With no end in sight, I though this story could benefit from a little organizing. In addition to jotting down some thoughts for future entries, I thought it would be worth-while to include a map. The map itself isn’t anything fancy but it helps me to have something to glance at as I progress the story / journey. As usual, this story is posted without editing and it rather raw.
The Creeper – Chapter 4
Tom was awoken by a splash of lukewarm water. “Wake up, you fainted from the heat. I need you to drink as much water as you can get down. After you’ve had your fill, I want you to bathe and try to get some rest. ”
Tom found himself seated against Karn’s cabin. The rough wooden planks that made up the outside of the structure were digging into his back. As he tried to rise, a wave of pain and nausea overtook him. His eyes burned and his head thumped with every beat of his heart. Before he could fall face first into the dirt, Karn wrapped an arm around him and hauled him to his feet.
“Come, I’ll help you into the cabin. “
“My head is pounding and I feel like I’m going to throw up”
“Steady yourself, you’ve nothing in your stomach to throw up. What did you expect?”
“What did I expect?”
“Yes, what did you expect? You fainted back in the grasses and I had to carry you this far. Your body ran out of water, I’m sure you know the signs of dehydration.”
Karn shouldered open the wooden door and it creaked loudly on worn hinges. The windows were covered with hand crafted drapes made of a crude hide, making the room surprisingly dark for this time of day. The floor was nothing more than dirt. It crunched slightly with each step towards the bed.
What Tom knew of a cabin would have been grand, this place was little more than a one room hut. At the far end was a small stone hearth for cooking. In the center of the room there rested an old wooden table and two chairs. Both looked far older than Tom and showed significant wear.
The bed was no more than a few feet inside the front door, along a side wall. As the pair made their way across the small room, they continued their conversation.
“No, I just know that my head was pounding and I stopped sweating all of a sudden”
“You should have told me. When you stop sweating in this kind of heat your life can quickly become in danger”
“You’ve nothing to be sorry about. It was your life that was in danger, not mine. Learn from this unpleasant experience. I may have been pushing you back there but you should have had the sense to speak up before you collapsed.”
Karn helped the boy situate himself on the bed and went to the wooden table to retrieve a mug and carafe. As he strolled back to the bed, Zeus thudded into the partially closed front door, crossed the room and plopped down onto a pallet at the foot of the bed. The sudden motion stirred another dog that went unnoticed.
The small back dog lazily got to its feet and let out a squeaky yawn as it stretched. Once the dog was satisfied, it padded off of the pallet and scanned the room. Immediately upon laying eyes on Tom its short tail began wagging violently before it broke into a run towards the bed. Faster than Tom had ever seen the pup move, it leaped up into the boys lap and began licking his face.
“I had a feeling she belonged to you”. Karn smiled as he filled the mug with water. “Here, drink this down.”
“I thought Bella was lost forever”
“Bella, I like that name. I’ve taken to just calling her Pup for the time being. I found her in the Water Basin, same place I found you, the day before yesterday.”
Tom set the clay mug to his lips and began to pour the room temperature water into his mouth. It tasted terrible but it felt invigorating as it splashed against his dry tongue. His first mug of water was quickly followed by a second., then a third before the carafe was empty.
Karn paced across the small room to retrieve a bucket that was resting beside the hearth. With it he refilled the carafe and placed it on the table.
“There is more water if you like it but I’m going to have to get more from the well for dinner. I shouldn’t be gone more than a couple of hours. Drink some more water then scrub yourself clean in the tub out back. Once you are clean, get some rest. I‘ll wake you when dinner is ready”
“Where are you going?” There was fear in Tom’s voice. It was very apparent that he did not like the idea of being left alone in a strange cabin.
“I’m going to get us some more water. It will take me a couple of hours to hike there and back. You have nothing to fear, Zeus will be here with you” Karn made a motion with his head towards the snoring animal.
“Remember, bathe before you sleep. I don’t want my bed stinking like a dirty, sweaty child.” Karn smiled at the boy to ease his words but the look in his eye informed him that it was no joke. Before Tom could ask him any further questions, Karn strode out the door and firmly closed it behind him. The room grew suddenly darker and Tom’s heart began to beat faster as reality began to set it. In an attempt to comfort the boy, Bella curled up in his lap and began licking his trembling hands.
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