SDC May: Mercy Swamp

I wouldn’t believe it if this hadn’t happened to me and the guys. And let me tell you I’ll never forget the look on those things faces or ours. We’re supposed to be gone only for a weekend camping. Things didn’t turn out that way after meeting’em we’ve been missing two weeks. But it sure felt longer. Anyway, let me start at the beginning. We set up on the marshy bank of Mercy Swamp at dusk on Thursday. Air out here tastes rotten, smells even worse when it’s humid.

I notice an old log in the shape of one of those sandcastle tops. It’s lit up and from the looks of it, something’s inside it. I decide saying anything’s a bad idea so, I just go on putting the canvas down on the marshy, muddy ground since it just rained night before. I prop up my turqious tent in the corner closest to a big bald cypress tree facing the sandcastle shape tree trunk.

Want to keep my eyes peeled in case. Never know with these old swamps when a gator or something might come out and get you. While Charlie built the firepit to cook on in the center of the camping site. First night went okay other than too many skeeters biting and frog song, crickets chirp as a fog set in over the swamp water. After dusk the next day, things take a different turn of events. Weird creatures fly out of the strange looking stump. Harvey brushing it off as just fireflies, so we ignore ’em the rest of the night.

Until about one o’clock in the morning. When the sound of what we can only describe as a smaller version of a BB gun wake us up. By the time I bolt outside, Charlie’s already out staring down one of ‘em. While Jerry’s fighting with his tent. Others are airborne above our heads.

Leo’s all tied up at the moment with a problem of their own being drug toward the small structure. I actually chuckle at seeing a small army of ’em carrying him away. How can small beings overwhelm such a large man? He ain’t living this one down. Ever!

As I sprang forward, I try grabbing one of Leo’s legs when something jumps up on my shoulder with a sudden sharp object aiming at my head. Have a realization that I may have joked about Leo’s predicament too soon. Judging by my trouble.

I know I’m big enough to overpower ’em, but I think I now understand why the boys are so cooperative in their own capturing. I want to see inside that thing too. We soon are grateful for it when even stranger creatures lay an attack on this little place. Which now seems larger than I thought. Much larger for such a tiny stump.

And we seem to shrink down fast to their sizes. Nobody felt anything as it’s happening looking at each other tryin’ to convince one another to talk. When finally my neck kinks, I give up. “I’m Danny, what’s yours? Some nice digs you got here. “I feel a sense of relief once I blurt it out and slump back a little. Thankfully, my voice is still normal and I realize nobody’s goin to answer my question. Inside this place looking like it’s out of one of those kings, queens and knights’ era.

The strangest thing ever! Bronze color lanterns hanging everywhere lighten the entire place up. The strange beings who appear to look like us, standing all around us. Staring us all up and down like we’re insects. In darker part of the room someone comes out of the shadows.

I can only figure they’re some elder by how it’s dressed. His nostrils flair like a cat sniffing the air and turns away quick, speaks in another language we can’t understand, once he finished turned back. Opening his mouth to speak, we’re shocked by the size of cannonballs that are as big as snowballs coming through. Waves a wooden staff toward the windows and doorway as he turns to us approaches carefully. His emerald eyes shone through his gray, scruffy brows.
Will you help us? We know you are not with them or of their species. He said. After two centuries of peace between our people, we are unsure why they attack us now. I will admit we suspected you of being spies. But now. I realize that is wrong.

It doesn’t explain why the sudden attack. Soon as we agree to help, the elder man unties us. Taking a couple of days to explain everything to us as they treat us well as guests instead of prisoners in their war.

Soon as he let us in on the gist of what’s going on for the past few centuries, we realize we really should’ve not taken the vacation days after all. This isn’t what any of us signed up for. What I’d give to be back in my bed or even at work.

Factory work is nothing compared to this and that’s saying something for a bunch of guys usually rather be on vacation instead of work. But of course here we are in the middle of MercySwamp in a war we didn’t sign up for or want to be in. Thing is, the stories he’s talkin about just make little sense. Though I didn’t publically state it. I just silently hoped day after day we’d escape and leave them warring to themselves.

The fifth day I’s feeling blind as a bat by all the bright fire lit cannon balls and arrows being aiming at the place for hours. By sunrise next mornin, they’d stopped hittin us. Don’t know why, just glad it’s over.. for now. All the noise and bright light’s getting to us.

