However, they had to go from this cave to a place where food was hidden. On the way, they talked about Ada. She finally said that Ruby would come to help them. Although Ruby made a good deal, Ada also relied on this food to give them a little food for the winter. It was not enough for two men to take root by relying on these foods alone. She thought that Stebrod Pong was very risky to visit them. She didn’t want to see them as often as they did. Now the food on the farm must be placed in a certain place and hidden in her mountain. She found it when she was wandering in her childhood. The place is a flat round stone with strange scripture-like marks carved on it. Besides, she doesn’t want to be bound by some kind of timetable. When she is happy, she sends food there, but when she is unhappy, she doesn’t. It’s up to Strobrod to check it out.
When this group of people arrived at this place, Stebrod looked around, then knelt down and groped around the leaf surface with his hands. Then he felt around the edge of his boots. Soon he found the flat boulder embedded in the ground. The washbasin was marked with no Cherokee characters. Their symbols were too abrupt and blunt, just like crawling over a pan spider nervously. It might have come from a species before human beings. On the edge of this stone, they found a tin box of corn flour rolled in a newspaper, some dried apples, some pieces of bacon and a jar of pickled beans. They put these things with their own wine and tobacco.
Guess which way we have to go, the Georgia boy said to Stebrod. When his elbow drew a fork, his blanket bulged out, and the hanging part folded up like a curtain carved from stone.
Stebrod looked at him in the direction of painting, but he didn’t know where they were or which way to go. He knew the higher and farther place. It was a mountain. If you walked around the foot of the mountain, you would have to walk nearly 100 miles, that is, it was not as high as clouds and ravines as it is now, but as flat as a map. Then the mountain covered a wide area. Even if he had been here before, he was drunk. In his opinion, these two intertwined paths might extend to places.
Pong looked at Stebrod and studied the terrain in confusion, and then with some kind of guilt because he knew more than his teacher, he finally hesitated to say that he knew his position by mistake and that the right fork would soon become illegible, but it would still cross the mountain intermittently and reach a distant place that he never paid attention to. An Indian went to the place. The left fork was wide, but it was circuitous and quickly disappeared near a damp pond.
Then let’s eat first and then move on, said Stebrod.
Three people bought some firewood and made a barely lit bonfire on a stone fire rack. He put some corn flour in the stream and cooked it in the fire, which might adjust their tortured stomachs. They pulled the wood over and sat on the surface, lit their pipes and smoked as close as possible to the faint flame before baking the soles of their clothes. They handed the bottle and took a long sip of cold air to seep into their bones, freezing their bone marrow like cooling lard. They sat there waiting for the flame alcohol to generate heat to thaw them.
After a while, Stebrod was very absorbed in exploring his knife in the jar of pickled beans. He nibbled at the tip of the knife one at a time, and every time he finished eating pickled beans, he wiped the vinegar off the edge of his trouser leg. Pong was eating a shriveled apple circle, and his palm flattened it and held it in front of his eyes. The hole in the apple circle was like a telescope that could observe the world. The Georgia boy sat there and leaned forward and reached for the bonfire. His blanket covered his head. If the fire hadn’t illuminated his black eyes, his face would have been covered in the shadow. He put his hand on his abdomen and straightened himself as if he
I wouldn’t eat a bite of that venison, knowing that it would spill so badly, he said.
He got up a little and walked slowly towards the laurel bushes far away from this place. Stebrod watched him leave.
My boy felt sad. He said that he wished he had never left home, but he had no idea how bad his state was. One of my brothers is in prison and the other is in Georgia. I will save that one in Georgia first.
I’ve never been that far from Georgia, Pong said.
I went to Stebrod once and said I didn’t stay there for long. When I found it was such a dump, I came back.
A breeze and flame suddenly shot up. The two men stretched out their hands to keep warm. Stebrod dozed off. His head stood from time to time until Ba leaned against his chest. When he jerked his head back, he saw cavalry marching on the road. They had just reached the top of the mountain. A thin teenager led a small group of depressed militia. These people were armed with sabres, pistols and rifles, and some of them pointed at Stebrod. They were wearing bloated clothes and wrapped in blankets. The horses were snoring in the cold air. Thick white steam came from their nostrils like mongrel dogs.
