Snakes and Pills

203 - troubadour

Fog rolled in with the morning breeze, and Miles knew that today, he would finally have his opportunity. He set to readying his equipment and supplies immediately. The boat was already in a state of readiness. He perpetually kept it as ready as possible, just in case.

Naturally, Miles still tended to his herd, as he did every morning. He additionally made sure they had a little extra water and food available, in case his return was delayed. He didn't like leaving his island alone and his herd unprotected. So he planned on being gone for the bare minimum of time, which was about sixteen hours. Unforeseen circumstances, nefarious or otherwise, did rear their ugly heads from time to time, though.

The thick fog was the best safety he could give himself. The low visibility would make it nearly impossible for anyone to stumble upon the place by happenstance. And if any rogues had been monitoring his activity and waiting for a time to strike, they wouldn't know that he had left.

Miles did not often long for human companionship, but he did find himself wishing that he had someone who could stay behind and guard the place. Someone who could take over if he didn't make it back. Although he had the cartographic password of distances and headings between his home and the meeting place memorized in his mind, he always felt uneasy sailing off into the nothingness.

He needed to load his cargo onboard the vessel, so that he would be able to barter once he arrived in the meeting place. This was all part of a farmer's life, but he still disliked it. He had difficulty parting with his most favored in the herd. He rationalized his reluctance to trade them off by telling himself that he needed to retain a good breeding stock for the future.

On the other hand, it would make no economic sense for him to try and barter with his worst animals, which would fetch very little at the meeting place. In fact, Miles knew that he should probably cull them from the herd, but he didn't have the heart.

With everything that he had gone through, with how little there was left in the world to love, why couldn't he be allowed the simple relief of not having to end the lives of those that were simply less fortunate?

He allowed himself that. Let fate damn him or not.

Miles had already picked out the eight animals he would be bringing with him a month ago, when it became apparent that another supply run would become necessary. He didn't like to dwell too long on what would become of his animals. While trading, he always touted the benefits of his animals beyond just their flesh. But he was not so naive to think that the majority of them did not end up slaughtered and eaten.

He corralled them into the pen on the boat. He flipped the switches to start the engine, which rumbled slowly, churning water behind the craft. The weather and the situation always seemed to get to him in the moment where he finally was to leave.

All of this was necessary, he reminded himself. He had not created this dreary world, but there was something worthwhile in it that kept him going. After the time of difficulty, so many others had taken the easy way out. He fought on, heart heavy but still beating. Miles was not even totally sure why, but he knew there was a reason.

The little boat sputtered and disappeared into the fog.


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