5 Ways to Canoe Upriver while Questioning Everything
Glig and Mahani sat in a stolen clinker-built canoe, watching the sunrise seep over the water.
The escape had worked. When the door flew in and the mob saw the place empty and the sewer drain uncovered, they’d headed straight to the town’s outfall, hoping to catch Glig and Mahani as they spilled out into the river. (As some final insurance, Mahani had unlatched the basket of snakes before hiding beside Glig, so anyone who might have wanted to search or loot the place was discouraged by the five hissing ceruleans slithering over the furniture.)
Then, once it was quiet, Mahani and Glig slipped out of the trunk, collected their things, and ran out of town in the opposite direction. Glig didn’t know where they were going, how or when Mahani was planning on getting him back home, why she was helping him at all, or why these villagers wanted to kill him so badly, but he just kept running anyways.
One problem at a time, and running was a big one.
His small legs, broad shoulders, and general dad-body did not exactly make Glig fleet of foot. Mahani had tried to steal them a horse (things like snake charming and horse whispering seemed to come naturally to her) but when the young mare saw Glig, it spooked so hard that half its mane fell out in large clumps, and Mahani had decided maybe the river was their best bet after all.
Neither of them had much experience with boating, but together they managed to piece together enough expertise to make some distance before morning. Canoeing upriver was not as impossible as it seemed like it would be, but it took maneuvering from bank to bank, paddling hard, poling themselves through difficult rapids, and even getting out at some spots and pulling the canoe with a rope, or carrying it over their heads, something Mahani said was called “portaging”.
By morning, they were exhausted. Glig paddled them over to a still spot he had found near the bank. He was learning to read the water pretty well, and thought this would be a good place to rest. Mahani brought out smoked fish, sour jam, and a jar of cold porridge from her bag, then divided it between them. They ate their breakfast together on the river, and Mahani tried to answer some of Glig’s questions.
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