Just a quick post today to tell you that we have a new story up. Still Waters Run Deep: Part 3 is the latest installment of a fantasy serial by Siri Paulson (me!). It's set in a quasi-Thailand and follows a pedlar who's been wandering the jungle waterways for many years, selling charms from village to village...but something magical has gone very wrong in the city, and he can't hide from his past any longer.
We'll be back with a proper blog post next week. Stay tuned!
The overhanging jungle ahead of Payut's little boat parted, and he saw the Tao Phree River swallow the stream that bore him. His hands trembled on the paddle. Every element in his body cried out for him to turn upstream, away from the city. Even fighting the current would be better, easier.
But there was no-one else to do what needed doing.
His boat reached the river. He clenched his hands, raised the paddle, and swung the boat's nose downstream.
The current swept him along, too fast, towards the golden spires of the Grand Temple that rose in the distance. A raft loomed up ahead, a whole family huddled on it – father, mother, children, two or three grandparents, several of them with poles out, pushing the whole rickety contraption against the river's pull. Payut leaned hard on his paddle and barely missed them. He saw their faces, watching as he swept by.
"Not safe!" the father shouted.
Payut thought at first that he meant the near-miss, but then the other man waved, pointed, and Payut understood. The city.
He couldn't explain that he knew. Couldn't explain the mix of emotions and needs that roiled in him. So he only called "Thanks!" and turned away from the faces.
Ahead, the Grand Temple vanished again as the river curved. The dense green wall of the jungle was broken by a dead tree, then another and another. Payut's boat slowed as the river grew sluggish and wide. The water felt too thick, resisting his paddle. On either side, the banks were full of massive dead trees, their branches stretching high, skeletal, above lower, denser vegetation whose leaves drooped, sickly green. It couldn't have been like this before.
It hadn't been like this before.
For thirteen years I've driven a car of advancing age. Last month I upgraded from an '88 Corolla to an '07. It's made a dramatic difference in my life. Suddenly I'm willing to take my daughter to her friend's house. I'm even willing to pick her up. I'm doing that park-at-the-far-end-of-the-parking-lot-and-walk thing. And I'm getting lost.
Not very lost, sadly. I still have those darn responsibilities. So maybe it takes me ten minutes longer than usual to get home from work. And maybe I've started mapping out the less-trafficked streets around me so I can do more driving and less stopping. I still don't wander off for very long. One day soon, though...