The Lavalite World by Philip Jose Farmer. Chapter 13, 14, 15, 16

Even though she didn’t think McKay would harm her, she still went off into the bush to find a sleeping place where he couldn’t see her. If he wanted to, he would find her. But he would have to climb a tree to get her. Her bed was some boughs she’d chopped and laid across two branches.

“The “night,” as all nights here, was not unbroken sleep. Cries of birds and beasts startled her, and twice her dreams woke her.

The first was of her uncle, naked, bleeding from the longitudinal gash in his chest, standing above her on the tree-nest and about to lay his hands on her. She came out of it moaning with terror.

The second was of Kickaha. She’d been wandering around the bleak and shifting landscape of this world when she came across his death-pale body lying in a shallow pool. She started crying, but when she touched him, Kickaha sat up suddenly, grinning, and he cried, “April fool!” He rose and she ran to him and they put their arms around each other and then they were riding swiftly on a horse that bounced rather than ran, like a giant kangaroo. Anana woke up with her hips emulating the up-and-down movement and her whole being joyous.

She wept a little afterward because the dream wasn’t true.

McKay was still sleeping where he had laid down. The hobbled moosoids were tearing off branches about fifty meters away. She bent down and touched his shoulder, and he came up out of sleep like a trout leaping for a dragonfly.

“Don’t ever do that again!” he said, scowling.

“Very well. We’ve got to eat breakfast and then check up on that tribe. Did you hear anything that might indicate they are up and about?”

“Nothing,” he said sullenly.

But when they got to the edge of the woods, they saw no sign of the newcomers except for excrement and animal and fish bones. When they rode out onto the white sands, they caught sight, to their right, of the last of the caravan, tiny figures.

After waiting until the Amerinds were out of sight, they followed. Some time later, they came to another channel running out of the sea. This had to be the waterway they had first encountered, the opening of which had swept Kickaha away. It ran straight outwards from the great body of water between the increasingly higher banks of the slope leading up to the pass between the two mountains.

They urged their beasts into the channel and rode them as they swam across. On reaching the other side they had to slide down off, get onto the beach, and pull on the reins to help the moosoids onto the sand. The Amerinds were still not in view.

She looked up the slope. “I’m going up to the pass and take a look. Maybe he’s out on the plain.”

“If he was trailing them,” McKay said, “he would’ve been here by now. And gone by now, maybe.”

“I know, but I’m going up there anyway.”

She urged the moosoid up the slope. Twice, she looked back. The first time, M9Kay was sitting on his motionless gregg. The next time, he was coming along slowly.

On reaching the top of the pass, she halted her beast. The plain had changed considerably. Though the channel was still surrounded by flat-land for a distance of about a hundred feet on each side, the ground beyond had sunk. The channel now ran through a ridge on both sides of which were very deep and broad hollows. These were about a mile wide. Mountains of all sizes and shapes had risen along its borders, thrusting up from the edges as if carved there. Even as she watched, one of the tops of the mushroom-shaped heights began breaking off at its edges. The huge pieces slid or rotated down the steep slope, some reaching the bottom where they fell into the depressions.

There were few animals along the channel, but these began trotting or running away when the first of the great chunks broke off of the mushroom peak.

On the other side of the mountains was a downward slope cut by the channel banks. On the side

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22