Miranda Kate’s Picture Choice: 1
When Rob grabbed the Jester with Michael, his mind swooned and everything went dark. It felt like his body was spinning in a void, his limbs flailing in all directions until something solid arrived under him, followed by the crunch of leaves.
He began to shiver, the air around him cold and damp, and unable to see anything in the darkness he curled up into a ball. He could hear the sound of own breathing and it resonated through the air around him. There were faint shuffling and fluttering sounds all around him, but nothing distinctive - only enough to indicate he was outside and no longer in a city.
He had an idea he was in a wood or forested area, but he couldn’t be sure, and he rocked himself to keep warm while he waited for daylight to break. When it did, it was slow, and muted; a low mist hung in the air muffling any sounds.
Rob stood up and looked around, confirming that it was a wood, but the question was, how big? And was he alone?
He cupped his hands and shouted “Michael?” But it didn’t reach far in the moist air, so he started walking and calling at intervals.
It was hard to discern a path among the trees and thick foliage underfoot, but Rob continued in the direction the strongest light came from, with the sun obscured by the trees.
Rob continued on for what could have been minutes or hours. He would pause every so often and call out for Michael and wait for any sound to come back, but there was nothing, besides the odd bird call, or scurrying animal.
The trees started to thin about and Rob sped up, eventually rewarded with an open expanse of land, ringed by the forest of trees. The grass was waist high, but he thought he could make out something in the middle, something pointed, like a hat. He ran out into the grass hoping it might be somebody, calling as he went. But when he reached it he found it was only a stuffed effigy that might have once been a scarecrow.
In his frustration and exhaustion he kicked out, intending to send it flying in the air, but as his foot touched it, it came alive, the head turning and a loud cackle emitting from it.
Rob let out a yell and leapt back in fright, the cackle ringing in his ears as it echoed off the surrounding trees. As it died down Rob saw the Jester appear through the manmade body and took yet more steps back.
“Don’t be afraid, Rob, I won’t hurt you.”
“How do you know who I am?”
“There’s no time for pleasantries, Rob, you need to get with the game. Time’s running out.” The Jester let loose another of his cackles. “Or should I be more accurate and say this time is running out and you need to play catch up.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Of course you don’t, that’s why I’m here, but aren’t we missing someone?”
Rob frowned. “Do you mean Michael?”
The Jester’s laugh was heartier this time. “Oh you’re so quick Rob, it astounds me. Yes, Michael, where is he indeed.”
Rob’s scowl increased and his hands clenched. “Tell me whatever it is I need to know so I can get out of here.”
“Oh Rob don’t be so impatient. There’s nothing for me to tell, you’re the one that has to find him. Is he here? Or will he be there? You need to use your intuition. But chop, chop, there’s not much time left.”
Before Rob could speak again the Jester clapped his hands and Rob felt his mind spin as the ground shifted beneath him.
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