The Cold Air

Outland: Chapter 16

I could already tell that the days were becoming shorter.  The daylight hours were comfortable and cool, but the maps I drew out each night seemed to dwindle off short of the distance I was used to.  Occasionally, rain would cut our travel for a day or more, with anxiety taking a hold of me.

The coastline slowly became more green and lush in comparison to the almost desert-like landscape of down south.  The few remaining signs of any human life seemed swallowed up by the overflowing landscape.  It wasn’t long, though, before I could start to see the leaves of the trees starting to take an orange brown color at their tips.  Even worse, overcast skies would threaten rain, and take time out from when we would be able to have the solar array active.

“Gulliver, how many hours of sunlight did you record yesterday?”  I awoke one day to the rising sun poking through the dense fog.

“According to the current cycle of the sun rising, we should have had 7 hours and 46 minutes of sunlight yesterday.”

“And we spent about three of those hours, after I awoke, to continue charging.  It’s frustrating.”

“I shall continue tracking the daylight hours if you would like, Andrew.”

I quickly stood up from the pilot’s seat to stretch.  “I don’t think me knowing will change anything.”

The water along the coast was dark green, and appeared completely opaque.  What was left of the sandy beaches were dark patches of sand, collecting the white sea foam and various bits of driftwood.  I could remember coming to the beach as a kid, and picking through the interestingly shaped bits of wood that had been carved and sanded naturally by the ocean currents.  The rule that it we could never bring it home, though.  My mom explained that if everyone brought some home, there would be little left for people to come and see.

Compared to those time, the amount of driftwood washed along the shore was immense.  Some of the chunks of wood were natural looking, as if they had been pulled from the ground, but most looked as if it had been touched by human hands.  Many big slabs and planks dotted the edge of the high tide mark; bits of milled and painted wood that was once someone’s house or corner store.

Once, while peering out at the water, I was able to spot something like a jet of water coming up from the surface.  Studying the area out in the water, I could see the source; a pack of whales or dolphins coming to the surface to breath, or whatever they did.  I had never taken any particular interest in the wildlife before, but in my abundance of free time, it was a nice distraction to see them.  If nothing else, it was a nice thought that something was able to call this place a home.

At one point, I found myself heading inland following the edge of an old bay.  Following one of particular stretch of land around, I found myself staring at a pair of highly weathered pilons sticking out of the water.  I decided to cross to the other side under water.  Upon arriving at the other side of the original span of the bridge, I realized the landmark that I had passed; the Golden Gate.  Realizing it was the first time I had seen it,  took a quick gaze back at it before continuing on.

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