Tires squealing, the body of the big truck trying to push past the cab, promising to jack-knife if he didn’t stay in front, Raoul eased up on the brakes and let his rig promise imminent and total destruction.
The electromagnetic buffer kicked in, cushioning the impact but jolting them violently all the same as he collided with the carrier.
What is it about writers? Take them away from their computers, their notepads and pens, isolate them from their work and – whammo – inspiration will hit every time.
It will be urgent. Words will flow with perfection. The writer will turn to their inner blackboards and capture their prose there, only the mental blackboard really is too small and fills up all too quickly. They’ll run through several of those, then turn to other means, other methods, finally resorting to etching words into their arms and/or legs with anything sharp to hand – fingernails, sticks – anything.
Okay, maybe not so stealthy, but he sounded like he was trying to be – With a hole in the tent wall caused by the fire, a hole big enough for a human to enter, I was very aware of our vulnerability to animal intrusion – We were new to the acreage of wilderness in the Top End of Australia, and innocent as yet to the ways of Nature.
I’m an incredibly light sleeper. Tents are noisy, they billow and flap, they also leak rain when a sagging roof allows for a hefty collection of water – and you don’t want to touch it because that lets the water through. Anyhow, the winds had died down and we were both sleeping well. It was the middle of the night and I awoke for some other reason.
Listening in the dark, I soon discovered what had disturbed me and set my inner alarm off. It was a footfall. Someone was being very careful to keep quiet and was very close to the tent. Out here? The nearest neighbor was literally miles away. But it was a footfall. A careful tread in leaves and grass. Right. By. The. Window.
“If you dislike Terrans so much, why choose me? Why not choose a Khekarian or a Chiddran?”
“We have truthseers. While they are excellent in knowing a lie when they hear one, they rarely offer the scope of a good Terran psychic. As we are at war with the Chiddran, I would hardly trust a Chiddran. Most of all, I want someone who is not sophisticated in the art of duplicity. Someone who has no other agenda, no contact, nor want of any, with the manipulators of court intrigue. There are factions out there, some deadly in their dealings, some not. I need people around me I can trust. You will help me with that.”
“No,” Aleisha ventured. “There are better psychics out there, I didn’t come here for you.”
In my last Exciting Adventures in the Wilderness post (“Two Creeks in our Wilderness, Both Annually Drying Up!”), I finished with Greg set fire to the tent – The whole point of a tent was to keep us dry and protected from whatever wildlife might come snooping around at night, insects more than animals, but animals, too – nothing wrong with wanting to sleep soundly and unbitten, especially when you don’t know exactly what might be out there.
The caravan was to provide us with a twin office and a kitchen of sorts. It was there to protect our computers and also to provide a work station where I could write science fiction while acting as Land Manager and Guard Dog over our camp. As we couldn’t run to two caravans, that meant our bedroom had to be elsewhere. A tent it was.
So, we ripped out the bed that had come with the caravan and set it up in our canvas dwelling, a two-room tent, then settled in with great enthusiasm. On the first night, however, Greg set some candles on the tent floor to light our way to bed. A lovely thought, but before we turned in, the wind billowed in the walls and the canvas set on fire.