Thursday, November 14, 2013

Day Five-Seventy-Four: Deja New

Oh gods.

I should have paid more attention. I should have listened.

Now he's gone.

This situation is way too familiar.

As with yesterday, the first half of today encompassed efforts to dig the Dauphine out of its fucking rut. Suffice it to say that none of our shitty ideas worked, not even the brilliant ones that came from my wife.

I was standing over a heap of dried mud, trying to chip away at it with a stick, when he came toddling up to me.

"Dah," he announced himself.

I peered over my shoulder. "Hi, Fynn. Where's... ngh, heavy shit... where's your mom? You shouldn't be wandering 'round on your own."

Fynn pointed towards the jungle. "Moos."

I followed his finger. "Moose? You see a moose in there, son?"

He giggled. "Ick. Moos ick."

I scrunched up my face. "Moose ick? Don't play with poo, kiddo, is all I can say. S'bad for your health."

He turned to the jungle, raptly intent, swaying back and forth in that weird, dreamy way kids often do. "Moos ick. Pfffft bah. Gway!"

I blinked a few times, then looked around for Libby. She was busy elsewhere, so I asked the woman with the silly hats to keep an eye on Fynn instead. She led my boy away to play in the river's shallows, and he followed gleefully, prancing about. I kept digging at the mud in the meantime, determined to clear away at least a section of mess from the Dauphine's front wheel.

But I couldn't get Fynn's little phrase out of my head.

Moose ick.

We hadn't seen any mooses in the jungle. They don't live in jungles, I don't think.

Moose ick.





It was around the time I pieced Fynn's message together that the woman with the hats came tearing across the mud at me, apparently not caring that her dress was now soaking wet and covered in gunk. The nobles who came with us are a much hardier breed than they used to be.

"Dragomir! Dragomir!" she cried, arms flailing so wildly that she lost her balance and hit the ground. "My gods, I'm so... pffft, ow... I'm... he's gone, he's GONE!"

I helped her up, the first tendrils of panic attacking my heart. "What? Who's gone, c'mon, who's gone?"

"Fynn!" she wailed. "Fynn, Fynn! I turned around for one second to get a drink of water, and when I turned back he was on the other side of the river! He waved at me, and went into the trees, and, and, and... I tried to follow, but I fell in, and... and he's gone... gods, he kept saying something about moose, I... oh, gods, could he be looking for one -"

I regret to admit that I pushed her back into the mud in my haste to tear after my son. She's a very nice lady. I'll apologize profusely when I next see her...

... but that won't be today. I, and a dozen other people, searched the opposite side of the river for at least four hours. Fynn is gone.

Libby is frantic. She demanded that the entire crew grab torches from the tilted Dauphine and spend the entire night looking for her son. It took a lot of effort on my part to convince her that she, and at least a dozen hands, needed to stay behind and continue work on freeing the Dauphine. We have to get out of here.

But I'm not staying behind.

There are three search parties, each led by a tracker. We're scanning the jungle by sections, spreading out to cover as much ground as possible. Each has instructions to look for Fynn's footprints, track the boy down, and bring him back to the Dauphine. I'm in one of these groups, along with Jeffrey, Ed, Grylock (he's in the lead), and a handful of other crewmembers. Plato, too, because it's his fault we're out here, and I wanna keep an eye on him.

It's nightfall. We've had to stop. The jungle is too dense and too dark for us to continue. It's started to rain, and the rain keeps putting out our torches.




Where the hell are you?

And... if what I think might be happening is happening...

What is this music you're following...?


  1. Hey! Oh my god! I'm a very good babysitter, I swear!

    1. It was a completely random pick between the backgrounders. You drew the short stick without even knowing it. Sorry!

  2. Ha ha! I don't really mind. Nice to see hat lady getting screen time. ;)