Day 10 – Chapter 9 – 04

            She could hear J.T.’s colorful insults before she came around the pile of rubble.  She wasn’t sure whose mother he was cursing, but she was glad it wasn’t hers.  Carolyn rounded the mound of broken brick and concrete, studying the three mud-spattered men.  J.T. was knee-deep in the hole and swearing about something while Matt and Drew clearly fought down laughter.  She cleared her throat.  “How’s it going, guys?”
            J.T. froze, going silent.  His back was to her, but Carolyn could see his ears turning red.  It was apparently the last straw for the other two, who busted up laughing.  J.T. glared at them, growling, then slowly turned around, face flushed.  “As you can see, not well.  We’re having a hard time telling if we’re hitting water, or just more mud.  And the clay sucks monkey balls.”  He looked like he wanted to swallow his tongue after what he’d just said.
            Carolyn tried not to laugh, shaking her head.  “That bad, huh?”  She held up the Thermos she’d brought along.  “I brought leftover coffee from this morning.  Thought maybe you guys might like something to warm up a little.”  She dug a few mugs out of the messenger bag she had slung across her body and headed over to a slab of fallen concrete that seemed level enough to set the cups on.
            Matt shook his head.  “I need more than a cup of coffee to warm me up.  I’m going to go get cleaned up and park myself next to the fire for a while.  It’s too wet for us to know if we’re actually hitting water.  Let’s call it a day.”
            “Y’sure, Matt?”
            He nodded in response to Drew.  “I’m sure.  We’ll see if tomorrow’s a better day.”
            “Oh goody,” J.T. grumbled, mopping his brow with his arm.  All three were sweating despite the chill.
            “Looks like it’s been hard work,” Carolyn said as she filled the mugs.  She handed one of them up to Matt as he passed, heading back to the tents.  She sat on the edge of the slab, looking up at Drew and J.T. and shaking her head a little.  “Really hard work.  You two look like all you’ve been doing is rolling around in the mud.”
            “Believe me, that’s what it feels like we’ve been doing,” Drew said, frowning as he took a sip of coffee.  “A lot of work, not a lot to show for it.”  He looked down toward her.  “What were you doing back at camp?  Anything interesting going on?”
            She shook her head.  “I helped Marin move some lumber around for the raised plant beds.  Kel and Tala left for that sheep place.”
            “Who all ended up going with them?”  Drew asked.
            “Stasia and Brandon.  I think that’s it.  Most folks just stuck a little closer to home, though I think that Leah and a couple of the staffers went down toward the river to see if they could catch any fish that looked safe to eat.”
            J.T. grimaced.  “I don’t think I’m going to be eating any of those fish if I can help it.  Soda crackers and peanut butter for me if I have to.”
            Carolyn laughed.  “Not that brave, huh, J.T.?”
            “There are a few things that I won’t risk, and fish from the Grand is one of them.”  He took a long swallow from his mug and shook his head, squinting up toward the gray sky.  There wasn’t any sun, but it didn’t look like it was going to rain again today, either.
            “How have you been holding up, Care?”  Drew asked after a few minutes of silence, looking at her.
            “With…everything?”
            He nodded.  J.T. pretended not to be listening too closely, and Carolyn smiled a little.
            I know he believes.  “It’s a little frustrating.  I still don’t know how I knocked Marin out of the way of that support pole, but I’m kind of glad I haven’t run into any situations that I’ve had to try to do anything like that again, y’know?”  She shivered, holding the thermos in her lap.  “There’s a lot more fairies here now, though, than there were a few days ago.  Have either of you noticed them at all?”
            Drew’s nose wrinkled.  “I thought it felt a little different.  Rory was complaining about something hiding things from him, too.”
            Carolyn tried not to giggle.  Rory’s mutual enmity with the fae was fairly well-known, even to her.  “They probably are…they think he’s a little too grumpy.”
            J.T. snorted.  “Then what do they think about Thom?”
            Carolyn shrugged.  “I haven’t asked.”  Her shoulder tingled and she felt a slight weight settle.  She glanced slightly to the side to see Longfellow, the small, young fairy that had come to her first, dressed in blue and green. His tiny, round face was curious as he plopped down cross-legged, gossamer wings folding back like a butterfly’s.  She looked back at J.T. and Drew.  “I’m not sure I want to,” she admitted.  “Kind of afraid of what they’ll tell me.”
            “Probably that he’s being dumb,” J.T. said.
            She was aware of Longfellow nodding vigorously and Carolyn choked on a laugh.  “Probably,” she agreed.  “I’m just glad that they’re not bothering anyone…except for Rory.  It must be the wardings; I think they feel safe inside of our camp.”
            Drew frowned a little.  “What about the Shakespeare garden?  That was always their haven.”
            Longfellow pressed close to her face, shivering a little.  Carolyn frowned, murmuring, “What’s wrong, little guy?”
            He whispered in her ear and her eyes widened.  She wet her lips and looked at J.T. and Drew.  “I think that maybe we need to take a walk,” she said slowly.
            “Why?”  J.T. asked.
            “Because I think something happened to the garden, and it might be something we need to see.”


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One Response to Day 10 – Chapter 9 – 04

  1. Erin M. Klitzke says:

    If anyone’s been a little too close to the Grand River after the rain, they know what I’m getting at with the fish (in college, we used to joke about the crew team growing extra limbs).

    I wanted a picture of Longfellow for this update, but alas, there don’t seem to be any good fairy images that fit my thought process for him, and an artist I’m not. Otherwise, it’s just a little scene with J.T., Drew, and Carolyn, the first of several that we’ll see over the course of this chapter. Why is it that it seems like anytime they leave the safety of the camp, trouble finds them when Drew’s around? Must be something about him, hm?

    Friday brings the continuing adventures of J.T., Drew, and Carolyn as they make their way to the Shakespeare Garden, to see what there is to see. A lovely fellow Etsian provided the photo for the next update, which is of one of her products. She’s graciously allowed me to use her photo, and the item in question, as of this writing, is still up for sale in her shop.

    As of this writing, WebSeWriMo is..uhm…not going that well, 5/35 entries written and a slight blockage on #6, but I’ll break that soon enough. Until then, happy reading!

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