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Geez! I’m so far behind I lost the link for the post from The Daily Prompt that said to grab the book nearest you, turn to page 82, and use the first sentence from the third paragraph in a post. Oh well. Here’s my version of it anyway…

FOUND IT! The Daily Prompt

Connect the Dots: Open your nearest book to page 82. Take the third full sentence on the page, and work it into a post somehow.

The sentence is: “The men slept till eight that night and were on the trail an hour later.”

*****

Celtic image 2

Chellemas lay on the hard ground wrapped tightly in his cape, his mat a bed of crunchy fallen leaves and twigs, his pack the pillow for his head. The ground was not overly cold. It was still the middle of September and the earth yet held some warmth. He should have been sleeping like the others. They were used to dropping where they stood and falling quickly into slumber. Not him. He’d lain awake the whole four hours they’d taken their rest.

He tried to breathe as quietly as possible so they’d not know he was awake, but his awareness of his own breath made his breathing ragged and uneven. Here and there some men still snored, purring like oversized kittens. Others were stirring, rolling out of their capes, snorting like horses that needed tending. At some distance Chellemas could hear the quiet murmur of conversation as old Phineas the cook and his boy fussed over the makeshift meal before they all moved on.

Chellemas gazed at the few still-green tree branches where they met overhead like lovers’ arm entwined. The moon was almost straight up, and its pale yellow light cast lacy shimmering patterns over everything hiding beneath the cover of the forest.

The sweet smoke wafted its way through the bare, clean tree trunks and found him where he lay. The smell of bacon beckoned him to the campfire. His stomach rumbled. Rising, he straightened his cloak and stretched. Every bit of his body hurt. This was his first time raiding with the men. Not yet a man, he was the youngest and felt awkward and uncertain. More than that, at 13 years he didn’t feel like he belonged here. If only his da hadn’t insisted he come along. His first time could have waited. He thought about his younger brother and sister going off to the village school without him in the morning. It made him angry. Chellemas wasn’t like his da. He was his ma’s son. Gentle, with a foresight that men usually lack. He wished only to study and learn.

The night animals were beginning to wake now. Crickets, mice, foxes… You could still hear the chatter of squirrels above as they made their way from tree to tree settling in for the night. No doubt they warned each other of the manlings present in their forest.

Chellemas hefted his pack, slung it over his shoulder, and made his way to the fire. Phineas handed him a small slab of bacon. It was hot, salty and crisp. Sustaining food. He accepted a hunk of break and a cup of coffee to dip it in and found a rock to sit on . . . far away from his da and the others. If the old man noticed, he said nothing. There would come a time of reckoning about this, but not today. His only job today was to stay alive. And his lessons were only beginning.

The men slept till eight that night and were on the trail an hour later. Chellemas wondered what his da would say when the lack of sleep caught up with him. He could feel his ears being boxed already!

*****

The book happened to be one his lordship was reading, Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage. It’s ACTUALLY about Sir Ernest Shackleton and his crew that set out to cross the Antarctic overland and how their ship, the Endurance, was trapped and crushed in the ice still half a continent away from the intended base of operations. Great book!