreckage there that I can use”…(click)…

(click)…“Heading towards the crash site I heard from last night, half way through the large valley to the west. I can clearly see the smoke from the crash site on the horizon, looks to be about a day or twos’ walk from here, hope to get there before everything is cooked.”…(click)…

(click)…“Crash site wasn’t hard to find, the remains are still partly on fire and in a fifteen feet deep crater, it left an impact trench about six feet deep and three miles long. Looks like a piece of one of the battle cruisers, it’s maybe as wide as a football field and about 800 yards long, maybe a section from near the communications quarters. Hard to tell really, I’ll set up camp for the night and see what I can savage in the morning.”…(click)…

(click)…“Gathered what I could from the crash site, it was as I thought, part of the Starranger, guess we took quite a beating by the Kachalot. Only a couple more hours till I get home. I’ve fastened a crude sled, to drag behind me. The crash site was pretty bad, I found a number of bodies inside, poor devils, never knew what hit them when the hull was breached. I was able to salvage some unexploded gas canisters, med supplies and a couple of weeks worth of space ‘D’s, if their not already ruined from the heat. The wreck looks like it could be a good place to salvage any building materials I may need, it’s just a long haul, but what isn’t around here, not like I can just pop over to the corner hardware store and pick up what I need.”…(click)…

(click)…“Finally finished putting a door over my little cave area, should help to keep the heat in at night and block most of the wind, even figured out how to build myself a crude table and chair. All the comforts of home…for a cave man.”…(click)…

“Please…hello…I am here, hello.”

“Joe, Joe! Damn it you make it, I’m glad to see you. Was your trip hard?”

“Travel like every day, just followed your marks in the stones.”

“Damn it’s good to hear and talk to, to someone, I was beginning to go mad just talking to myself and that damn recorder of mine.”

“Damn, damn, damn, is that how to say it? What does it mean? Did you find clear dirt?”

“Yeah, yeah I found it, just like you said it would be. I’ve made a lot of improvements around here to make things easier for me, do you like them?”

“Damn, damn, looks the same to me, stones and rocks, stone and rocks”

“Yeah, I suppose they are to you, damn it’s good to have some, someone to talk too.”

“Hello, I am here, hello.”

“Joe, thanks for coming, it won’t be so lonely with you here.”

“Hello, I am here. What is lonely?”

“Well, I guess being lonely is a human trait, it’s being by yourself to long, not being able to talk to anyone or see anyone, not being able to do things with others.

Have you been in this valley all the time Joe? Have you ever meet another being like you?”

“I always here. I have never found anybody except you, I like the rocks and stones, stones don’t bother me.”

“Haven’t you ever wondered if there are more like you? Where they are? I guess humans are different, we like to be around other beings, other humans. To have an interaction with someone, to be alone for a long time, can be very bad for a human.”

“I am here.”

“Yes, you are, and that is good, good for each of us, I think.”

The days, months and years passed. Captain Rienoon and Joe, learned a lot from each other, the small cave site was always being improved by Captain Rienoon, it kept his mind busy, and his hand full of things to do. Captain Rienoon even taught Joe some Earth games like checkers and chess. Joe was very adept at learning new things, they would often sit for hours after twilight discussing the heavens, mankind, God, good and evil, the very meaning of existence.

To be continued...



About the Writer

gt281 is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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