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tell no tales

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The old man rocks on his porch, peering out across the bayou. Lightning bugs blink through the moss that drapes the trees. He takes a deep breath of the thick, humid air. Nothin’ like a lazy evening, taking in the deep blue of the post-sunset hours. 

His lined face creases into a smile as he plucks out a halting tune on his old banjo. Won’t win any awards for technique, now, maybe, but the music is a comfort to him — and he doesn’t have much of any audience, anyway, ‘sides the frogs and the odd alligator drifting past. Oh Susanna, that’s a good tune. The melody spools out from the plucked strings. 

The crickets sing along to his playing. After so many years lived in the wilds of Louisiana, the old man has come to appreciate how alive the bayou is. The air and water teem with critters, and he mostly gets along with them alright. Save for those pesky skeeters. He slaps one that’s landed on his arm, and a drop of blood blooms from it. He wipes his hand on his overalls. 

There’s a light moving off in the distance — the unmistakable glow of a lantern. He shakes his head in mild exasperation. Must be more foolish adventurers, sailing past his humble little shack, never to come back. ‘Leastwise, he never sees them return. Packed into their little boats, eyes wide, searching for buried gold or pirates or some such nonsense — he’s never been quite sure what all the fuss is about. Better to keep to the places you know, where you have a warm place to rest your head and the promise of freshly caught crawfish for dinner. It’s no good to wander off into the strange, dark places of the wilderness. 

The sound of the frogs croaking their evening vespers is near deafening. He leans back in his chair and closes his eyes. It’s none of his concern, anyway. If squalls should come — they’ll just have to keep a weather eye out for themselves, won’t they?