Where Mary has to keep going no matter how tired she is..
Mary stumbled as she crossed the terrain.
Marshall had been quiet, not even chastising her or teasing her about wanting more sleep. He kicked the fire to ensure it had burned itself off and then they were off.
He had wanted to get out of this territory. Yesterday he had wanted to get to it.
Mary tried to understand, but she was so tired, every bone in her body ached. The caves had been safety for the night, but they were not a long term solution to their problem. They were deep in the middle of sauran territory, and apparently not the kinds of megafauna plant eating saurans Mary was familiar with.
“Can we please rest?” she whined.
“We’ve got to keep going. I’m tired too, last night was a long one.”
Marshall didn’t pause or stop. He kept walking. The terrain didn’t change much. It was rocky with intermittent scrub grass. The prairie and its endless miles of tall grass was somehow gone.
How would he know when they were safe? How could he tell if they were beyond the range of the saurans that would eat them for lunch?
Mary trudged, half asleep. She couldn’t keep going. She fell to her knees with a cry.
Marshall took the few steps needed to be by her side. He lifted her with relative ease, even though she knew he was tired. He hadn’t slept at all, he had to be more than exhausted.
He pointed some where in the distance. “Let’s make it to there, and then we can rest.”
Mary whimpered and clutched at his jacket. She had to be strong for him, herself, for their survival.
Marshall eased her to her feet. “You can do this, it’s not that far.”
She held to his arm, uncertain if he was supporting her, if if she was supporting him. They reached a row of low dark trees. Mary had assumed they marked the banks of a stream, but there were only more rock formations like a scar in the land.
“We should be safe in here.”
“Marshall, won’t the saurans follow us?”
He shook his head as he slid more than walked down into the formations of eroded rock.
Mary scrambled after him, careful to not fall. When they reached the bottom, Marshall sat. “I think this is a fine place to rest.”
Mary looked up at the edge where the land had given way. She turned and in front of her was a labyrinth of towers of rock.
“Are you sure we’ll be safe here?”
Marshall didn’t answer. When she twisted to look back at him, he had tipped his hat over his face. He was already asleep. That was her answer. If Marshall felt safe enough to sleep, she had to accept they were safe enough.
Curling up by his side to nap with him was a very tempting thought. But she had been traveling with him long enough to know that wasn’t an option. She needed to find them some food. But first, a rest wouldn’t be unreasonable.
Mary perched with her back straight. Good posture helped her to stay awake. Her eyes drifted closed. With a jerk, Mary brought herself back to attention.
“Enough of that.” She stood and brushed off her skirts, more out of habit than actually getting any form of dust or dirt off.
“Right.” She propped her hands on her hips and looked at her surrounding, memorizing the spot exactly, so that she could return to Marshall without getting lost.
Marshall had kept them safe last night, it was her turn to now make sure they survived another day, and that meant water and food.
She looked at her walking stick-slash-emergency cudgel that lay discarded on the ground near Marshall’s sleeping form. She picked it up. No need to go about without any kind of protection.
©2023 Lulu M. Sylvian
Tune in next time to find out if Mary locates food and water.
Chapter 27 coming in March.