• Kelly J Massey

Short Story Part 7

I debated lying back and resting my head on my hands, but Nimbus had other ideas.

“We’ve still a few hours of daylight and this canyon seems fair for quite a way. We should press on a bit.” When I didn’t respond right away. He laughed. “Or we could stay. I just thought we should use what daylight we had.”

“No, you’re right. We do have a few hours left and we should use them.” I pulled fresh socks from the saddlebag as it seemed wrong to put the old ones on freshly cleaned feet. After relacing my boots, I stood and stretched, standing on my toes and pointing my fingers up to the sky. My body needed to lengthen again after being dragged down by the saddlebag.

“I can take both saddlebags,” he offered again. I glanced at him considering the prospect. He didn’t seem burdened by the one and yet two would be a pain. “Just for the rest of the day,” he added as he knelt down to pick up mine and slung it over his other shoulder. He grinned. “This canyon feels peaceful, we shouldn’t have to outrun anything.”

“You seem confident in that, but it is a neat place.” I glanced around at the red rock walls that towered over us as protectors—not as prison guards, the green grass and trees that proved to become lusher the farther we moved on, the peaceful blue river rolling its steady course through it all, and the sky starting to turn lavender at the promise of another night coming on. “I don’t know that we have a few hours of daylight since we are stuck in a canyon, but the scenery does get nicer ahead of us.”

Nimbus considered the sky. “All right, well even an hour will get us further ahead in our travels.” He started off and I kept pace beside him as we followed the river’s path the way the trees and plants had followed the river’s path.

In the last rays of sunlight to hit the canyon we found an alcove under a shelf of rock. Someone else had a fire there long before, for the soot still stained the dirt of a bowl hollowed into the ground, but any other evidence of food or firewood used had long since left.

“This seems a good spot. Do you still think the canyon feels peaceful?”

“Yes, I think so,” Nimbus replied setting down the packs. He seemed careful to show that they hadn’t affected him, but carrying twice the weight at the end of the day had to have some impact. Or maybe I was looking for something that wasn’t there. That’s likely true. Something. What did he mean by that?




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