Rodger looked at his watch. One and a half hours. He paced back and forth. Looked again. Two hours. They were not coming back.
‘Shit,’ Rodger circled around the tree. What now? He could not possibly reach the hole on his own. ‘Shit,’ he covered his face in his hands.
No, wait. Perhaps he was overreacting. Perhaps they would be back in the morning. Yes, that was more likely. They just did not think that it was necessary with the seaweed. And he really should be grateful that he was not going to be drenched in cold seawater for once. So there was nothing else to do than get some sleep and wait for the morning.
He sat down on his rucksack with his back against the tree. Closed his eyes. Took a deep breath. Shifted his position. Took several more deep breaths. The praying mantis seemed to be attracted by the flute music. No, not just ‘seemed’, the Spiral had made it clear that it was attracted by the flute music. And they had been playing the flute all day.
Who was he kidding? They had left him here to die. And perhaps that was best. In this dimension they just wanted to get rid of him. And in his own dimension no one cared if he was there or not. Except Frederick. Frederick had been… Frederick. Almost like a big brother. Sometimes he had been annoying, but mostly he had been the best friend Rodger had ever had. Frederick would probably blame himself the rest of his life if he came home without Rodger.
That was no good. Rodger rose to his feet. He could not give up without trying. But he had tried. And he had found a way. And the way out had slipped between his fingers. Or thrown a rock at him and gone back to the ocean.
And why had they done that? Because he got a little impatient? He paced up and down the path staring at the place where they had disappeared into the waves. Would they not have done the same in his position? It was not as if he hurt the Spiral. That damned Flute Bearer just overreacted to every little thing. And the Spiral just tagged along.
Had he not saved them both when the praying mantis attacked? They should be thankful. Was a little help to much to ask in return? Ungrateful little bastards. He picked up a stone and threw it into the waves.
‘I hope it knocks you cold!’ he shouted at the sea and tossed another. And one more. He went back to the tree breathing heavily.
He squatted down beside the tree resting one hand on the bark. He could feel a beginning headache. Probably his body telling him he was exhausted. And this shouting and tossing stones was not helping. He settled down with his back against the tree. He had to rest. At least until morning. He checked his watch. At least without them tagging along he should be able to reach the place much faster.
Rodger woke with a start and looked at his watch. But he could just as well have looked at the sky. The sun had only just crept over the horizon revealing a sky completely devoid of clouds. Rodger sighed. Was the weather taunting him as well now? He rummaged through his rucksack. He still had plenty of food left. He tossed a packet of biscuits to the ground. And what did that matter if he did not get back? He massaged his temples. Tossing biscuits did not help either.
After a light breakfast he took one last look at the tree and moved on towards the hole in the sky.
Read part one here: