MENTAL ESSENCE
PAGE 38
    "If I wake up with things crawling out of my head, kill me quick." said Emmer.
    Semma turned her head and smiled.
    "On second thought, I'll eat something else." Emmer said, looking Semma in the eyes.
    It was more difficult to sleep that night then the one before.  There were just as many bugs, plus the metallic smell that at times made them cough.
    In the morning, they decided to head straight to the Red Swamp of Saphray.
    "It's getting harder to breath.  Does it get much worse?" ask Cree.
    "Some." said the guide.
    As they drew close to swamp, their eyes began to water.
    "Well, there are no insects, and that's a plus." said MB.
    Right about then they walked onto a patch of rocks with obviously wormer attributes.
     "Around this is the swamp." said the guide pointing to lava looking outcropping.
    When they stepped around the outcropping, they were stunned by to beauty of what they were expecting to be a rancid swamp.
    "Wow." said Emmer.
    "Gad.  I am impressed." said Semma.
    The others had similar verbal's.  Before them lay a world in shades of red.  Trees were encased in varying shades of red iron compounds.  The weight of the metallic substance had removed the leaves, and that left eerie looking red tree skeletons.  What looked like had ounce been bushes seemed to have suffered the same affliction.
    "This is one of the most incredible sights I have encountered.  And I have seen a lot." said MB.
    The suffuse of the swamp was not liquid, but rather large flat odd shaped layers of sheets of red metallic formations.  Some were dull, and some had huge knobby like structures which glistened and sparkled as if they were encrusted with gems.
    "How far doe's this extent?" asked Emmer.
    "Far.  Days walk." said the guide, moving his arm in a three-quarter circle.
    "Can anyone else hear that?" Cree asked.
    They listened intently.  The slight breeze was knocking, rubbing, and sliding the metal encrusted forms over and against each other.
    "It sounds like a symphony." said Hiret.
    "The wind chimes on Mornous can't compare to this." MB stated.
    "Many sound catchers come here." said the guide referring to those who came here to record the sounds.
    "I could live right in the middle of this place if it didn't smell so bad." Cree said.
    "It's not just the smell.  Sensors indicate there is an overwhelmingly high leave of heavy metals in the air.  We should not stay much longer." Emerr said.
    "Of course.  If it were not lethal, the place would be packed with tourist loggings." Cree said.
    "Good air." The guide said pointing to the right.
    A short time later, they were standing on the rim of an old lake.  The lake had filled in naturally, and was now a flowerbed with the exact opposite fragrance of the red swamp.
    "Wow again." said Hiret.
    The rest indicated their exuberant acceptance of the change in difference.
    "OK, why aren't there housing complexes all over this place? asked MB.
    "We say no." said the guide.
    "That's why the broacher said this planet was kept primitive." Cree added.
    "Can we stay here tonight?" ask Cree.
    "If you like.  Through trees Coral Sea." the guide said, looking to a thin green line on the other side of the flowers.
     "Sea food!  Let's go." said Emmer.
    They walked through the flowers occasionally stopping to admire some of the more magnificent specimens.
    "To bad there's not a way to get this fragrance on the Red Swamp." said Hiret, taking a really deep sniff.
    "Usually, I'd be sneezing.  This is great on two levels." said MB.
    "Is it permitted to take samples, or seeds?" asked Cree.
    "Even if it were, no planet would let you bring in florin species." Semma replied.
    "Ya, I guess you're right.  Too bad." said Cree.
    It took several hours to reach the shore Coral Sea.
    "Is there a fresh sea hut around here?" asked Emmer.
    " No.  No live any place but villages." the guide said.
    "That explains the lack of beings.  I haven't seen anyone but us." said Cree.
    "Now that you mention it, I haven't even seen a foot print." said MB.
    "Where are the other tourists?" Hiret asked looking at the guide.
    "Gamble.  Play games.  Lots of cliks change hands." said the guide.
    "You mean all those transports in the docking lot belong to beings who come here to gamble?" Semma asked.
    The guide smiled and nodded his head.
    "Is there anyone taking this tour besides us?" Hiret asked.
    "No." the guide replied.
    They began laughing so hard, they could barely stand.  In fact, Emerr had to sit.
    "Now we have something we can write home about." said Semma between the laughs.
    Even the guide was laughing.
    "So, this is one great big casino?" asked Hiret.
    "Yap." replied the guide.
    The laughter continued.
    Still chuckling, MB waded into the water lapping at the shoreline.
    "This water feels almost hot." MB said as she made her way back on to the sand.
    "Worm." the guide said.
    "Let me guess, no fish." Emmer said.
    "Many fish.  Hard to get." the guide said.
    It was getting to the end of the day, so they made camp on the beach.
    "Am I the only one thinking of Minn?" sked Cree.
    "I was just thinking of the last meal we had there." said Emmer.
    "I make fire." the guide said.  He was still laughing a bit.