Luggage in hand he stepped off the train and onto the platform. Enar was one of the last to leave his car and by the time he was out the platform was full of people. Local anfylk were milling around, cheerfully greeting each other, chatting in small groups or just trying to make their way across the platform to the station house or to wherever else they had business being.
Tourists like Enar himself were only adding to the confusion. Toting big travel bags with little wheels and wearing modern clothes they stood out from the rest of the crowd. They got in the way or bumped into people as they tried figuring out what to do and where to go. Someone had dropped a cage of hens and the birds had gotten lose. A dog was barking and birds were screaming. It was a great big mess.
The brochure had said he'd be met at the station and transported to the village where his host family lived. There was no way he'd find anyone in this crowd even if he knew what they looked like so he decided the sensible course of action was to take it easy and wait until things quieted down a little. He shuffled off to the side and stood by the train hoping he wouldn't be in the way of anyone who was in a hurry.
It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining and there was no wind to speak of. It was warm enough that he'd soon get too hot in his coat and he decided to take it off before that happened. He folded it and carefully laid it on top of his luggage before settling in to wait.
The weather being nice was a great relief. Back home it had rained for nearly a week and the forecasts showed no sign of it stopping anytime soon. The seers at the office were all upset about it, claiming something about how the rain was unnatural. Enar wouldn't know. He was just an archivist and had no shamanistic skills whatsoever. Rain during summer annoyed him as much as the next guy but to him it was just rain. If he forgot his umbrella he'd be just as soaked, natural rain or not.
There was no risk of getting soaked here though. The sky was a clear blue and the sun warm and bright, unhindered by clouds. The station house was a big wooden building and the way it shone white in the sunlight it must have been freshly painted. Behind it little red and white houses could be seen nestled among trees in full bloom. It was very picturesque and Enar reached for his phone to take a picture before he remembered he wasn't supposed to do that.
Phones and cameras weren't part of life in the anetacht and the brochure had strongly warned him against taking any pictures where there was even a remote chance anyone could see him. It had even gone so far as to recommend he'd leave his camera and phone at home. Enar hadn't. Even knowing there was no coverage in the anetacht he'd felt weird about the thought of not having his phone with him. He'd be able to use it on the trip there and he could get some pictures of the burrow he'd stay in if he was careful not to let anyone see it.
The brochure hadn't gone into any greater detail about why he wasn't supposed to take pictures or bring any modern technology. He guessed doing so might violate some belief of the locals. Maybe he could ask someone about it later. He was sure the anfylk here didn't live in complete ignorance of the world outside, especially if they were taking in visitors. They'd probably have heard of cameras and such and would be willing to explain why he couldn't use them.
The crowd on the platform was thinning out. Over by the entrance to the station house he spotted a woman he'd not noticed before. She wore a little yellow suit that looked way too modern and very out of place. The woman was surrounded by a group of very tourist-looking men who all seemed to try to get her attention. Enar picked up his coat and started dragging his luggage in their direction. It rattled loudly over the uneven surface but the little wheels didn't break off and he soon joined the crowd around the woman. The tourists around her were all male and he wondered a little about that when she called out in a slightly stressed voice.
“Gentlemen! Please line up here one by one and have your order confirmations ready. I will direct you to your rides. No one will be left behind. Nice and orderly now please gentlemen.”
The group of men milled about, bumped into each other while digging through bags and pockets for their order confirmations and eventually, with much apologizing, managed to form a somewhat orderly line. The woman, Linda, by the nameplate on her jacket, checked their papers and ticked them off on a list. She handed them each a slip of paper with a number on and sent them off around the station house to find a horse and cart corresponding to the number.
“Enar Ryebloom? Yes, excellent, you're on cart number five with Hasse. Have a pleasant stay and enjoy your vacation Mr Ryebloom.”
Quick as that he was confirmed and dismissed. Around the corner of the station house was an open space where four carts with horses and drivers waited. A fifth was just leaving the area and yet another could be seen kicking up dust a ways further down the road. The carts were all neatly numbered and Enar had no trouble finding number five. It was packed full of apples and an old man who was very obviously the driver was helping two other tourists get their luggage up on top of the bulging sacks.
Enar approached, trying not to look nervous and introduced himself.
“Mr Hasse? I'm Enar Ryebloom, the lady from Roots said I was to ride with you.”
“Ryebloom? I'll remember that as far as my Rosalove can throw you. Ha! She's a fine horse my Rosalove, she never throws nobody. Hop you on lad and off we go. You can sit on the apples. They're for cider anyway so it don't matter none if they're dented.”
The man was old and worn, by weather and by time. His skin was leathery and his eyebrows bushy and grey. He wore a faded old waistcoat over an equally faded linen shirt that left his arms bare and which had probably once been blue or maybe white. A pair of brown jeans covered his legs but had been cut off below the knees to reveal grey hair long and coarse enough to rival the mane of the horse. To top it all off the old man wore a checkered flat cap as worn as everything else about him. As faded as he looked Hasse soon turned out to be colorful enough in his own right. Cursing, yelling and laughing the old man got his horse and cart moving and soon they were out of the village and on the road trundling along.
Continued in Day 1 - Scene 2 - Part 2
Back to Enar's Vacation.