Trees of a different nature filled the landscape ahead. Before then, he’d have to plod through more dry grass. Minutes into his trek, he heard the rustle of grass again. Unslinging his rifle, he made slower progress through the dry stalks as he kept it pointed in front of himself. A tower, ten feet tall rose in his peripheral vision. He turned in time to see a the thick girth of a snake slam down, and the brief squeak of a rodent.
Brad made a wide berth of the area, trying to avoid the grass covered region as much as possible. When he reached the trees, he breathed a little easier, satisfied that snakes would prefer to lie in wait in the grass. He stopped a moment to pick out his route. A dot of blue showed in the distance. Peering harder, his goggles’ zoom lens adjusted, bringing a blue half cabin cruiser into focus. A boat meant a river, and a river meant a clearer path. He made care to watch his route, only peering through his brows occasionally to find the boat.
Bushland thinned out along the river’s edge. The side of river for kilometres in each direction had short green grass as if mown. Small clusters of trees dotted the banks, giving off pleasant shade. Brad headed for the shelter of the nearest trees to the boat. It sat still on the water 30 metres out; a later model, powered by solar gems. He noted a line running from her bow into the water, telling him it must have dragged its anchor in the last storm.
He looked either way along the waterway.
Rivers start from mountains; don’t they?
Or was that just in countries where it snowed? Surely the boat would have maps of the river. If it took him even just a few kilometres closer to the mountains, then all the better. He could at least travel a little closer to his destination in safety. At night too, he could sleep aboard without predators finding him.
Only 30 metres out, he decided to go for the short swim and check for maps. He unslung his rifle and trod ankle deep into the water, when he became conscious of dark shapes drifting beneath the surface. With the idle angling of their tails, black fish the size of shetland ponies moved at slow walking pace. Brad admired the sleekness of the hybrids. Their long tails gave them the appearance of fish merged with tadpoles. He would have continued with his intention and swam out to the boat, except the fish looked too much like sharks for his liking.
“Point the way, Lord,” he prayed.
He decided to follow the flat grass beside the river as it gave him a relatively clear path. His route eventually took him to a tarred road strewn with cars run off its edges. From there, he could see the bridge crossing the river; the highway leading to the mountains.
As he neared the bridge, the cars became more disarrayed, as if children had left their toys outside. Cars had slammed into each other. A semi-trailer, remained jackknifed at the centre of the disorder.