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“We need to get back up there,” I said uselessly pointing to the sky. It seemed so odd the clouds were gone, the sky full of stars. Sometimes we saw the stars above us in the clouds, but most of the time there was a cloud cover above the clouds we sailed on. The man’s gaze didn’t leave my face. I noticed his blue eyes dart back and forth, as if he was drinking in my visage. He had a slight smile on his face, it made him look good natured.
He turned and bsgan to walk away, back into the dry goods store, he half turned back to us and indicated that we follow him. I glanced at Remy, he shrugged and we cautiously followed. The inside of the dry goods store looked like a much more ravaged version of the small shop that had been in the statue building. The shelves were empty, littered with broken things, or things that were seeming useless remained.
The man continued to try to talk to us in his odd language. I had no idea what he was saying but he seemed to be chatty and from his hand motions he could’ve been talking about the weather for all I knew. I’d never known someone so chatty to complete strangers before. The only other thing was he knew we didn’t understand him and had been more relaxed.
He led us through a maze of buildings, through one, out of another, between broken fences. The man suddenly stopped and I nearly bumped into his back. He had put his arm out to halt us, bringing a finger to his lips in that universal gesture of be quiet. He pointed with one slender finger. Foilage had grown rampant through the weird abandoned village, and under the boughs of a tree stood Orford. He was the same as we saw him before. He looked paler, possibly because of the moonlight, was still dressed in the clothes as when he walked the plank. A dirty shirt that had once been white, and brown trousers. A tricorn hat sat on his head, his long hair hanging in his eyes. He looked wet, like he’d just walked out of a pool of water. His eyes were red rimmed and he stared straight at me.
“Spirit,” the man whispered and I stared at him over Orford.
“Spirit? That is common,” I stated. Were there any other words that were the same in our language? I looked back at Orford and once again he screamed, making my blood turn cold, and I realized I had raised my hands to cover my ears, but the sound of the scream was in my head. He turned to walk away. He disappear deeper into the foilage. “So I am seeing ghosts?” My heart plummeted. I had had a hope that I wasn’t actually seeing the ghost of Paul but for some reason I was actually seeing him. “So they’re ghosts,” I asked the man once Orford had disappeared and stopped screaming.
Remington was looking at me with a confused expression on his face. “What?” I asked and he looked at me a moment before speaking.
“That man didn’t make any noise, bu you covered your ears,” Remy stated and I gave him a dirty look.
“He screamed, it was horrible to listen to. It hurt my ears,” I replied and Remy kept giving me the same strange look. “You didn’t hear anything?” He shook his head and the strange man nudged me in the arm to get my attention.
“Honesty,” I said indicating myself. “My name is Honesty.” I was Louella “Honesty” Huckabee, I’d gotten my nicname because I was adamant or flawed about being truthful. He gave that single word reply that sounded like the cat meow, but it was so soft when he did it I barely heard it. I knew he’d spoken because he’d moved his lips.
“Moxq,” he indicated himself.
“Mocsk?” I questioned not sure I had it right. He nodded. Okay so his name was Mocsk. Maybe Honesty sounded like a weird name to him.
“Remy,” I pointed to Remy who didn’t really care that we were finally introducing ourselves. Mocsk repeated our names. The seemed as foreign in his mouth as his name was in mine.
He led us into a large building and I recognized a theater. It had a stage and rows of benches. Part of the ceiling was collapsed. I noticed little pallets on the floor, some on the benches, baskets of personal items. Small fires were lit, and people, I was surprised people were gathered around them. I could smell cooking meat and vegetables. The inside of the theater looked like a regugee camp, but from what I could see this appeared to be their communal home.
As Mocsk walked through the encampment he literally seemed to greet every single person we passed, as if he specifically knew everyone. Some he stopped to speak a few words with. Most gave us leery gazes and did not indicate that we were even present. He continued to lead us to the stage, and finally up a staircase that led onto the stage. The stage seemed to be home to a single woman. She was dark skinned like a native, with crazy hair, and white lines painted on her face and arns.
She reeked of insence and body odor. A small fire was on the stage and she dipped some braided leaves into the flames. They began to smoulder and give off an acrid smoke. Mocsk seemed to be explaining us to her.
“Do you speak Common?’ I asked of her and she tilted her head, gave me an intesne gaze before speaking in the same language as Mocsk. She picked up the smouldering leaves, and brough the acrid smoke around me. Thew woman did not seem too interested in Remy, though Mocsk had said his name too.
“So they’re savages?” Remy asked.
“I don’t know what they are, I’ve never known anything about a race of people living on the surface,” I explained to Remy. “This is unprecedented. If we were explorers rather than pirates-“ I was talking and the woman gave a squawk that surprised me. She was looking at me so intently I felt the urge to shrink back away from her. I stayed my ground. She was chanting now, bringing the acrid smoking leaves all around me. I was forced to inhale the scent.
The room began to sway, the colors suddenly began to bleed downwards like water going down a drain. I could see Mocsk speaking, his lips were moving, his eyes never leaving mine, but all I heard was the dark skinned woman’s chanting. Suddenly the light began to leave and the ground tried to rise up and hit me, but I fell forward into Mocsk’s arms. He caught me and touching him was like electricity, his arms and chest were skin stretched over a statue he was so solid. Darkness overwhelmed me.

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