Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Four (Continued)

Harley hadn't planned for them to spend an extra day at the lake, but common decency demanded a burial and he detailed as many of the young people as could be spared to dig a trench.

They dragged the bodies in, shoveled dirt over them and Amalia read a few words from her Bible and led them in a prayer. A few of the girls scattered pine branches and wildflowers over the heaped earth and Diana, under scratched "Requiescat in Pace" into the bark of a tree with her knife. Then they went back to their campsite, where everyone waded into the lake to wash off the dirt and scent of death.

Boeing and Aguilero caught some fish for dinner and Diana, Sachi and Dell found some mushrooms and wild onions. It was a subdued feast, and while they ate, Harley outlined their plans. "I want us on the road as soon as there's enough light to see by. We'll be stopping only for the animals' needs. Carry food and water with you, and if you fall behind, catch up. It's critical we make the mine at Choate tomorrow." He turned to Aguilero and Coyote. "I want you two to stay near the rear. If anyone has to stop, I expect one of you to stop, too, and guide them back to the rest of the party. Understood?"

The young men nodded.

"We won't have time to help make camp at Choate. Those of us who are going on will have to leave first thing the next morning if we're going to make the San Eusebio conference and the Salado election in time." He looked at their horse trainer, who sat twining a piece of his grizzled beard around a finger. "Galileo, I'm counting on you to keep your people at Choate busy setting up camp and posting watches." He turned back to Coyote. "And if you sense anything else weird out there..."

"Keep it to myself?"

"If it's not a danger."

"Yeah, okay. But it's not like I can turn it off, you know."

"Just do your best. And don't blow up any trains unless we tell you to."

1 comment:

Alice Audrey said...

LOL, I love that last line.