science fiction logo by Victoria G.

Gendering

Chapter 2

Escape

 

Her legs are full of scratches. Blue bottle flies are feeding on the fresh blood. Delicate thoro vines lasso her ankles. Each step pulls them taut, to trap, trip and tear. More food for flies. Why hadn’t she believed her brothers? Cross country travel shut-down for days now. A blunt instrument even for these desperate terrorists, severed arm of the junta. She might have got out sooner. Before their tanks blocked all routes out of the city and the camps.

Too late now – for everyone. Young frightened conscripts and seasoned soldiers would both die inside their metal cans. Tanks sink quickly in mud. Tracks vanish down ever-shifting pools, holes and deep currents. Swamp weed self winds, traps any vestiges of trail.

There is only one way to travel; by foot and vine, swinging from the branches of klangnon trees. But one must know the route and the protocol. She knows both. She reaches for a hanging vine, gently rolls the stem in her hands, then across her forehead. She offers the salt of her sweat to the plant and waits. A minute unwinds and  subtle cooling emanates from the stem. Her salt offering has been accepted. Curling her body around the vine she intends the direction she wishes to travel. The vine swings outward, hovering 20meters NNW. She drops softly onto a moss furred stump, scanning for another vine to carry her deeper into the mud swamp, towards her ultimate destination: singing cave.

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