Chapter Thirty Seven – Immersion

15 Aug

Rosie plucked a crumpled piece of yellow paper out of the stack of papers and rolled it out on the floor in front of us. Jules leant closer to it for a few seconds before shaking his head and saying ‘Too risky. It’d be a suicide mission.’

I rolled my eyes. No doubt if there was a suicide mission being planned, I’d probably be the one who ended up going on it. Finally, I leant closer to the piece of paper and took a closer look. It was just an indecipherable series of lines and shapes and the occasional cluster of small dots.

‘Does either of you want to explain this?’ I looked at Rosie.

Jules took a deep breath and said: ‘The dots are wherever we’ve sighted the models and the lines are the direction which the ink has flowed from. Using this, we’ve been able to map the location of all the wounds in the fabric of this universe.’

‘And?’ I muttered. I still didn’t know what Rosie’s plan was.

Rosie put her hand on my shoulder and said: ‘We need someone to go into one of these wounds and find a way to get to the blue ink. We think that there’s a lot of it in the space between the universes. Jules thinks that it’s contained in some kind of tube or tunnel. Like a blood vessel. Basically, if you can break one of them, then you can divert the blue ink into this universe.’

‘Me? Hold on, we’re probably talking light years here – I can’t imagine that each universe is just separated by a few metres of space. Plus, since you two know so much about all of this and Jules is able to stay in a bathtub of the stuff for five minutes totally untouched, I think he should do it.’

Jules just shook his head and said ‘We’ll need to stay here to keep the models away from you. Not to mention that we’ve only got enough blue ink left for one person to go into the ink.’

‘Let me guess, neither of you know how to swim either.’ I sighed at them both. They shook their heads. Typical.

‘Don’t worry, we’ve got goggles so you won’t have to close your eyes. Not that it’ll probably do much.’ Jules handed me a pair of swimming goggles.

‘Hold on.’ I muttered ‘Won’t I get copied as soon as I go into the ink?’

‘The layer of blue ink should slow the process down, but it’s a one way trip. Either you’ll have twenty minutes in there before the ink wears down and you get copied into the old universe until your body dies. Or, if you succeed, you’ll either get flushed into one of the two universes or stuck between them. Whatever, at least you’ll come out of it in one piece.’ Jules smiled at me, I looked away.

Eventually, I said ‘Ok, how do you plan to keep the models away?’

‘With fire!’ Jules’s eyes gleamed and he grinned at me. Rosie just rolled her eyes and sighed. Even if he was a pyromaniac, his plan was still fairly solid.

‘Ok, then. Where do we begin?’ I looked at the map again.

Rosie put her hand on my shoulder and said: ‘Where you first saw the ink. In the backroom of The Demon.’

‘But it isn’t even open yet. Not to mention that the door to the backroom disappeared after I left too.’

‘We’ll take care of that.’ Jules said as he got to his feet and reached for a large bag. ‘But we should get going, we don’t have much time left.’

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