Nothing else popped up the rest of the mornin’ or afternoon, leaving a mostly peaceful day. We’ve even got to stay untied. Guess we earn their trust? Either way, I’m not complain’n happy to be out of the shackles. Me and the boys find a space to talk so they can’t hear us. Don’t dare leave this blasted place. No clue what they’ll do to us. If we try to, we don’t want to tempt fates too soon. Although that’s one thing Leo’s suggestin’ doing first – me.. not so sure about it. Though I doubt very much their tiny arrows can hurt us once we are back to our size. But, if there’s a chance we don’t return to normal or get to leave? What then? Next day and a half gets a little dicey for us as we’re tryin to work our way out of here. Faster!

Attacks start up again in the middle of the night of the sixth day. Luckily, we all cover our faces soon as we heard their cannons coming toward us. Blunder with a blanket over blockin’ out the bright lights and find each other is some tricky manueverin’ so much stuff around here you’d think they’re horders. Anyhow, after stubbing our toes three, four or more times finally finding each other. As we run and hide, not just from the noise and bright light. We also don’t wanna alert them to the conversation about possibly pushing our luck and getting out of here.

When we all trip over something and fall over. Blankets we have over us disappear as I’m hit or something and knock out flat. Wake up finding myself miles away from the stump on the other side of the swamp. I can’t find the boys anywhere and I didn’t realize they’re still in there. While I’m out here in the middle of the part of the place, I’ve never been to. It’s just after dawn, at least there’s daylight for a while. Stumble to my feet peering down east, west, north and south tryin to gauge where I am. Deciding to go what I think is north, hoping to run into the campsite soon. But after a few hours of wandering endlessly through the swamp, run into the other ones. This is where the second part of our adventure gets really interesting and a bit more unnerving.Sun’s brighter than a flame through the trees and over me. My skin burns all over where my arms and face exposed, as use my hand as a shade over my eyes when I don’t have a tree to shade me. Sweat bees swarm all around with the skeeters while I make my way.

Where I’m stop and peer off a few feet from me. See something odd moving in the brush ahead of me. Not sure if it’s a gator or some wild dog or cat. But I cautiously tiptoe through taller grass and weeds to see if I can get a closer look without spookin’ it. To my dismay, it’s another creature like the ones that kidnaps us. This one’s a bit on the ugly side than the last ones. They are a lot uglier! Grayish green wrinkle skin shining in the sunlight as it wipes sweat from its face. Clothing looks like it’s in the old army of knights of Camelot, only an alternate universe version. I dive into some high brush so he or she can’t spot me. It doesn’t know I’m watchin it thankfully. At least that is what I thought until getting knock out.. again!

A few hours later, one being poured water over my face to wake me. And put the pail over my head bangin it like a drum. Wave my sunburnt arms frantically as I try to take a breath to keep from drownin while swallowing what I hope is water. Shaking my head feverishly gettin most of the soaking off me. Inside of this place reminds me of a dungeon. Much darker, barely any light, if at all with wooden walls of trophies.

I’m guessin conquests? Not so much. Junk lies around the place, mostly empty brass cups and plates that look like they’ve not touched any water in quite some time. At least, the other place smells better. Now my mind floods with I should have stayed put, I should have stayed put. I also have to figure out how to break outta here. Previous place easy peasy, a little too easy considering how I got here. Unfortunately, the place won’t be. These aren’t talkers, just grunt orders while shoving what looks like pitchforks in me. Dinner here is less appetizing and gross, even for me. I just stick to water and what I think could be broth.. I hope, at least, it doesn’t taste or smell worse than anything else here. Just bide my time until they rescue me. Hours pass and I lose the time of day. It isn’t until. The cannons pick up again a day or two later or longer, not sure anymore, this time from other side. I realize I’m wearing a wristwatch with a calendar. It’s now a week and four days after we first went on the trip or missin.

Only pray the families haven’t written us off by now and sold my prize collection of various fish statues.The whistle of the cannonballs are gettin to close for comfort coming through with the arrows. One hit in the left leg and right shoulder knockin me to the ground as well as they storm the place.

One fighter grabbing ahold of me lifts me off the ground flyin off towards their place. So far, so good, he dodges every arrow and fire cannon.

We make our way back to relative safety. I realize suddenly the boys aren’t there. When the old man informs me they fought to help rescue me. As I demand to be taken back to find my friends. I pass out flat onto the wood floor. Not considering the loss of blood when they hit me in an artery. By the time we wake from unconsciousness, we’re back in the place we started. Our campsite. All healed up from the looks of it, not even a trace of what happened to us physically. That’s when we packed up fast and head back.

That’s it, that’s everything, sheriff Garson. The odd sandcastle stump in the middle of the swamp fell into the waters. We never saw them again after those two strange weeks.

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