What a load of shit...
At this point we’ve been on the boat for around a week and will probably remain on this boat for three more. Having to spend all this time in close confinement with none other than my austere brother is a real pain in my ass and all in order to take up a job I didn't even ask for.
If anyone reads this in the years after I die, I want everyone to know that the “nation” I was indentured to is quite possibly the shittiest sounding place I’ve ever had the misfortune of hearing about.
Harbenera; why, why, why, for starters even father couldn’t make it sound appealing and that bastard was the one who sent us here. Why would anyone even want a colony in a desert? It makes no sense, there's nothing there and anything that is there will probably kill you.
Father actually warned us about the plethora of evil creatures that live there and if giant fish like behemoths that sit under the sand aren’t enough to scare you off, the stupid fuckers who are happy to live next to them will.
I understand why I was sent on this mission, my great charisma. Whilst my brother loves rules and punishment, I can enlighten even the most stupid of country hicks and finally change this shithole into something decent.
I'm not going to document the next few weeks of my travels as I fear I'll run out of ideas very quickly, if i can remember i'll share my first impressions when I arrive but I wouldn't expect any praise.
Capital City is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. According to the man in acclimating us to our new roles, it only spans 10 miles down the coastline but the buildings reach far into the clouds.
From the dockyard you can’t even see the desert, the streets are paved in stone with horse drawn carriages and ingenious horseless carriages. At night it’s as if a swarm of colourful fireflies invade the city, signs shine with a mystical flare.
Compared to home this place is a paradise, why didn’t father tell me about this?
I am writing now from the tallest tower in the city with the desert as my backdrop and the ocean as my entertainment. From here everything seems to be so much more beautiful and even the harsh desert that my father warned me about is so beautiful and calm against the majesty of the city.
The book slammed shut creating a cloud of dust that would permeate through the air before settling over the planks in a wooden shack.
A fire would roar in the corner sending shimmers of light over the old man’s face, he had a big rounded nose with a drooping white moustache sprouting underneath. His face was almost red in complexion from years of relentless beating by the sun.
He hadn’t many teeth left and the ones he did have were yellow and black and he wore a white pair of long johns which bore a plethora of stains.
He sat contently on his old wooden rocking chair smiling down at the two little boys who had just been left coughing and sputtering over the dust explosion.
One of the boys was slender with messy brown hair whilst the other was rather chubby with blonde hair that was kept flat with weapons grade hair products.
“Eat shit, you didn’t know that guy grandpa!”
“Watch your language with me boy or i’ll send him to meet you too”
The chubby one would then interject
“Mr. Ryder, don't you mean you'll send you to him?”
“Pop, there's a long while before I'm going to see him again, I may be old but I can still outlive you both.”
The trio would stop for a second before the two boys would burst into laughter, the old man would also chuckle at their enjoyment before rocking himself up out of the chair and over to a box on the nearby table.
“You see, Pop, Horace, one day you’re gonna do the thing that my old friend Demetrius couldn’t.”
The old man would proceed to shut the book in the box and then lock it with a key he hid in a necklace under his long johns.
“Grandpa Willy, do you really think we could do that”
“Of course my boy, whenever I see you, everything about you reminds me of him, hell even your little party trick you’ve been working on.”
At that point the door would swing open to reveal a small brown haired woman, she would smile at the heartwarming scene laid out in front of her before taking charge.
“Dad, I hope you haven’t been putting strange ideas in the boys' heads again, Pop, it’s getting dark out you should probably head home before your mother gets worried.”
“Thanks for having me Mrs. Ryder and Uncle Willy”
The two boys would turn to look at each other before exchanging a smile and a firm handshake before Horace would wave his friend out of the house.
“Seriously Dad, if you keep going on about the war it could lead to them getting hurt and if that ever happens I'm kicking you and your son out of the house.”
The next morning was as hot as ever and Pop and Horace were throwing rocks at bottles on a fence in order to occupy themselves. These boys grew up in Goldbrookes, a town deep in the centre of Harbenera, not much happened in the town as it only really had around 20 permanent residents. The boys were educated entirely by their parents and old Willy.
In its hay day Goldbrookes was a welcomed stop between the east and west coasts, a gamblers town which made most of its money in the legendary Goldbrookes casino which would later be used to name the whole town.
Pop and Horace were loved deeply in their little country town as they were the only children it produced, the only opportunity for any kind of future in an area that had long been forgotten.
Every month whilst the village’s adults were in a meeting about the future of their town, Willy would read the boys the diary entries of a man named Demetrius. It was deeply important to the old man as he saw it his duty to educate the boys on what Harbenera once was.
Today we set out into the desert.
In order to escape from my dearest brother, I’ve mounted an expedition into the villages of the desert. When we set off Father was very fond of the idea of uniting the east and west coast which created a perfect reason to explore what I had been looking out over for the last few days.
At the time of writing this I am currently on the move in a horse drawn carriage, apparently the fancy horseless ones don’t react well with the desert sand and many of the country's horses are bred out in the deserts anyway.
The constant bumps in the road are not ideal. I've begun to write up plans to construct the longest road in the world, one so big it can provide resources all across the desert. Looking out of the carriage I see life, despite the heat plants and animals live on, this truly is a wonderful place, completely different to anything at home or in the city.
