“thanks, anonymous,” i muttered under my breath.

someone placed a rock in my hand just before i fell face first into a puddle filled with used bone chargers. my batteries not yet empty remained unharmed and my bones upon inspection had a sixty day charge courtesy of a faulty liver cell.

it’s wednesday and us nether folks are roaming about in search of the next bridge. the high gatherers are crossing now, talking too loudly to hear our boots scrambling below in the weeds.

oliver is on my left, hand over his mouth to hide the wheezing. he has thirty days left. i met oliver at the ranch at a time when men still rode horses and kept cattle as crops. we hit it off immediately, each of us experts at bone carving. he was like a brother to me and in thirty days he’d be someone else.

vegas is on my right and the best we can hope for is that he’ll make it till friday, when the gatherers stop to eat one others innards. it takes ’em two days to regenerate, enough time for us to crawl along the rain pipes to reach eniwa. vegas is oliver’s marrow donor but he’s given all he can and in just a short bit he’ll be someone else too.

eniwa will probably take forty-five days to get to and if i make it i’ll be making it alone, just me and this god-damned unexplainable rock.