Lots of ways to open up a new entry. Stupid-ass plan to go wandering in the forest (technically not wandering: someone saw a building and we’re heading for it), stupid-ass plan to not loot the shit out of the mountain of arms and armour (pretty sure the actual defensive stuff weighs more than I do, and the precise amount of weapon skill I have can best be summarized as “Apply sharp bits to contact location. Repeat until dead or running away.”), stupidest-ass plan to do all the above in fucking pyjamas. Not like I had a choice in the matter (I am not doing this naked), so we’ll ignore that and instead open up with the nice optimistic version.
Still haven’t died. Forest hasn’t killed us, beasties haven’t killed us, endless whining from the most entitled babies on the planet hasn’t killed us (Christ and Hunter there’s only four Americans; how can they be so loud? Technically three, I suppose: Baldie’s suspiciously good at silence), although it might kill them if I get too close.
Kid’s still super quiet. Not sure if that’s good or bad. Can’t get a decent emotional read off her face, or any other part of her really. She’s not in nightclothes, more of a “extended day of school, bring sandwiches and a mop” choice of attire. Her windbreaker’s starting to fray along the edges and her socks have more than a couple holes in them, now that I look carefully. Same with the rest of her stuff. Small damages, each easily fixed, but they all kinda add up. Her pants aren’t brown like I originally thought. That’s mud, so caked on as to become a layer of paint. Some of it’s on her jacket, too. These are old deposits. Days, maybe weeks. Maybe we can hold off on the return quest for a bit. Dunk her in the river, pull an Achilles, do some spring cleaning. Mop no longer required. Get a bonus for returning in better condition than originally lost. Towels recommended.
So apparently somebody (or a group of somebodies. I’ve heard names but couldn’t give you faces) spotted a building out in this direction shortly after our arrival in the clearing. How they saw it through this mess of purple, orange, and red I couldn’t tell you, but it got our attention (and by our I mean Baldie) and we (he) decided it’d be a good idea to hoof it an indeterminate distance (it won’t be far) through a colorblind forest (it’s a movie set) while ignoring the animal sounds (wolves don’t attack large groups of people with weapons) and the occasional bluster of chilled, salty wind (cluster up, jackets on the outside).
Right, that’s another thing. The wind’s really cold. Like, really, really cold. A lot colder than makes any kind of sense. This stupid forest has leaves and fur (fur on the fucking trees! Wait, not moss? It’s purple and fuzzy. Is moss fuzzy? It’s growing all over the trees, I actually can’t be sure I’m seeing bark.) but no pines. I think. These might be alien pines, although they look a lot more like alien palms. I’m realizing now my temperature complaint might be premature. I know fuck-all about how to read a climate’s temperature from its inhabitants. Wind’s cold. And salty. Like ocean wind salty, without the ocean. Maybe. Haven’t heard any waves. Eh. Worse case, there’s a frozen salt desert-ocean on the other side of the fur trees. Other side of the fur-est. The fur-est side of the fur-est. Heh. That’s like four (fur!) puns together. I win at life.
Column’s starting to splinter off. We weren’t the best formation to begin with (picture a really fat, wobbly line), and over time people started to catch up-slow down to whatever pace they’re most comfortable with, so we’re now eight or so blobs moving haphazardly in almost-the-same-but-not-quite direction towards the promised four-walls-and-a-roof land. The Kid (now hereby dubbed Quiet until I wrestle a proper name out of her) and I are positioned between three of these groups. One composed of entirely women, between 12 and 30? 40? 50? Can’t guess old people age. They all look the same after a while. Same with kids. They keep glaring at Baldie and any other dude who comes close, so they’re in my good books, but some of those glares do come my way after I politely (but firmly) tell them to fuck off, which I suppose is fair. That’s group one, and they’re on our left.
Group two ahead of us is a bundle of asian kids (Japanese if I had to guess, maybe some Korean and Chinese? Heavily Japanese, that’s for sure) all in matching uniforms. Guys have pants, girls get skirts. Can’t say I’m surprised, Japan. At least the color scheme looks kinda cool, black on dark green. Might all be dark green, actually. More shadows doing freaky shit. I have to turn my head and hold my eyes closed for a few seconds to turn it off, but butterflies are definitely starting to gather in my stomach. My lovely early warning sign of nausea coming home to roost again. Least there aren’t any ants on the kids when the shadows went away.
I’m torn between finding a way to speed it up and trying to hold it back. I kick it forward, maybe that’s the end of it, maybe some animal eats my vomit and likes it so much they track me down to get more. I hold it back, it goes away or comes back up and drags my stomach with it.
Quiet’s staring at me while I wrestle with this, not saying a word. My hands are starting to sweat and a wave of goosebumps hits my neck and migrates down my back. Fuck, it’s a slow build. I can never tell when I pop with them, but it’s guaranteed. I’m not holding this back today.
Entry’s going to have to end here. Much as I don’t really care if I barf all over you, diary, I’m holding you and the pen, which means my hands are directly in the line of fire when I go up. Next entry will probably be after we arrive at our not-a-deathtrap-we-promise house on the hill and definitely after my stomach finishes core breach protocol. Toodles.
In before my first hostile contact is when my vomit turns into a slime and tries to kill me.