First: Running in the Bear Empire
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They walked – catching rides from local farmers twice – until the sun was just threatening to disappear behind the mountains. By the time they clambered into the slight curvature of the hill that made something that could, with generosity and broad definitions, be called a cave, they had been trading bad jokes and worse stories for more than an hour, started when Carrone told her one about a bear – the animal sort – that walked into a tavern.
“Can you…” He waved his hands.
“I can. Are you sure you want me to?”
He pointed at the sky. “It might not be planning on one of your stupid man-killer storms, but it’s going to do something tonight, and I don’t want to sleep wet. Or bug-eaten.”
“I don’t, either.” She dug into her bag until she found everything she needed; he, in the meantime, laid out the bedrolls (there was just enough room for the two of them pressed against each other in the dubious shelter they’d found) and then dug around for cooking supplies. Continue reading