Now the militia is coming straight up this path, approaching the two men and casting a shadow on them. Stebrod was about to get up, but Geiger said to sit still. He sat loosely in the saddle. The curved butt of Spencer’s short carbine leaned against his thigh muscles. He wore wool gloves, his right hand gloves, and his thumb and forefinger were cut off so that he could pull the bolt and pull the trigger without hindrance. The reins of the horse were firmly placed in front of his other thumb and forefinger with intact gloves. He had studied their skins for a while. The fat boy with gray skin and dark circles eyes looks like a black hole on fire. One side of his hair is greasy and stands up like a brown peak like a meringue roll, while the other side is messy and stuck to his scalp. Stebrod’s bald head has a bumpy skin and a dim color and is loosely attached to his head. Baldness is generally tight and shiny. His face looks like a funnel that collapses from the tip of his nose.
Ge said, I don’t even want to ask you if you read the newspaper about it. I’ve heard all kinds of false statements. We are chasing a group of deserters who are said to live in a cave. They have been robbing the villagers. People know where the cave is in the mountains. Then he’d better say it.
I’m not sure. Stebrod said that his voice sounded really crisp and loud, but his heart was desperate. It is estimated that in less than a month, he will have to go back to that damn Virginia to pull the bolt. I know I will say that he said that I heard people talk about it. People said it was on the back of the mountain near Xiongbi or Shanning Creek.
Pong looked at Stebrod strangely, and confusion floated like a shadow on his face.
At this point, what do you say to Pong?
The boy sat there leaning back, his weight bearing down on his broad hip skeleton. He put his hand on his eyes to block the sunlight coming from behind the cavalry in front of him. Those small glasses squinted at him with doubts, and he didn’t know how to answer the question well. All kinds of ideas passed through his Zhang Rou face.
What’s so ridiculous? Pong finally looked at Stebrod and said, It’s right here. You know, it’s just three miles to Nick Creek on the foot of the mountain. You’ll find a place like a turkey’s paw. There are many hickory trees on the right hillside. In autumn, you can also see squirrels busy with trees. You can kill them with stones. You climb up a stone slope along a path through hickory trees and then reach the top of the slope. You’ll get to a cave as big as a barn on the cliff.
Thank you so much, Greg said. He turned to two tall, dark cavalry and gave a message with a twist of his mouth. He put his weight on his stirrup shoes and the leather creaked and rattled his webbed horse.
Others followed the horse.
If you don’t mind, we’d like to borrow your barbecue grill and say to Stebrod, have some breakfast together. After that, we’ll listen to what you two little players play to see if you are really two.
They set fire to the fire and sat around as if everyone were a group of militiamen. There were many sausages together. When they dragged the sausages from their saddlebags, they were frozen hard and intertwined like something in the abdominal cavity. They had to cut it into small pieces with a small axe. They put the cut pieces on the fire, thawed the flat stones, and then sharpened the branches to put them on the fire and barbecue them.
The bonfire soon burned with charcoal red and a piece of white ash at the bottom. It released enough heat to make Pong unbutton his coat, then his shirt button, and then he exposed his pale chest and abdomen to the flame and completely relaxed. Now he could feel the warmth, friendship and food aroma. He looked at it for a while and seemed to be admiring its well-shaped material, as if he had never seen it before. Watching it was as fun as watching it. Soon, his eyes glazed over, and then he sat there with his weight pressed from his trunk to his ass, so his chest became a layered meat roll. He was simply carved with lard to make a statue.
Sleepwalking gankun went to Stebrod and said wearily
Greg took a bottle of wine from his pocket and handed it to Stebrod.
It’s not too early for you to drink, is it, he said
I drank it a long time ago, said Stebrod. When you haven’t slept for a few days and have a nap or two, it’s hard to say what is too early.