Chapter 08: Consciousness.

Sartoris awoke with a spasm and a start. He had broken his fall by braking branches for a short way down. He woke upside down on an edge of the ridge and plateau. The air was strangely silent the rancor above him had died down for their impenetrability of the wall past the landing.

He moved his legs to the right, slightly, trying to climb his way down sideways. Halfway down, he kicked a ledge and his legs tripped outward. Sartoris, once again, found his face driven into the dirt. Sighing, he pushed himself up out of the dirt face pile and looked up. The wall of the plateau was steep, and then he had the short wall to climb beyond it.

But his pack was up there. Everything he had worked for had been thrown over that wall, and could now be in the hands of anyone. The bottles could have broken, or some other misfortune could have happened, but there was still some value to be taken out of the pack. After all the work, especially even the last few days, Sartoris could not afford to go completely empty for the year.

The fall had been a shock to his system, and with a little concentration, he could see straight. The woods of the ridge had enough trees that he could climb his way up quickly, though that left him close to the trunk when he was higher up, and no branches could support even his packless weight. Plus, he was still totally faded.

In the night he could barely make out the shapes of the wall and the trailers and chemical toilets beyond. He clung to the top of the closeest tree, gently swaying in the wind, the trace of inebriation giving him the bit of courage he needed. The tree swayed forward, and he flung himself toward the wall.

He fell short, and hit the dirt of the plateau 10 feet below the start of the wall. He looked up at the climb directly above him and grabbed a small jutting rock. He pulled himself up just in time to miss the expunge of the chemical toilet sewage that spewed out of the wall above him.

“Great, my cured meat is smashed into moonshine on top of a toilet”

He grabbed again at a rock ledge above him and pulled himself up. A little more, and he could make it to the wall. He clung to the wall, and more sewage dropped out of the pipe above him. He was still clear, but precarious. He grabbed another rock and pulled himself closer but the rock crumbled under him, leaving him swaying by one hand directly under the pipe.

Sartoris found himself sobering up quite quickly as the the wall above started gurgling, seeing another opening, he lunged forward and grabbed another handhold, thrusting his feet onto his old hand grappling points.

The toilet rumbled and spilled across his left ankle and foot.

“Damn it!” he said, as his foot slipped off and he struggled to hold his ground.

He managed to scramble up the rest of the wall without getting hit, but then found himself five feet below a wall surrounding the strangley regular plateau. He clung to the wall, right next to the sewage pipe that had been tormenting him. The wall above him was draped with felt, caked with the filth that the winds had brought, and stiff with age. Gathering his strength, Sartoris grabbed a rock and drove it into the fabric. The filth crumbled away and covered him with it, and the rock crumbled littering the top of his head with the debris. He reached back up into the hole he had made and found that the felt covered a simple metal fence. He pushed himself up and pulled the felt apart, and climbed quickly to the top of the wall.

Sartoris collapsed back, exhausted, hearing the rifts in the felt he had town flapping against the wind.