Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Scout's Law - Chapter 23

< Chapter 22                                                                                                 Chapter 24 >
The weather control machine whips up another windstorm, catching our hero out in the open at the top of a mountain.

The wind pushed against Jade and me like a giant hand, driving us backward. Sand and grit scoured every inch of exposed skin, opening dozens of scrapes. Small rocks hit all over our bodies, their jagged edges opening larger cuts which soon filled with dust and dirt.

Jade’s arms suddenly flailed as the wall of air pushed her off balance. I caught her around the waist and pulled her to my side. I spun the two of us around so the worst of the wind struck our backs then put my mouth to Jade’s ear.

“Stay low, keep your back to the wind, and don’t let go of me.” I couldn’t even hear my own shout over the wind, but Jade nodded her head. “Can you see any kind of shelter where we can hole up?”

In the dark and with all of the junk swirling in the air around us, I had little hope of finding any kind of cover—and I was partially right. I found myself putting what little energy I had left into keeping the wind from blowing Jade and me off the top of the mountain. But Jade, better rested and with younger eyes than mine, spotted something. Her arm shot out pointing to our right. I couldn’t see anything that way, but I lowered my shoulders and shoved my way through the strengthening wind in the direction Jade pointed.

After fighting my way across the longest ten feet of ground I’d ever crossed, we came upon a boulder leaning against a sheer part of the mountainside. Jade pointed down and I saw there was a space between the boulder and the little cliff face. Kneeling, I all but pushed Jade into the crevice then rolled in after her. The wind and the dust still assailed my back, but my body shielded Jade from the worst of the storm and we could breathe freely.

The girl’s face was right in front of mine, but I could barely see it. I felt her body trembling though I couldn’t tell whether that was from the exertion, fear, or cold.

“Are you all right, Jade?”

She started at the sound of my voice and must have turned to face me. I felt short, shallow breath on my cheek. I pulled the girl close to me, offering the comfort of human contact. Her body was stiff as a board.

“Slow your breathing down, Jade. You’ll feel better if you take long, deep breaths.”

Gradually, the girl’s breathing slowed and her body relaxed. Outside, the wind still howled, grit still got inside my shirt, and stones still smacked into my back. Inside, we had a small pocket of calm which slowly soothed Jade’s nerves. After a few minutes, she turned her head and pressed it against my chest.

“I thought this would be more,” Jade paused for a couple of seconds. “I guess romantic is the right word.”

“Real adventures aren’t romantic, Jade. Mostly, they’re uncomfortable and terrifying.”

“Um, yeah. That’s what I meant.”

Callan says I’m pretty dense when it comes to figuring out members of the opposite sex. I say that just means I’m no different than any other man. But for once, I actually put two and two together and figured out what Jade was talking about.

“You’re not talking about adventures, are you? At least, not just adventures.”

“I, uh, don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“That’s probably because I’m entirely wrong about something,” I said.

Jade was quiet for about a minute before she said, “You’re not wrong. I was talking about being rescued by you.”

“We can pretend I was wrong anyway,” I replied, “if you’d prefer that.”

Jade gave a long sigh. “No. Besides, being rescued by someone like you is just a silly little girl’s dream. It’s time I grew up.”

“First, you rescued me by saving me from fighting those trogs. I just helped you get out of the wind. Second, your dreams may change form as you get older, but that doesn’t mean you have to abandon them.”


“There’s a part of my story that isn’t in any of the books or vids or songs people keep creating about me.” I smiled though Jade couldn’t see it. “I guess you could call the story David Rice and the Search for the Spacebabe.”

Jade listened attentively and snickered in all the right places as I told her of my lifelong dream of finding adventure among the stars and how the dream evolved into finding my soulmate. When I wrapped up the story, she sighed and said, “That is so romantic and sweet and pretty much impossible for us normal people.”

“Nothing in life is impossible, Jade. Believe in your dreams and they’ll come true in ways you could never imagine or predict.” I broke off for a huge yawn. “And now I really need to get some sleep.”

With the wind still lashing my back, I dropped into a deep and desperately needed sleep.

What will our hero find when the storm abates and he wakes up? Find out in Chapter 24, coming Friday!