Into the marshes
Autumn, just before the snow, and the trees were nearly bare. The marshes lay below the hill like a beckoning fruit. Covered in flies it was, and it stank. There were no inhabitants here that went down to the marshes, but that was exactly what we were about.
When the master called and spoke, we jumped to obey. Otherwise you could expect to become a corpse o' rot in those self same marshes I was just telling you about. And none of us wanted to go there and be that.
Sunshine rarely came down this way, especially not before the winter freeze. So we were glad that day, that there was the sun to guide us. It was a good day to go to the marshes.
We found some golden colored metal in the stinking water just by the shore, and we argued amongst ourselves for awhile about hiding it from the master. We could sell it ourselves, someone said. But that wasn't what we did. We were betrayed in the end, by the Simon guy, who always told the master everything he saw. There was no sense in trying anything independent, if he was along.
So the marshes had it's piece of us that day, and we came back out of it mostly in one piece. Only one child lost it's foot there, and had to hurry back to get it cauterized by the shaman lest it fester and rot on his limbs.
The metal turned out to be gold. Someone said later that the master got lots of credits for to feed us with, from that one find. So now they're saying we should go on back down there again, and see what else we could dig up. But no one's gonna go, lest of course the master directs us to. No one's got the guts. And on top of that everyone is scared and superstitious, that there a monster in that there marsh. It's gonna swallow everyone whole that goes down there.
Winter will come and then we can walk over the ice. Then we'll go and see what's to be had there. Maybe the bubbly spots will be warm enough to dive in and swim to the bottom. That's where all the ship's treasure lies!
So for now we's gonna lay low and wait for the big winter freeze to come over us all. Then sleepwalking into the frozen marshes won't be cursed anymore, and no-one will lose a foot.
Writing by Regina Stemberger
Photo by Gattou/Lucie/feel better