“Grandpa this story is all well and good but this guy hasn’t even mentioned you yet”
Willy would look over to Horace dumbfounded by his ridiculous comment.
“He’s only just gotten into the desert, what do you think I was some kind of Capital City hack?”
“Uncle Willy, why do you hate the big city so much?”
The old man smiled and pointed over to a rifle on his wall surrounded by an organised mess of newspaper clippings all referring to a great war.
“You can’t fight someone for five years of your life without growing some kind of hate, it’s what war does to people, it’s what left Goldbrookes in such a sorry state.”
“My mother said we shouldn’t learn about the war, uncle, she says it’ll make us turn out like you.”
The old man sighed dejected, as he closed the dusty old book and got up to put it away. The floorboards would creek and wind would rattle through holes in the rotten wood that made up the walls.
“Why don’t you boys go out and play, old willy is tired and wants some shut eye, just don’t tell your mothers I left you unsupervised.”
The boys rushed out the door unaware and too young to pick up on the nuances of the old man’s disappointment. Truth be told, no one in the whole desert wants to hear about the great war. The patriotism that existed throughout the desert had long since been drowned in a pool of despair, nobody was able to do well in the desert and many held the great war and all who fought in it accountable.
After almost a week we have finally made contact with a village in the desert, the locals reckon it would take a couple months to fully travel the full span of Harbenera. The village itself seems happy enough, from what I’ve been able to tell it all revolves around the local saloon.
Drinking yourself silly is common in these parts but so is something which I've found extraordinary. Going into the saloon today we met the local barkeep, he can flick the bottle caps off of beer cans with his finger nails which look more like metal than anything else.
According to him the citizens of the desert all have their own bizarre talents and the only people that don’t have them live in Capital City. He said that he knew a guy who could drink water and spit out steam. He also thinks that if we keep going we’ll develop similar abilities.
The desert is seemingly a magical beast, I doubt I’d ever be able to truly understand it, but I think I might dedicate my life to trying. Leave all the hassle of running a nation to my brother, shit, he’d probably cream his pants if I told him that.
“Uncle, what does that mean?”
Willy’s eyes widened and his mouth clammed up into meaning less exercise. He would cough and violently sputter before being able to reclaim enough of his posture to respond.
“What does what mean? Pop, my boy”
“Pop you idiot, if someone cre…”
“You better not say it! Where did you learn something like that?”
“Dad said it”
“Of course he fuckin’ did”
“But what does it mean Uncle?”
“I’ll tell you when you’re older, anyway boys, we’re nearly at the good bit”
“Really i thought this book was a load of shit”
“This book is your history and if your history is a load of shit then so are you!”
Today was the closest I’ve ever come to dying, I'm not entirely sure how I avoided it. When we started off on this journey we had seven men excluding myself, four guards and three “explorers” now we’re left with one explorer and two guards.
According to the “expert” it was a sand cat, something a bit like a catfish but the size of a mountain. We only actually got away from it by letting it eat the other carriage and the men on board. It’s not much of an envoy anymore and the guard’s calling for us to go home.
That stupid bastard doesn’t he understand that thing is behind us.
The three of us will continue on the journey, the explorer says that his family come from a town not too far away. Up until now I was beginning to forget how dangerous it was out here. I was sheltered and can’t help but feel a bit guilty for the families that aren’t gonna see their men come home. I refuse to become the same sort of man as my brother, tonight I’ll make an effort to talk with the people that got me this far, maybe making friends will help out here.
John’s a good man,
He reckons we’ll make it to his home in under a week which is a godsend considering all that was lost in yesterday’s attack. He’s a family man and lived alongside the two other explorers in his hometown, apparently they’d been travelling with each other for most of their lives. I plan on compensating their families when we reach the town, it’s the least I could do.
On the other hand the guard hasn’t taken the loss of life very well. He’s called Andy and I fear he’s unstable. Since the incident he’s been clutching at his gun and staring out over the desert, it’s starting to feel like we’re the ones protecting him.
There really is nothing like that creature where we’re from, nothing that large. John said they’re quite rare and extremely territorial, apparently there’s already a team that was dispatched from Central City who are specifically looking to map out the territories of these creatures.
The desert has been inhabited by the frontiersmen that broke away from Capital City for all of two hundred years, with the sheer size of the desert there's probably a lot of creatures knocking about that nobody knows about. Shit, there's probably a lot of disappearances caused by those sorts of creatures.
We finally made it to the town after a challenging week. The fact that communities such as this one can survive out here holds testament to the amazing people who live here. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been spending a lot of time with John and I’ve decided that after this trip is over I’m going to make a difference to these people.
Today we visited the home of one of the victims of the cat attack, his wife was planning on starting a family when he got back.
I sat in his house drinking his coffee and sharing food with his wife and his mother. These people deserve more than I can give them. Even after hearing the news they were still happy to see John, they were still happy that one of the appointed rulers of Harbenera decided to show up to their little town. I could hear them crying as we left, these people are as tough as iron.
John said that his family owns a ranch on the outskirts of town, that’s where I am now. Tomorrow morning I plan on hitting up the legendary Goldbrookes Casino.