Knee-deep in sludge, Max Pelter surveyed the gray mist hovering over the swamp land like hot steam rising from a vat of scalding tar. Tall, spindly shrubs protruded from the water, partially blocking his view of the open circle where his rowboat drifted in a daze.
It had been a mistake trying to rescue the damn thing, after he noticed the boat wading from the bank as he stood at the forest line, debating on whether to pursue the heron he’d been tracking for three hours. Now here he was, stuck in the mud, struggling to pull his legs from slushy brown goo. With nothing to grab onto, his strains were futile.
Damn it! he yelled to the dismal air and brushed his muddied hand against a brow, wiping a loamy streak over the beads of sweat at his temple.
A lone, coy bird sang a long note to answer him, and then all was silent again.
Irritated, Max tried to kick his legs forward, but the wet soil was firmly molded around them, refusing to budge or bend. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted a bluish-gray blur at the edge of the bank. Dipping its beak into the water for a drink was the heron he’d been chasing. It was just Max’s luck the frigging bird would approach him when he couldn’t do a thing about it.
The heron lifted its long neck and eyed Max trapped in the marsh. Realizing it was well out of harm’s way, it lingered at the water, watching with what Max would swear was a bemused expression.
A lot of good you are, standing there useless to me, Max cursed the bird. All you’re good for is being mounted on my wall.
The heron blinked at Max and turned to amble away from the ornery man, which left Max alone again to dwell on the circumstances which led him into this predicament, stuck in a swamp with nowhere to go.
– Written by Miss A on July 31, 2012