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Excerpt for The Tower of Babbling by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

The Tower of Babbling


SR Brown


Distributed by Smashwords


Copyright © 2019 SR Brown



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A lone lizard sits in the sand near a line of trees. Small and as brown as wet dirt, it sticks out like an oasis in the dry land and scurries from the rock it sat on under the mid-day sun. Tiny feet carry it to the short plants that manage to not wither so close to the oven hot winds the neighboring desert creates.

A vulture flies over, making the running creature now sprint for cover. Unwilling to risk that being a mistake. Claws pull it up the waxy trunk of the nearest tree and breathe in the shelter of a large leaf on the underside.

Only to fall as a snake twists on the branch, jaws open wide so needle-sharp teeth snap off its tail. The drop is not far, saved from injury by the thick curls of a man. Frozen as it tries to figure out if it escaped or dropped into more danger.


***


I don’t know how I did it, but I somehow managed to get this lost. My team is who the fuck knows where and I am almost in a desert... How is that possible? This arid of land is supposed to be hundreds of miles away. Then again, why are there trees similar to plants perfect for a wasteland in this area of rainforest? Not five minutes ago seeing thick jungle.

How—

Something hits the top of my head and pulls on my hair. A small lizard struggles as I tug it out, most of its tail missing as the stub slaps my fingers.

“Alright, alright, calm down,” setting the fearful creature in the thin grass to flee deeper in. I feel like I should do the same but wonder about testing my luck. Somehow no predators have found me, and the desert is an open space to send out a signal. Even I should put on more sunblock, step out and see if I can find some large stones or dry wood.

So that’s what I do. Not long to locate a huge stone flat enough to sit and build a fire. Another nearby. And another that’s smaller but could help spell a message. More close to me...a few right here, a couple good for throwing. I think I might just—

There’s a building in the distance as I pass a dune. No, not any ordinary construction, a tower. A—tall and round and jetting out of the earth—tower that in no way has any reason to be there. Let alone unheard of from any of the locals or the many books I read before arriving.

My head says it has to be a mirage. My curiosity screams to do what I flew to this land to do, explore. Both feet tripping in the sand while slapping lotion on my face and arms before my rational section of brain can stop me.

I must see what discovery will get me famous. This whole trek into bug-infested jungle worth the bites and fear of what’s behind me if this is real.

But I pause when the sheer size of the tower becomes apparent, so high my neck aches trying to count the windows that may mark levels. Bigger than most skyscrapers from even this century, I lose track at fifty as the sun gets in my eyes. No way to be sure if any were skipped or double counted as they blur the more I try to concentrate on the shining glass in the intense heat.


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