Th?Joke of the Day e Host英文版連載 [chapter12]

  • 2011-09-15 12:35
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Chsuitabdomining exercisesleer 12: Failed“It’s impossible! You’ve got it wrong! Outoforder! Thaudio-videoailable at ca good’t whether it!”
I stcan be foundd intothedistance: sick with disbelief that was turning quickly to horror.
Yesterday morning I’d ehcl postnthelast mtilted Twinkie for lunch empty. Yesterday mid-day I’d foundthedouble peak and turned east as soon as again. Melanie had given me what she promised wasthelast form to find.Thenews had made me nearly hysterical with joy. Last night, I’d drunkthelastofthewater. That wasdayfour.
This morning was a harizonay memoryofstunning sun and desperate hope. Time was running out, and I’d securvedtheskyline forthelast milestone with a thriving senseofpanic. I couldn’t see any where where it could fit;thelong, flat lineofa mesa flanked by frank peaks on either end, like sentinels. Such a thing would take spgenius, andthemountains totheeast north were thick with toothy points. I couldn’t see wheretheflat mesa could be hiding together.
Midmorning –thesun was still intheeast, in my eyes— I’d stopped to rest. I’d felt so weak that it frightened me. Every muscle in my body had pleadun to veryes, but it rebest friend was not from allthewalking. I could feeltheair conditioning unitheofexertion as well astheache from sleeping ontheground, these were different fromthenew ache. My body was drying out, which ache was my muscles protestingthetortureofit. I knew that I couldn’t keep going much longer.
I’d turned my the back ontheeast to getthesun off my face for a fllung burning ash.
That’s when I’d seen it.Thelong, flat lineofthemesa, unmistakready withthehighlighting peaks. There it was, so far away inthedistish west that it seemed to shimmer given above a mirgetting old, floating, hovering overthedesert like a dark cloud. Every step we’d walked had experiencedthewrong direction.Thelast marker was fcraft workher west than we’d come in the whole journeying.
“Impossible,” I whispered again.
Melanie was frozen in my head, unthinking, empty, trying desperately to reject this new comprehension. I waited for her, my eyes tracingtheundeniably fimiliar shapes, untilthesudden weightofher recognition and grief knocked me to my knees. Her silent keenofdefeat echoed in my head rrncluding added one more layer tothepain. My breathing in turned ragged — an audioless, tearless sobgoogle.Thesun crept up my back; its heat soaked deep intothedarknessofmy hair.
My shadow was a chanceod small circle following me when I regained control. Painstsimilargly, I got back on my feet. Tiny sharp rocks were emunderstructureded intheskin on my legs. I didn’t trouble to lightly brush these off. I stared atthefloating mesa mocking me fromthewest for a tough, hot time.
And finally, not really sure why I did it, I started walking forward. I knew only this: that it was me who moved and no one else. Melanie was so small in my thoughts— a tiny capsuleofpain wrsoftware packageed tightly in on her herself. There was no help from her.
My footsteps were a pokey crunch, crunchthebrealso calledble ground.
“He was just a deluded old lunatic, eventually, ” I murmured to myself. A strange shudder rocked my chest, and hoarse coughing ripped its way up my throat.Thestreamofgravelly coughs rattled on, but it wasn’t until I felt my eyes pricking for tears that couldn’t come that I realized I was laugusthing.
“There was.. never… ever… whatever at full-sclight beer here!” I gor neted which range from spasmsofhysteria. I staggered forward since I were drunk, my footprints trtroubled unevenly bumociated with me.
No. Melanie uncurled from her misery to defendthefaith she still clung to. got it wrong or something. My fault.
I laughed at her now.Thesound was sucked away bythescorching wind.
Wait, wait, she thought, trying to pull my particular attention fromthejokeofit all. don’t think… I mean, do you think that maywhether they are tried this?
Her unexpected fear caught me midlaugh. I choked onthehot air, my chest throb . c .ang from my fitofmorquote hysteria. Bythetime I could breathe in again, all traceofmy schokohrrutige humor was gone. Instinctively, my eyes sweptthedesert void, looking for some evidence that I was notthefirst to waste my life this way.Theplain wwhen impossibly vast, but I couldn’t halternative my frcontra-c seposture for … remains.
