Moving Forwards part 2

‘Ouch,’ said Rodger as he shifted the ladder. His arms sore from where some of the rungs had hit him. He looked up at the hole and Frederick who had scribbled a message on his whiteboard.

‘Are you all right?’

Rodger checked all his limbs. Sore, but in working order. He showed Frederick a half-hearted thumb.

‘Good, wait,’ wrote Frederick and pulled himself inside. He reappeared about ten minutes later, but it felt like years to Rodger.

‘What the-’ Rodger turned his palms up and shook his head at Frederick.

‘The main generator overheated,’ scribbled Frederick, ‘but the backups are running fine now.’

Rodger wrinkled his brow. The project leader had told him that they would never need the backup generators, and that the main generator was flawless. In fact, everyone on the project had told him that nothing could possibly go wrong.

‘Shitheads,’ he whispered.

‘I don’t think it will happen again,’ wrote Frederick.

Rodger rolled his eyes.

‘What are you going to do?’ wrote Frederick.

Rodger frowned at the ladder. The wire. The safety line. Did they have anything else in the machine about forty metres long? He looked up at Frederick again.

‘I don’t have anything long enough to reach you.’ It said on the whiteboard. Rodger licked his lips. He swallowed.

‘Do you have anything down there that can help you?’

Rodger looked down at the ladder. Up at Frederick. At the sea. The stones. The wire. He shook his head.

‘You’ll have to find something.’

Rodger paced from the ladder to the water and back again. Rubbed his face in his hands, grabbed his hair.

‘Shit!’ he shouted, ‘fuck!’ He bit his nails. ‘How could they-’ He crouched down to look at the ladder. The ends had been severed as if they had never been attached to anything at all.

‘Shit.’ Rodger looked up. Frederick had written something again.

‘Are you all right?’

‘No, I’m-’ Rodger stopped himself, ‘all right,’ he took a deep breath, ‘I’m calm.’ He nodded at Frederick.

Frederickwiped the board clean and wrote.

‘The next jump is in 7 d 7 h and 33 min.’

So he had seven days to find something. Rodger checked his watch, counted the seconds. The hands seemed to be moving as they should. At least that was working. He took a mental note of the time. If he was not back in the machine when the next jump came…How many years would pass before they figured out how to give the machine a predefined destination? As he gazed along the stone path, a chill ran down his spine.

‘Can you give me a stun gun?’ Rodger shouted.

Frederickcupped his ear.

Rodger mimed pressing a trigger at someone and then froze as if stunned.

Frederickscribbled.

‘We haven’t tested that in this dimension yet.’

Rodger nodded.

‘I know,’ he shouted, ‘just give me the damn thing!’

Frederick paused.

Rodger threw out his arms to both sides.

‘Come on!’

Frederick went into the machine. When he came back, he carried a bundle. He made a shooing motion with his hand. Rodger covered his head with his arms and ran a few metres along the stones. Frederick threw the bundle and the wind only veered it slightly to one side before it met the stones with a crunch. Rodger flinched at the sound. He hurried to the bundle and unpacked it. It was made of spare clothes. They would be useful as well. Inside were the stun gun, unharmed, and a pack of biscuits, half of which were reduced to powder.

Rodger gave Frederick the thumbs up once more, stuffed the stun gun into his trousers and covered it with his jacket. Frederick wrote on the white board again.

‘I’ll throw you some more provisions, just in case.’

Rodger went out of range and sat down to inspect the stones. They had been sanded by the water. Completely smooth, but hard enough against a knee. He turned one over in his hands. It might be chalk. When he found a way back up he could bring one and they could find out. He sighed. There had to be more than water and stones on an entire planet.

A thump told him that the rest of his food had arrived. This time it was in a rucksack. He hoisted it onto his shoulders and checked his watch again. He waved up at Frederick. Frederick waved back and held up the white board.

‘Good luck.’

 

—————————–

This is part two. Read part one here:

Moving forwards part 1

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4 Comments

  1. I think I need to go back and read Part 1 of this story. I’m intrigued.

    Reply
  1. Moving Forwards part 3 « A Bolg?
  2. Moving Forwards part 4 « A Bolg?

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