DeadLife Standstill, Part 4

Author’s Note: Some of these episodes have more dialogue. I’ve opted to use script form to save words and space. Let me know whether it works for the next series.

As the moon was setting, the warrior clan matriarch woke up and threw some fruit and a water jug in a journey sack. She added a blanket and a few cloaks, then settled into the divan to wait for her daughters to wake up.

The girls usually woke up close together. The younger would bound like a chasm lizard while the older meandered lazily like a water beast. The stirring sounds increased.

Matriarch: Dress for a long walk with a cool, damp destination. We’re out for the day.

The girls came out. The younger was layered in about five layers, and the older wore the summer swelter shift she’d gotten for her birthing moon. The matriarch smiled and pondered: Too hot and too cold, never in between.

Matriarch: Hmmm. Make sure what you’re wearing is proper. Neither of you will make it where we’re going. Cool and damp is the target.

Both girls sighed. The younger stomped back to her quarters while the older pounded the wall back to hers. Within a few moments, the older had acquired two layers and the younger lost three.

Older: How long will we be gone? I have temple service tonight.

Younger: Where are we going? Will anyone come with us? Do I have to speak? Can I bring my flute?

Matriarch: I don’t know how long we’ll be gone, and it’s just us. I’m not telling you where we’re going until we get there. I would rather travel in silence and practice stealth moves. So, since this isn’t a minstrel show, the flute stays here.

They headed out the door in silence. They walked through their courtyard and passed the Temple of Peace. The younger one wrinkled her nose and snorted in disgust as they passed the Life Spice stalls on the edge of town.

As they left the town, the blue-eyed warrior clan matriarch scanned the horizon for the familiar peaks that surrounded the lake. She saw the secret entry to a dry season gully that went most of the distance to the lake.

Younger: The lake, mom-mom. Are we going to the lake?

Matriarch: Yes, but I want to go in silence. I want you both to use your eyes. Remember the path and all the sights. Try to learn it so you could do it with your eyes closed and lots of noise. I know you both are very close to knowing the way.

The little family walked on in silence as the sun climbed into the sky. Mentally, the warrior clan matriarch tried to figure out how long it would take a group of kids to run to the lake; the numbers weren’t promising.

They arrived at the lake just as the sun made it to the highest point in the morning sky. The chilly air tumbled down the mountains and across the lake; the water in the lake could make it feel like arrows were hitting your face.

The blue-eyed warrior clan matriarch dropped the journey sack and began to arrange the cloaks in a circle on the ground.

Matriarch: Let’s sit and rest a bit while I prepare our meal.

Originally published at on November 21, 2016.