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A Narrow Escape

Orpheus wandered through the tunnel carved through the mountains, trying his best to stick near the train tracks. “Thank goodness I still have  a working light on this helmet,” he said, focusing on the beam of light shining ahead of him. Weeks ago, he had left New Babbage, to try to figure out the meaning of the dreams he had been having. Someday, Orpheus would enjoy telling of his fanciful dreams to anyone who would listen, asking only that they buy him a drink in return. Years from now, a patron will even write down these dreams and publish them, slightly altered, as the best selling children’s book “The Peculiar Escapades of Samuel Fincher.” But for now, Orpheus was convinced that the dreams he had been having were a message for him to go to Falun. He had snuck aboard the Falun Express. But to his misfortune, he found himself in Falun in a time when they weren’t to happy with folks from New Babbage. He was forced to work in the salt mines, and only by some clever thinking was he able to get away. He snuck out of town and followed the train tracks. It had taken many days, but now he found himself passing through the mountains of the North Fells, almost home.


Just then, the beam from his helmet began to falter. As Orpheus suddenly found himself surrounded by thick darkness, he thought he saw something just up ahead. He blinked a few times, making sure it wasn’t a residual echo from the helmet torch. When he was sure of what he was looking at, he started to run. Up ahead was the end of the tunnel. Despite not being able to see anything in front of him, Orpheus ran as fast as he could towards the light. As he emerged from the tunnel, he stopped to gather his breath. He looked around and saw an ominous looking tree, and beyond that the flat expanse of the Fells and the smoggy cityscape of New Babbage. He was home!



As he tried to regain his composure, Orpheus heard something off in the distance, behind him. He listened and made out the “Chug chug” of a train. Then he saw the train’s headlamp illuminate the darkness behind him. Orpheus looked around. He was right in the middle of an overpass. With the train behind him he had no choice but to run as fast as his little legs could carry him. He ran and he ran, pumping his legs with every ounce of energy he could. The track curved ahead of him. As he rounded the turn, he looked over his shoulder. The locomotive was barrelling down the track, getting closer and closer. Orpheus paused, his chest heaving with exhaustion. He saw the windmill up ahead. If he could just make it that far he could jump into the pond. Orpheus breathed in a lungful of that sweet, smoggy air and took off in one final burst of speed. He saw the pond just as the metal behometh bore down on him.


“3…2…1… Geronimo!!!” he shouted as he leapt off the side of the bridge, the train missing him by mere inches. He flailed his arms as he fell through the air, watching the water get closer and closer. He hoped that the pond would be deep enough so that he didn’t break himself on the bottom. There was no time to be scared; Orpheus crashed through the surface with a giant splash. He sunk almost to the bottom, but managed to push himself up just before hitting the rocky bottom. He opened eyes and peered through the murky water a moment before pushing himself back to the surface. As his head broke the surface, Orpheus took in large mouthfuls of air and began to laugh. He couldn’t remember feeling that big of a rush ever. He began to swim toward the edge of the pond, carefully avoiding the current created by the windmill’s drill like water pump. He pulled himself out of the water and began to walk toward the city wall. It was getting late, and he would get a chill if he didn’t dry off his wet clothes. He soon found himself at the campsite of Tepic. “Hello, Tepic?” shouted Orpheus. No one responded. “Hmmm… he must be somewhere in town. Well, I don’t think he’ll mind if I stay here for a bit to warm up.” Orpheus started a fire and sat there, letting the warmth of the flame dry off his clothes. Once he warmed up, he would go find the other urchins. He had so much to tell of his latest adventure.

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