Thursday, May 27, 2010

Time Train - Chapter 16

I missed a chapter last week, so I'm thinking of making the story section a biweekly thing, or shorter chapters, or both.

This is a short chapter, but think of it more as an extension of the last, which is saying almost nothing at all since it's a serial.

That night, Rhubarb T. Porterhut, Fibulious, and Columbus dined on a feast of boiled fiddleheads and hard-boiled eggs. The fiddleheads were rather bitter, despite a rather lengthy boiling process. Still, they were tender and offered a sharp contrast to the eggs. As the eggs were rather large, each had an egg all to himself. They were unlike the eggs that Rhubarb had for breakfast; they were much bigger, as much as three or four times bigger. They turned out to be quite rubbery and somewhat unappetizing, but still Rhubarb recognized them as a valuable source of protein, and any well-rounded meal no matter how unappetizing would make the difference between their getting home or their remaining stranded in only heaven knew where.

Fibulious, surprisingly, had no issues in downing his food in a speedy fashion. While Rhubarb and Columbus struggled to eat, his younger companion seemed to relish the meal.

“Now, Columbus, you best not leave any leftovers,” admonished Rhubarb, who could barely hide the discomfort in his face. “You’ll need the sustenance for tomorrow’s endeavors.”

Columbus sighed and disinterestedly lapped at the peeled egg in front of him. It wasn’t simply that eggs were not one of his favorite foods, but it was also far from the steak of which he was dreaming and had been promised when embarking on this adventure. In his doggy mind he tried to imagine the egg was a juicy steak, which worked for a short while until he laid a tongue into it.

When Rhubarb could no longer take another bite of egg, he decided it was a good time to lay down a plan of action.

“For now, we will set up sleeping quarters within the relative safety of the engine cab. It may not roomy, but it will provide more coverage and protection than if we were to lay out here in the open.”

It was true, the clearing they were in offered absolutely no protection, and with darkness already upon them and few resources nearby, their best bet was to take refuge in the train. Rhubarb hoped the sight of the train would be intimidating enough to any passerby, and would perhaps ward them off.

After dinner, Rhubarb collected the remaining uncooked fiddleheads and eggs in Columbus’ sack, and gently placed them in the train. With Fibulious’ help, he gathered ferns to provide bedding for their makeshift beds. The weather was balmy, so there was no need for additional coverings.

Since there wasn’t enough room to lie down, both Rhubarb and Fibulious propped themselves up in opposite corners of the train cab, with Columbus taking up a spot by Fibulious. With all the excitement of the past day, they all fell fast asleep.

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