Moving Forwards part 18

‘Oh, come on,’ said Rodger. In three strides he was behind the Flute Bearer and snatched the flute from its hand. ‘I won’t let you ruin my only chance.’ He gave the flute back to the Spiral and glared at the Flute Bearer. The Flute Bearer glared back, but did nothing more to stop the Spiral.

The music made all the trees react at once. They uncurled and stretched towards them. Rodger’s heart beat faster. As they went to the path again, Rodger kept an eye on the Flute Bearer. The Flute Bearer ignored him and instead kept glancing into the sky.

When they reached the border between the stones and the earth, they paused to cut the net holding the earth and one of the trees swam out to them. Ever so slowly.

‘Can’t you make it go any faster?’ Rodger pointed at the tree and jerked his hand towards the hole in the sky. The Spiral saw him, but kept playing its slow tune, and the tree continued at the same pace.

‘You could make the branches move quickly,’ Rodger pointed at the tree and reached out in front of him as if trying to catch some invisible insect. ‘Why not the roots?’ He mimed wading through water with slow dragging steps. The Flute Bearer was studying him intently and with… amusement? It made a small chortling sound and gurgled something to the Spiral. The Spiral stopped playing to cover its face in its hands. The spluttering that followed might very well be laughter.

‘Hey,’ said Rodger, ‘stop it!’

The Flute Bearer looked very smug.

‘And you,’ Rodger pointed at the Flute Bearer, ‘I don’t see you trying to make yourself understood.’

The Flute Bearer looked away.

‘Argh, look,’ Rodger stepped in front of the Flute Bearer, ‘It seems what you want most is to get rid of me. So,’ Rodger picked up a small stone, ‘imagine this is me,’ Rodger pointed to himself then the stone, ‘If you get me up there,’ he pointed to the hole in the sky, ‘I’ll be gone,’ he closed his hand around the stone, let it disappear into his jacket sleeve and opened his hand. ‘Gone.’

The Flute Bearer studied his empty hand.

‘Do you get it?’ Rodger flipped his hand over to show there was nothing there. ‘Gone. I’ll be out of your hair.’

The Flute Bearer turned away from him.

‘If you had any hair.’

It slithered closer to the island, cut some more of the net and loosened the earth with its hands. While the Spiral was still laughing, it began to play.

The tree moved a little faster now, but not much. Rodger waited for the tree to reach the stones then strode off in front. When the music seemed to grow distant, he stopped and looked back. The tree was about halfway between him and the island. He put a hand to his forehead. This could not be happening. He finally found life. He finally found help. He finally found the solution to his problem. Was everything going to be ruined just because his ‘solution’ was too slow?



Read part one here:

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