Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Heart of (Mainland) Darkness, Part 2

(Continues from here.)

From the Journal of Katherine Melissa Jameson:

The next day I awoke cold and stiff on the floor of the castle. I could see no solution other than to start moving and hope I found civilization. Outside was still cold, but not as much as the day before, and the weak sun felt good on my back as I walked to the north and west, skirting more of the horrid ban lines.

What seemed like several hours later, I saw in the distance what seemed to be railroad tracks. What luck! As long as the tracks were still in use, perhaps I could avoid walking the entire journey! I found a rail car barn that proclaimed it was the Berthould Pass car barn for the Okemo, Nakiska, & Southern Railway. Even better, a train - a sleek, modern car that appeared to glide on the track under its own power - appeared shortly, slowing and stopping briefly at the station. I leapt aboard, throwing the leather satchel into the car ahead of me, just as the train took off again.

I snuggled against the cloth seat and watched the countryside speed by. Snow still covered the ground as we made our way north, first toward the west then veering east again. The train occasionally stopped at a station, but no one else ever boarded. At this rate, I thought, I would be to the center of the continent in no time!

Alas, this was not to be. All too soon the train stopped and powered down. I looked out: the tracks had ended. This was the end of the line . I hopped out of the car and the train powered on again and started its journey south. As for me, I picked up my satchel and started walking again.

Shortly afterward, the road forked. East or west? I chose east, gasping for breath in the thin air as the road rose in altitude. The countryside was largely barren, with a few cottages and even fewer businesses scattered along the roadside.

Another intersection, and again I let my instincts choose the way. Golden heart? I don't think so. And I felt even less like a winner. But night was falling fast and I pushed on. I had sat much of the day, so I was not tired. Oddly, I did not seem to be as cold. No, I wasn't as cold - the air was definitely warmer than it had been, the snow cover thinner and dotted with grass.

Another turn and I found myself on a long bridge suspended above a wide channel of water. "Bridge May be Virtual"? A phrase as close to philosophy as I'm likely to get.

Shortly thereafter, I found a map on the side of the road - owned by Caledon's own Carl Metropolitan! - showing that I was close to my destination. If only I knew what it was.

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