The shifting muck of Malady Bog is well known for consuming entire shacks and coughing up strange ruins. Little things may go unnoticed among the weeds and brambles. Even the smallest scrap has a story to tell sometimes. One such scrap was found by the mutant witch, Ccindy Pfeffer. After bartering for food, she shared her knowledge and pointed me to look for myself among the twigs and mud.
The following passages were copied from a small notebook found near a bog body, a victim of the toxic haze that consumed Bloodmoss Swamp several moons ago:
((Much of this writting is scrawled poorly in charcoal on very worn paper, each paragraph denotes a new entry.))
MePauh fund dis green book with gud paper in it today and gives it to me. MeMaw said I shuld praktis writtans. She sez its importunt becuz witoht it we cant learn frum duh pass or tell warns to duh futre. So I take time to be rightan all dee importunt days in here. Muhby I get so gud, I read old wurld books.
It’s sum duh ys after duh duble moon of duh seasun of Voilent Winds. Maws’ been yappin’ at duh muties, tryin’ta make up fer when we assiduntily borrow’d der tent during tha sandstorm. Dey didn’ta like it wen we did it — but is nothin’ a few raw buzzrds can fix. Pauh usta say if yuh make a mutie angry give him sum food and share a story. Den all will be right. Muties love stories.
It’s been extra hot dis seasun of duh Fire King, I dunt remumber if it’s duh duble or tri moon. Tuhday Pauh showd me his secrit diggin spots, where he gets duh best scrap to trade. Lots of duh old wurl stuff dunt make sense to me or Pauh. On duh way to duh masheen Pauh shot an angry dog with his bow. We had a dog named Wrinkl, but we had to eat him durin tuff times. You culd say hes still wit us in spirit and body.
Wen we got to duh masheen wit our scrap, it wus jammd. We spunt all time dere tryin’ta fix it, move duh clog. We tought we dun got if fixt, but it started to smoke when we loaded duh dog and chafin fuel in. I tell Pauh, maby when duh metul man comes he will fix it like he always do. Pauh toll me dat he hurd rumors dat duh metal man dunt fix duh masheens no more, and dat he wanders duh sands lookin fer sumpin he cant find. I tink he will come. Dese masheens be here older dan time. Metul man can not fix dem right? is what he fer.
Pauh said it is time to hoard dat duh dark days is comin’ again. We took sum of duh scrap we beed savin to duh masheen, but duh masheen wuz black like it wuz on fire. We spunt a few days lookin fer duh food man. He is scary ugly. He must walk duh sands a lot. When we find him he wuz on de edge of the villuge headin’ out. He travulz a lot and sees sum stuff — he sez dat duh masheen is broke and duh settulmunt will fall to duh sands. He goin east to the last great settulmunt duh wuztlunds. I laff becuz no one ever make it over duh great smulder mountun. He sez you has to go in and under to not get sick. He ugly and dum too. We trade a lot of scrap for food.
It so cold at night. Maw wuz yellin at Pauh because we can’t make duh fire makers at duh masheen anymore.
A big beetle came into our home. Pauh killed it, den he showd me where it’s soft spots are so that I can kill one. I like cooked beetle, dey taste like nuts from duh ground.
Pauh says we need to move, but Maw wants to stay. I think Maw is right to stay becuz its too cold. But lots of people have already left.
Wit no food man and no masheen it is hard. Pauh is out almost all days lookin fer scrap or huntin’ in duh cold. I start to help and look too becuz I am hungry. I found clan of mutants and trade them some spices and a story for them to help us make fire. Dey say is you hit metal on sum rock it makes the Fire King happy. Pauh wuz upset that I trade some spice for fire, but I think he happy we stay warm at night.
Tonight a big beetle came into our home again. I killed it. Maw made me a hat from its shell.
Bad news! Pauh came home covered in blood. He said a big snake bit him and he has the inside sickness. Even when he wuz sick he found a book fer me. Pauh is very sick, so I will go to get food and medkits in the morning. Maw wants to stay to make him better.
