I finally gathered enough courage to at least sit in the back seat. I feel unwell. Slight tremors beneath my skin, my eyes once large and eager to see this Outside world now left feeling shrunken: small spongy balls inside sandpaper prisons. Well, better in than out on that one, at least.
The feeling of needing to vomit no longer encompasses the entirety of my stomach. Instead it weighs heavy, even it too fatigued from the heat to lurch upwards.
I’m thankful for that, it can stay there. I hate being sick at the best of times, but here, finally in the shade of the back seat, I hope to draw less attention to myself than when I perched half-in, half-out, in the front.
Quiet now, Pen.
I hear movement to the far edge of the carpark. A distant hum, somehow navigating its way through waves far more easily than the rumble and familiar sound of traffic. This sound is high pitched like an insect, but I know it is manmade both in innovation and origin.
I would peer out through the small opening I have made, but already, my legs dangling through it towards the heat scorched cement, I feel exposed.
How many minutes have passed since I began this descent into sun drenched madness that I forget the tingle of rains first splashes against my brow? Should I pray, I would pray these beads of sweat that trickle to my neck be replaced by the evaporation of our lakes and seas.
I know that soon I will leave this place. That my path may have led me to this Outside, but in faith I know that it can return me home.
I’ll scrawl and scrawl until that can be so. Shiver only from the passing of… footsteps…
Heavy and strange. An unknown yet ever heard sound, they grow closer. How further into myself can I sink? How deeper into this shelter can I seek… distance from… they grow distant again.
I breathe in deep. Nothing but remnants of the exhalations of trees and the pollution that threatens to choke them.
I grow more exhausted still.
Pen, we must part. I fear discovery.
A man. “Dave,” she says, she screams so close to my sanctuary.
“Dave. Dave. Dave!”
Oh dear flutter of leaves above, what does she implore of this man named Dave!
A grunt. A response at last, at fair last.
“Do you want your wallet, Dave?”
Another grunt. Another cry of the question, soon to be intertwined with my own unless with every ounce of strength left I bite down on my dehydrated tongue, I demand of it, as I never have before: Do not speak.
Do not say, “Your wallet, Dave, do you want your damn wallet?!”
Another grunt, higher this time. But not in response to me. Finally, an outstretched arm, a wallet grasped. Yes, Dave, the holy grail of the Outside, it is yours.
Pen, we write this under watchful eyes, but it is a fortunate thing that we do. He has returned and without sorrow we may leave the Outside. Should we return, in agreement I think I will find you dip your lid at my plans. A second flask of water for me and perhaps further ink to quench you. Pen, with a roar beneath us and falsified breeze above, we are free.