Been a couple of days now since I told you about my run in with the snorta. Fact is there ain’t much to tell since I left the Crossroads, which is a good thing when you’re running a sleigh in the north country. Problem is, on those long open stretches the fatigue sets in which is what happened to me around noon today.
Me and Clyde weren’t no more than ten miles to Owl Harbour when what I’m relating to you took place. We was traversing the swampy flats the locals call the Mellow Mush Marsh. Now in the spring, summer and fall months the Mellow Mush Marsh is one of them hazards that’s best avoided. The Marsh road tends to take hold of your wheels and suck your wagon clean under. It’s the steaming muskeg, see, it’s a right bugger to get around. In the winter it ain’t quite so bad. Where there’s standing snow is usually safe and where it’s all melted ain’t. But even if there is snow it ain’t no guarantee you’ll make it through.
The whole Mellow Mush Marsh is full of sulphur geysers and random puddles of boiling mud. If you ain’t wary and stick to the marked trail you could fall into a mud puddle. You don’t want to fall in no mud around these parts, it’ll cook you right through. The reason for it is science, what them with a higher education call geothermal effervescent flux.
As I was saying when I started relating what I’m relating, it was around noon, a day and a half from the Crossroads when I nodded off. Now Clyde’s pretty good, on those occasions I might nod off he tends to just carry on. If I’m out too long he’ll kick up a fuss until I’m well roused. But Clyde must have been daydreaming himself today. He started into the Mellow Mush Marsh without so much as a neigh.
I was in that state that’s kind of like a mixture of dreaming and thinking when I smelled something weren’t right. “Clyde,” I calls out, “is that your irritable bowel flaring up?” But it weren’t Clyde producing the stink. It was the geothermal effervescent flux I was just telling you about. It percolated up through the ground and turned the snow all around us into a bubbly, frothy foam – like what you get on the top of those hoity-toity coffees the dandies call lattes.
Clyde sunk first, right up to his chest. The sleigh was next. Them fancy runners Boots got me hit bottom at about five and a half, maybe six feet.
That put me in a right foul temper and I aimed a string of curses at Clyde for not paying attention but he curled his lip in a frig you sneer and he was kind of right, so I shut up on the cursing.
“Come on you equine bugger, it will be quite the slog but we can push our way through this slop,” I said as I eased over the side of the sleigh and into the flux fuzz; sunk right up to my shoulders too. “We can still make Owl Harbour by dark. We’re going to have to come back for the sleigh in the morning.”
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