Sally, Part 40
Stacey quickly hung his sack on a tree branch and gathered as many cherries as he could in his shirt. They were sweeter than he'd anticipated. Immediately, he started thinking of what he'd do with something so delicious. Maybe in different circumstances, maybe if he had the opportunity to cook with fresh produce, with fresh picked cherries like this, he'd be more fond of the land, but next to a suddenly kind Syrin, and below an untrusted Mattias, Stacey could only enjoy his sweet, red dinner without the daydream of cooking with them.
Mattias dropped down, sack in one hand, and the bottom of his cherry filled shirt in the other. "I fear we'll not eat like this again in some time. Glad this tree hadn't been picked by the shepherds yet." His lips were already dyed from eating some while in the tree.
Both of the other men grunted in agreement, but didn't stop popping more into their mouths and spitting out the pits. The three sat there, at the base of that tree, eating greedily for over an hour. No words were spoken after Mattias's observation. All three thought of the road ahead. Of course, Stacey knew little but that he was on a dangerous journey, but the other two walked it in their minds. The mountains just ahead, the swamp that lie on the other side, the forest beyond that, and the slavers' camp that would be in the fields beyond the forest. Stacey was right, it would be dangerous. There would be little chance to sit beneath a tree, or truly enjoy a meal, or even walk without watching to see if they were being followed. None of them could think of anything else, and none wanted to talk about it, in case one of their colleagues had figured out how to, so they sat in silence, enjoying, as best they could, a last quiet moment beneath the blue sky, and yellow sun, amid grass and the distant baa of sheep being herded by loving shepherds. It was too fragile a scene for words, so they just sat, and soaked in what they could.