Nov. 11th, 2005

mistersmith_tm: (i walk a lonely road)
He stood on the quay, his expression uncertain. The water was gun metal gray, making it hard to tell where the horizon ended and the overcast sky began. The last time he'd seen water that color, he'd been falling . . .

"Well? You comin?," demanded the ferryman, meaty fists planted firmly on his hips.

Mister Smith continued to look out across the water, unaware that his fingers were fiercely gripping the strap of his knapsack as if it were a lifeline.

"Ya listenin'? I ain't got all day!"

He nodded, acknowledging the boatman's impatience but making no effort to move forward.

The ferryman cursed under his breath, then snapped, "Do ya wanna get to High Tower or not?"

"I do. But . . ."

"But what?"

"I can't swim."

The cry of a gull soaring overhead sounded like derisive laughter. It was surprisingly familiar. Not the gull, but the laughter.

"I've changed my mind," said Mister Smith, and took a step backward. A step closer to dry land.

"Yeah?" The ferryman threw a nod over his shoulder, toward the tall outline in the distance. "How the hell ya gonna get over there if not by boat? And if it's the price you're scoffin' at, none of the rest of these sots are gonna give ya any better than me."

"Thanks. I'll walk."

"Walk? Around this? You're talking going more 'n 80 miles around instead of straight across! It'll take ya days!"

"Almost three and a half days. Maybe four."

"So why walk when you can ride?"

Mister Smith glanced once more at the steely water and shuddered. "Because you can't drown in the woods."

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