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datatime: 2022-11-29 19:59:26 Author:EXifukmo

"Do you think someone's been here?" McCaughlin said.

"Well. I'll be a monkey's uncle. Lincoln - Abraham Lincoln - a plastic figure."

"His top hat don't look too good." Rona said. Indeed it didn't. There was a pack rat sticking its nose out of the decayed fabric.

They came over the ridge and looked down on a glassy-surfaced blackened plain. "That's the area that took a nuke bomb hit back in the twentieth century," said Rockson grimly. "The heat of the air-detonated blast melted the sand into that shiny surface. Not a thing grows there to this day. You notice that there is no snow on that mile-wide plain either. There is still some heat from radioactive elements in that surface - hence the clicking you hear on the Geiger attached to the front of my sled. Let's give it some room."

Rockson shone the beam of his light over in the direction Danik indicated. The body was there, stiff and frozen, its eyes wide and mouth gaping, the lips blue. Run Dutil looked a lot like Danik. The body appeared to be untouched; the cold had kept it from rotting. Perhaps the animals had tried to taste the plastic statues over the centuries and found them unpalatable. And so they had desisted from tasting this real human. Rockson fumbled through the dead man's clothing until he found the small steno pad with pencil notes inside an inner pocket of his frost-covered tunic.

They all chanted an amen in unison, and then went back and spread out their maps, and compared them to the notes from Run Dutil's little pad. Rockson drew some pencil marks on the maps, using the meager angles and sun-elevation heights that Dutil had jotted down. He drew estimated margin-of-error lines too - dotted lines that were as much as ten miles to one side or the other of their new route. Then they were off on their quest for Eden.

They headed southward, guided by Run Dutil's notes in the little pad. Hopefully, they would find the next landmark on the route to Eden, the giant teepee that Danik bad described.

Danik agreed, Run Dutil was solemnly carried outside, still in his frozen, stiff sitting position. As McCaughlin rolled up good-sized rocks to the body and then hefted a capstone in place, Rockson said, "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Heavenly Father, we send you our friend Run Dutil, a good and true American. If you can see to do it, please welcome him into your arms. Amen."

"It wasn't like that when I was here two weeks ago," Danik gasped. "There was no hole in the roof."

"Let's move on," Rockson said.

"Well. I'll be a monkey's uncle. Lincoln - Abraham Lincoln - a plastic figure."

"Let's move on," Rockson said.

Detroit rummaged around and found the toy sextant Run Dutil had used for compiling his meager notes in JFK's plastic hands. It would be useful, for if the navigation device had some error in it, they could take that into account in plotting their trek south.

They headed southward, guided by Run Dutil's notes in the little pad. Hopefully, they would find the next landmark on the route to Eden, the giant teepee that Danik bad described.

They quickly made for the boulderfield Danik had indicated. Rockson hoped that any roving scavengers attracted by the body of Run Dutil would not have eaten his notebook as well - some species of high-plains bobcat ate even metal cans

"It should be over there - in the shadows - propped up against the wall. We found a steel box in here, all rusted and jammed closed. Some other hapless wanderers must have brought it here - we found disintegrating skeletons on the second floor, next to charred wood on a sheet-metal plate. When Run and I broke open the box, we found some canned goods inside. Must have been decades old, but we cut them open and ate the stuff. It tasted flat, but it wasn't spoiled. Canned Soviet-label meat. It gave me the strength to go on, but Run was sickening from a snake bite he got the sixth day out of Eden. He threw up the food and convulsed and died. I was - was too weak, delirious, frightened. I left him - and his notebook of our travels - right where he died." Danik's voice trailed off. He looked down.

They quickly made for the boulderfield Danik had indicated. Rockson hoped that any roving scavengers attracted by the body of Run Dutil would not have eaten his notebook as well - some species of high-plains bobcat ate even metal cans

"I remember this place," Danik said, "the President's Museum is about a mile away from here - just beyond those boulders shaped like a pile of kid's blocks."

Detroit rummaged around and found the toy sextant Run Dutil had used for compiling his meager notes in JFK's plastic hands. It would be useful, for if the navigation device had some error in it, they could take that into account in plotting their trek south.

Rockson and his Freefighters pulled up their sleds in front of the blackened crumbling structure and gingerly stepped into the ruin. It was dark inside, they lit a flashlight. Rockson gasped as his beam hit a human face. McCaughlin shouted, "Watch out -" and drew his shotpistol, before he realized the face was familiar.

"His top hat don't look too good." Rona said. Indeed it didn't. There was a pack rat sticking its nose out of the decayed fabric.

Detroit rummaged around and found the toy sextant Run Dutil had used for compiling his meager notes in JFK's plastic hands. It would be useful, for if the navigation device had some error in it, they could take that into account in plotting their trek south.

"Do you think someone's been here?" McCaughlin said.

"His top hat don't look too good." Rona said. Indeed it didn't. There was a pack rat sticking its nose out of the decayed fabric.

"Well. I'll be a monkey's uncle. Lincoln - Abraham Lincoln - a plastic figure."

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