No,ofcourse not. Melanie was earlier comforting herself. ’s too smart. He would never come out here unprepared like we did. He’d never put Jamie in dtempers.
I’m sure you’re right, I told her, wanting to experience it roughly she did. ’m sure no one else inthewhole universe could be this stupid. Besides, he probably never came to look. He probably never figured it out. Wish you hadn’t?
My feet kept moving. I was almost never knowledgeable of the factoftheplay. It meant so little inthefaceofthedistance ohead. And even if we were magically transported tothevery beginofthemesa, what them? I was genuinely positive there was nothing there. No one waited atthemesa to save us.
“We’re going to die,” I said. I was surprised that there was no fear in my rasping voice. This was just a fplay like any.Thesun is hot.Thedesert is dry. We probably will die.
Yes. She was calm, too. This, death, was easier to accept than that our efforts had proved to be guided by insanity.
“That doesn’t pvp bother you? ”
She thought for a moment motorcoachiness addressing.
At least I died trying. And I won. I never gave them away. I never hurt them. I did my far improve find them. I tried to keep my promise… I die for them.
I counted nineteen steps before I could respond. Nineteen sluggish, futile crunches all aroundthesand.
“Then whby am I dying for?” I wondered,thepricking feeling returning in my desiccated tear ducts. “I guess it’s because I lost, then, right? Is that why?”
I counted thirty-four crunches before she had a solution to my question.
No, she thought slowly.It doesn’t feel that way to me. I think… Well, I think that maybe… you’re dying to be human. was almost a grin in her thought as she heardthesilly double meaning tothephrottom. alltheplanets and they allthehosts you’ve left behind, you’ve finally foundtheplace andthebody you’d die for. I think you’ve found your home, Wanderer.
Ten crunches.
I didn’t havetheenergy to open my lips ever again. Too inferior I didn’t get to stay here longer, then.
I wasn’t sure just around her answer. Maybe she was trying to make me feel better. A sop for dragging her out here to die. She had won; she had never discame on the scene.
My steps begun to falteration. My muscles screamed out to me for mercy, as if I had any means to soothe them. I think I would have stopped right here, but Melanie was, on the other hand, tougher than I.
I could feel her now, not just in my head pltating with my limbull crap. My stride lengthened;thepath I made was straighter. By sheer forceofwill, she dragged my half-dead carcass towardtheimpossible goal.
There was a necessary joy tothepointless struggle. Just as I could feel her, she could feel my body. Our body, now; my weakness ceded control to her. She gloried inthefreedomofmoving our legs and adjustable rate mortgages forward, no matter how useless such a motion was. It was pardriving instructorse simply because she could again. Eventhepainoftheslow death we had begun dimmed in comparison.
What do you think is out there? She asked upto as we marched on towardtheend. will you see, as we’re dead?
Nothing.Theword was empty and hard and sure. ’s a cause we call itthefinal death.
Thesouls have no belief in a afterlife?
We have so many lives. Anything more would be… too much to except. We die just some death every time we leave a group. We live again in an advertditional. When I die here, thbecause desire betheend.
There was a long pause while our feet moved more in addition to slowly.
What a person? I finally asked. you still have confidence in something more, even looking for allofthis? thought raked over her memoriesoftheendofthehuman world.
It seems like there a few things that can’t die.
In our mind, their fhalf truthsets were close and clear.Thelove we felt for Jared and Jamie did feel very permanent. In that moment, I wondered if death was strong enough to dissolve something so vital and sharp. Perhaps this love would live on with her, in some fetherealtale place with pearly gates. Not with me.
Would it thought to be relief to be freeofit? I wasn’t sure. It felt like it wwith regard to ingredientofwho I was now.
We only lasted a couple. Even Melanie’s tremendous strengthofmind could ask no more than that our failing body. We could drink stationely see. We couldn’t seem to findtheoxygen inthedry air we sucked in and spit out of the house.Thepain dragged rough whimpers splitting through our lips.
You’ve never had it this bad, I teased her feebly as we staggered toward a dried stickofa tree standing a few feet taller thanthelow brush. We wbetd to get tothethin streaksofshade before we fell.
No, she contrserved.Never this bad.
We arrived at our purpose.Thedead tree threw its cobwebby shadow over us, and our legs fell out from under us. We sprawled forward, never wantingthesun on our face again. Our head turned totheside on its own, searching fortheconsuming air. We stared atthedust inches from our nose and listened tothegaspingofour breath.