I went to duh masheen, but I forgot it is broke. I wanted to trade for medkits for Pauh, but almost all people are gone. Dere wuz only one family left, but dey had no medkits to trade. So I go home, but I remember story from mutants about manimals who know what roots make sickness go away. I camp alone tonight to find them later.
I spend all day to go to yellow hills, but I do not find manimals. I only find ghoul sitting in water, I stayd away. I don’t like manimals, but I don’t like the dead more. Pauh says manimals are gross and dirty and stupid liars, but I need medkits real bad, and mutants say dey know. I keep all scrap I find to give to dem.
I find big rat den in morning and eat rat, save some for later. I spent a lot of day in yellow hills. Maw sez yellow mold is good for you, but it is gross. At high sun I find a manimal at a dead trader camp. I wuz afraid becuz he prolly kilt them, but Pauh needs medkits so I hide and shout. Manimal find me but do not eat me. It is hard to talk to manimal, and I had to use baby words and draw shapes in the mud. He do not speak gud like I do. Manimal pull two roots and plant from sack. He chewed them up, eat them, then throw up into small jars. He want rat for vomit. I laff but he insist. Manimal don’t want scrap, so I leave it dere. I dunno but Pauh is sick so I make trade.
I run home for two days, but have to hide in car trunk because of fly swarm. Dat ghoul wuz still dere, mebby he dead or maybe he just ghoul. In duh morning I bring Pauh medicine.
((The next few pages are torn out))
We have to go now that Pauh is buried. I want to burn him like duh mutants do, but Maw want to put him in duh ground. In duh morn we take duh food and try to go to duh wuztlunds. It are far away and we dunt have sandhippo and cart like otha familes.
It bee many days now. Maw and I make it thro green valley, but had to cover selves in stinkmud to keep the burn bugs off. Maw tries to not cry, but I hear her when I sleep. I try to be strong like Pauh so she no feel bad. I think it make her sadder.
((This entry is almost unreadable))
Maw go to food. Snake bite. She cry all time. I say I am bad, you are good. You no go, I am good. Arm big now. Dog vomit taste so bad. Sleep.
Sand hippo meat is rotten and water is filled with bugs. When I gots up, Maw wuz not here. I think I sleep for many days. Arm is sore, but not look like bloated river squirrel. I will wait for Maw, she probably on long scav run for medkits.
It be many days, and I call for Maw all times. It hard becuz I am sleepy, dog vomit make me feel better but gross.
((A page is torn out))
I think Maw is lost, so I will leave a write here so she know to meet me before Smuldering Mountun at the trader post. She did not take much supply so she not be gone too far right?
I find a very old man today who live at edge of long flats. He say he saw a woman who look like Maw head to trader post many days ago. He trade me some bacon for yellow mold. Good deal for me!
((The writting is evidently strained))
I found Maw, she is dead now. Someone cut her up bad and took her things when she wuz sleeping. I will find dem, and I will kill. I burned Maw like da mutants do — so dat her rage could go to the sun, and burn our enemies in the day. Mutants say us paleskins cant handle the gaze of the Fire King, which is why we live underground. MeMaw and MePauh would want nothing less than revenge. I keep Pauhs’ book, and I keep Maws’ sandal.
It have been a long time, but the trader post is gone. It wuz good shelter for the night, but crawling with crag sliks by morning. Nothing but bone and tough skin on those. Not worth the fire to cook ’em on. I can smell Smuldering Mountun from here. I better make it across in a day. Pauh says you can’t sleep there because of the fumes.
I made it across Smuldering Mountun, but it took three days of hiking. I feel really sick. Duh food man is probably right, I wish I knowed dat tunnel. A days rest and I should be ready to head to Bludmoss Swump.
((This final entry seems slurred and loose in writting))
Dah Bludmoss wuz blooming. Br~~~ i ~~~ rd. One more day and I should make it to dah w~~lunds. But~~~eed to rest first. ~~~~~