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By Robert Edmond Alter

Swamp Sister by means of modify, Robert Edmond

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Sample text

Don't lose your skiff and you won't lose your head. " A gliding shadow came across the water, reached the skiff and made Shad's eyes flicker. He looked high and watched a pure white egret drift against the turquoise sky, heading for its rookery with a bill filled with wiggly things for its young. The bird cleared a stunted, dead cypress and banked for the north. Shad looked at the cypress, then fell to studying it. The tree actually wasn't stunted; it had been broken, sheared off at the top. A short dead limb stood out from the trunk near the top, and something round was caught in its fork.

The smell was bad. Dead. He had to come right out, bringing with him the vague impression of two dead men-- a clutter of old bones in parchment skins and baggy, dusty clothes. He wedged himself in the wing strut, waiting for the cabin to air. And he thought about the two dead men. "At least they went at it together," he said. " But the tragedy was four years old, and it was the death of strangers. He forgot about them and brought his mind back to the money. Suddenly he couldn't wait any longer.

Then he sat down on the thwart and looking up and around at the cypress wall, fished a cigarette from his shirt. He snapped a match with his thumbnail and held the flame to the tailor-made. The prow of the drifting skiff pared back a cluster of surface bonnets and went thung against a cypress root, setting a climbing cat squirrel into a nervous chatter of protest. Shad relaxed, feeling lulled and peaceful, smoking. He thought about the Money Plane. Four years now since the airplane went highballing overhead, crashed, and was swallowed on the spot by the swamp.

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