When the light faded Rodger’s eyelids grew heavy. He forced his eyes open. Just a bit further. Perhaps the mist would disappear during the night? If he could at least see something new on the horizon before he slept.
He shivered. Walked faster. But the chill had settled in his bones. Perhaps he was more tired than he had thought? He sighed. It was no use fighting his own body. On the next island, he chose the tree nearest the middle of the island. That was as far from the water as he could get.
He used his rucksack as a pillow and lay down. Closed his eyes. The mist stirred behind him. Something was coming. Something dark and slimy was crawling out of the mist. He sat up. Turned. Trying to look in all directions at once. There was nothing there. Just mist.
He cursed himself. Of course there was nothing. He had been on the edge of dreams. He flumped back down. Still exhausted, but his eyes no longer wanted to relax and every time he tried to sleep images of slimy things crawled into his brain. Think about something else, he thought. Think about something else. But it did not expel the images.
At least the crawling things would not be able to get to the dimension machine either. Or at least he hoped they had no way of getting to the machine. And Frederick. No, he was scaring himself again. The slimy thing or things seemed to live in the water. It would make no sense for them to be able to fly.
He wondered what Frederick was doing. Alone in the dimension machine. Probably reading a book. Frederick had brought a couple into the machine before their departure.
‘What are those for?’ Rodger had asked, ‘we’re going to a new dimension. There’ll be loads to see.’
‘Just in case I have to wait for something for a long time,’ said Frederick. ‘I’m terrible at waiting, but if I have a good book, well, time just seems to fly.’
‘What have you chosen for your potential waiting then?’ Rodger held out his hand. Frederick gave him the books. Rodger studied the front covers.
‘Waiting for Godot?’ said Rodger, ‘isn’t this the one where nothing happens?’
‘Pretty much,’ said Frederick.
‘And Neverwhere? what’s that about?’
‘Haven’t begun reading that one.’
‘And Life of Pi. Never heard of it before.’
‘No? It’s really good, you should read it. It’s about a boy who survives two hundred and something days on a lifeboat after a shipwreck. With a tiger as his only company.’
‘Yeah a tiger.’
‘Sounds like rotten luck,’ said Rodger.
When Rodger thought about it now, he would rather sleep beside a tiger than in the middle of this mist.
This is part 7, read part 1 here: