Writing Exercises

Silver Pod Part 6: Thorns

Link to part 1

Link to part 5

Beryl’s body hurt as it was designed to hurt. It ached and chafed. It itched and inflamed. The bitter morning air chilled Beryl’s fingers, ears, and nose even as the crevices of his flabby body oozed with sweat from exertion.

It didn’t help that Fife wasn’t even breathing hard. He had one arm across her back, hand on her opposite shoulder for support. She had one arm under both of his, taking some of his weight off his bad leg. Taking rather a lot of his weight, he reflected.

“You could at least have the good grace to complain,” he muttered.

“Huh? About what?” she asked, “Helping you walk?”

“No, about my boundless energy and optimistic demeanor,” he replied.

“I understand sarcasm,” she said plainly. “I’ll help you walk. That’s the deal.”

“Doesn’t mean you have to like it,” he said. “At least one of us ought to feel put upon.”

Fife shrugged. “If you say so.”

Fife strode confidently. Beryl breathed heavily and cursed when breath allowed. His right foot dragged and the toes of his shoe kept catching in snarls of grass. When they finally reached the crest of the hill, Fife took a deep breath of the morning air, exhaled with gusto, and said, “Not far now.”

“Not now. Far.” Beryl lowered himself to the ground. His knees popped. He put his hand down and was rewarded with a plant’s thorny seeds stabbing his palm.

Fife folded elegantly into a cross-legged seated position. “I was getting excited. It speeds me up,” she explained.

He said, “Naturally. I understand completely. Nothing like fresh wreckage to get the blood flowing.”

“I’m glad you understand,” Fife said.

“I understand sarcasm too.” Beryl plucked a thorn from his palm, cast it aside.

They sat in silence for a bit. Dark purple sky retreated out across the ocean. Hunched giants brooded in the starport to the south. The wrecked ship, a massive artificial hill, had added itself to the green slopes rolling away to the north west. Beryl’s eyes fixed on the starport.

“Why don’t we skip the wreck and head for the starport?” He tried to make the suggestion sound casual. “There will be plenty of starships there for you to investigate.”

Fife grinned like she knew a secret. Beryl didn’t like that grin. “No thanks,” she said.

“Why not? Not enough chance of hundred-eyed tentacle monsters for you to fight on some antique starship?”

She shook her head. “Not that. Because those ships in the port didn’t fall right in front of us. That one did.” She pointed at the semi-collapsed starship with its scaled hulled and drooping, broken antennae. “It’s part of our story.”

Beryl rolled his eyes. “Oh, I see. It’s obvious. How could I be so blind to destiny?”

“You can wait here while I investigate if you like,” Fife suggested. “I should be back by evening.”

Beryl’s fingers found the stem of a plant he suspected of having shed the thorny seeds. He yanked it. The plant broke at the base, roots holding fast to the earth. It would live. Beryl felt angry that the plant had resisted his will, yet he recognized himself in it. He was broken, yet desired to live. Perhaps like the plant, he didn’t know why. He asked himself if he was still pursuing revenge. That motive didn’t excite any emotion in him. What was it then?

“HelloOoo,” said Fife, waving a hand in front of him. “Earth to Beryl.”

“No.” Beryl snapped out of his thoughts. “I don’t want to wait here. I’m going with you.”

Link to part 7


2 thoughts on “Silver Pod Part 6: Thorns”

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