|Six Sentence Sunday scene
This is the scene I blogged six sentences at a time on Six Sentence Sunday.
He was cold, and aching in every
muscle and far too many bones, including his head ....
Not his head, Amber's. His head merely ached from the aftereffect of the stun
field. Hers had discrete knots of pain, including what felt like the whole left
side of her jaw, and water rippled icily over her outstretched legs. She wasn't
dead, not yet, but if he couldn't urge her to her feet and find something to
build a fire, she'd be dead of hypothermia by morning.
Cold. So cold. One
of the others must have rolled up in all the covers, or she'd rolled away from
them, somehow. Amber reached out, seeking the warmth of other bodies, and found
only sand and rounded pebbles. Driven by an urgency she did not understand, she
managed to roll onto her side and open her eyes to the night.
blazed overhead, waking faint echoes in the river washing over her feet and
legs. No moon to help her see, and no faint lingering of daylight, either.
"Roi?" she called out anxiously. "Timi? Flame? Penny?" Only the soft rush of
the river water answered her.
need to be doing something drove her to hands and knees, and she dragged
herself slowly away from the water. She gained a body length, and then another
before she collided painfully with something sharp-edged, further scraping her
sore jaw and narrowly missing an eye. Her hips collapsed sideways until she was
half sitting, held up only by braced arms. After a moment she managed to rock
back enough to raise one arm and examine the barrier.
she thought hazily. That should mean something. Her hand slid back down toward
the gravel, brushing her heavy climbing belt on the way, her fingers catching
on one of the pouches fastened there. Penny's face came into memory. "You're
going to be short of belt loops, carrying all the anchors," Penny had said, "so
let Timi carry your tracer. But keep the stuff in the emergency pouch with you.
It doesn't weigh that much."
pouch. Fire-making supplies, fishhooks, reflective air blanket. Fire-making
supplies. Driftwood. She could build a fire. Only to do that, she would have to
move, and she was so very tired. So much
easier just to lie down and rest.
sense of urgency intensified, and she groaned and fumbled in the pouch.
Emergency blanket. She worked it out of the pouch and struggled to unfold it,
finally giving up and draping the wet and still half-folded blanket around her
shoulders. Fire-sparker. She dug deeper, and found a handful of the waxy
fuzzballs that would ignite even when sopping wet and burn long enough to start
even green wood burning. And the driftwood, while a bit damp on the river side,
didn't feel soggy.
ran her hand carefully over the gravel, finding a considerable accumulation of
smaller bits of wood and dry twigs in a ragged line parallel to the shore. She
scraped them together in a small pile and put a fuzzball in the middle, then
got out the sparker and began trying to light it. The sparks dazzled her eyes
at first, and it took several tries before she could get a few to fall on the
fuzzball. The soft outer layer went up in a flash that eliminated the remainder
of her night vision. Then the wax caught, and in a few minutes she had enough
of a fire to see the larger mass of driftwood.
wasn't a single dead tree, she saw with relief, but a row of branches a little
higher up the shore than the light stuff she'd scraped together. She reached
for the piece she had bumped into, and dragged it close enough so that she
could put it carefully on top of her little fire, where the flames could lick
at the few dry curls of bark. Once it caught, she dragged half a dozen more
branches back on hands and knees. Finally her sense of urgency eased, and she
shook out the air blanket, wrapped it around herself, and lay down as close as
she dared to the fire.
ached all over, she found once she was no longer moving. For a while she kept reliving
the day—the sudden cutoff of Roi's mental voice, the shock as she struck the
cold river water, and her frantic efforts to protect her head as she was
carried helplessly through the rapids. She could not remember dragging herself
out of the river onto this bar, and she must have lain here for hours. Her hand
rose to touch her aching jaw, and she realized with a start that she was still
wearing the breathing mask that had kept her from drowning as she was carried
downstream. She didn't need it to sleep in, she thought, and pulled it off of
her face. She was half hypnotized by the dancing flames, and very tired.
Gradually her eyes became harder and harder to keep open.
The sun woke her
from a nightmare. She had been somewhere else entirely, cramped into a cage.