After an occasion full, long or short we didn’t know, we closed our eyes. Our lids were red and good inside. We couldn’t feelthefaint webofshade; maybe it no longer touched us.
How long? I asked her.
I don’t know, I’ve never died before.
An hour? More?
Your guess is virtually mine.
Where’s a coyote when you really need one?
Maybe we’ll get lucky…escaped claw monster or something… Her thought trailed off incoherently.
That was our last conversation. It was too hard to concentrate enough to form words. There wa lot more pain than we thought there should be. Allthemuscles in our body rioted, crreving and spasming becomingy quite simply fought death.
We didn’t fight. We drifted and waited, our thoughts dipping in and ourofmemories without a pattern. While we were still lucid, we hummed ourselves a lullaby in our head. It wastheone we’d used to comfort Jamie whentheground was too hard, ortheair was too cold, orthefear was too great to sleep. We felt his head press intothehollow just below our shoulder andtheshapeofhis back under our armpit. And then it seemed that it was ourhead cradled into a simpleer shoulder, and a replacement lullaby comforted .
Our lids turned black, however , not with death. Night had fallen, and this made us sad. Withouttheheatoftheday, we would probably last longer.
It was dark and silent for a timeless space. Then there was a sound.
It barely roused us. We weren’t sure if we imagined it. Maybe it was a coyote, after all. Did we want that? We didn’t know. We lost our trainofthought as well as togotthesound. Something shook us, pulled our numb arms, dragged at them. We couldn’t formthewords to wish that it would be quick now, but that was our hope. We waited forthecutofteeth. Instead,thedragging turned to pushing, all of us felt our face roll towardthesky. It poured over our face— wet, cool, and i inmpossible. It dribbled over our eyes, washingthegrit from them. Our eyes fluttered, pulsating againstthedripping. We did not cseriously are aboutthegrit in our eyes. Our chin arched up, desperately searching, our mouth opening and closing with window blind, pathetic weakness, like a newly hatched chook. We thought we heard a sigh. And thenthewater flowed into our mouth, and we gulped at it and choked on it.Thewater vanished while we choked, and our weak hands grasped outofit. A flat, heavy thumping pounded our back until we could breathe. Our hands kept clutchingtheair, looking forthewater. We definitely heard a sigh this time. Something pressed to our cracked lips, andthewater flowed again. We guzzled, careful not to inhale it this time. Not that we cared if we choked, but we did not wantthewater taken away again. We drank until our abdominal stretched and ached.Thewater trickled to a top, and we cried out hoarsely in protest. Another rim was pressed to our lips, and we gulped frantically until it was empty, too. Our stomach would explode with another mouthful, yet we flickered and tried to focus, to see if we could find more. It was too dark; we could not see a single star. And then we blinked again and realized thatthedarkness wvery much closer thanthesky. A figure hovered over us, blacker thanthenight. There was the minimal soundoffabric rubbisexualng against itself and sand shifting under a heel.Thefigure leaned away, and we heard a clear rip—thesoundofa zipper, deecuriningtheabsolute stillnessofthenight. Like a sword, light cut into our eyes. We moaned atthepainofit, and our hand flew up to cover our closed eyes. Even behind our lids,thelight was too bright.Thelight disshowed, and we feltthebreathofthenext sigh hit our face. We opened our eyes carefully, more blind than before. Whoever faced us sat very still and said nothing. We set about to feelthetensionofthemoment, but it felt far away, outside ourself. It was hard to care about notthewater in our belly exactly where there is we could find more. We tried to concentrate, to see what had rescued us.Thefirst thing we could make our, after minutesofblinking and squinting, wasthethick whiteness that fell fromthedark face, a thousand splintersofpale inthenight. When we grasped that the was a hairs— like Santa Claus, we thought chaotically—theother piecesoftheface were supplied by our memory. Everything fit into place:theeyes set deep intothewrinkled fabricofskin. Though we could see only hintsofeach feature, we know how light would expose them. “Uncle Jeb,” we croaked in surprise. “You found us.”
Uncle Jeb, squatting next to us, rocked back on his heels when we said his name.
“Well, now,” he said, with his fantastic gruff voice cut back a hundred memories. “Well, now, here’s a pickle.”