Swamped Chapter 31 Page 10

“Can I have a turn at that?”

Strings shrugs.

“Sure, if you think you can deal with this old thing. What do you want to play?”

“You already played a request for me, so why don’t I play something for you this time?”

She gives that some thought.

“At my last performance with the troupe, we played ‘Don’t Play By the River’. I find myself humming it when I’m stressed out. I suppose for all the mess that it turned into, I still miss my old life.”

Well, you know that one well enough. It’s one of the first songs Simone taught you.

The piano really is old, but you can work with it. You haven’t played in a good month – it’s just too unwieldy to bring a piano along on expeditions, after all. But you’re not that out of practice, and by the time you get through the first chorus line, you’ve more or less worked out how to compensate for the more troublesome keys.

When you finish, Strings applauds enthusiastically.

“Nice, nice. How long have you been playing?”

“Off and on since I was fifteen or so.” You find yourself staring at the piano. “So what are you planning to do when this old thing finally falls apart? It can’t be easy for a bunch of exiles in a swamp to get another piano.”

“We’ll manage,” Strings says with a shrug. “It’d be nice if we could count on getting a replacement, but we can’t. That’s just how it is.”

You’re honestly starting to like her. Maybe that’s just because everyone else you’ve met in this swamp has been so unpleasant.

Of course, you imagine she won’t help you get out of here. Which is still all you really want. But on the other hand – every escape attempt you’ve made so far has gone wrong for one reason or another. Maybe you can put up with this stupid place for a day or so if Strings is the only person you have to see.

What should you do? Wait, or come up with a plan?

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you’d rather hang out with strings than escape right now, this is fun

Interspecies romance, stat.

dang, these tunes really make you think of home. Playing with Simone safe in the cool of the underground, amid the bustle of the colony, the aroma of scent-sand in the air…

…Wait you do smell scent-sand. Strings do you smell that?