An odd week. My life in most respects is ordinary, but this week has been strange. I’ve been deeply distracted but have managed to work hard, the main reason being the mutual support and encouragement of a couple of lovely people.
Equally important, old Mrs Woosencraft is about to take her afternoon nap in…
Chapter 81 – To Sleep
It wasn’t easy to fall asleep when people expected you to. Although Tim was very tired and comfortably settled onto Mrs Woosencraft’s settee he just couldn’t do it.
Once Mrs Woosencraft drew the curtains she dropped off with no trouble. Now she lay in her chair with her hands folded over her tummy and her feet on a low footstool. Despite being asleep there was an air of expectation about her.
Tim’s mind was still full of the past day’s astonishing events: the sinking ship, the great swim, Jarglebaum and Koponen’s unknown fate, the shark women’s transformation and wild revelations.
A shadow passed over Tim’s face. Foxy kissed his forehead. ‘I’m going into the kitchen,’ she whispered. ‘Go to sleep.’
Tim found himself thinking about the flies under the lampshade in his room. During their swim to shore he had seen small shoals of fish circling under floating mats of weed, discarded fishing nets, waterlogged pallets and other debris. Foxy had said such places were refuges, the fish were hiding.
What were the flies hiding from, he wondered? They were safe, he didn’t mind them being there. They should land and have a rest. Maybe it was safer for them to keep on the move. He zoomed in closer and flew with the flies. His office expanded to became a titanic space filled with vast objects like the valleys of Colorado.
I think I’m asleep now, he thought.
And he was.
Tim opened his eyes into a room bled dry of colour. Mrs Woosencraft looked up at him from her sleeping body. He reached down and drew her out. She took one look at her own form, and nodded. In the kitchen Foxy sat colourless and still, both she and the room looked like they were drawn on pieces of paper in astonishing detail. Tim led Mrs Woosencraft into the garden.
Gale-winds blew out to sea, the monochrome sky streaked with tattered clouds streaming like wind-torn banners. Mrs Woosencraft jumped up onto his back, lighter than a feather. Tim thought a single word – Asklepios. For a moment he struggled against Mrs Woosencraft’s inertia then surged up into the sky. The ground fell away below their feet. The wind whirled them in four directions – then one.
To be continued…