He told me everything and I listened. I kept my emotions in check despite the horror he unburdened. Danny held my hand all the way. When Mister Brown had finally unburdened himself, I saw the first flicker of affection between him and his sister. He was on the verge of tears and she hugged him while Danny hugged me.
I knew now what I had to do but I pushed it aside, focusing my mind on opening the door because hell – it was all I could do.
The first time I tried it, nothing happened. In fact, nothing would happen for the next five days. By that time, I had lost track of how long we had left – but it didn’t matter. On that fifth day, the door opened and I stared into the blackness.
I didn’t know how I was doing it but here I was, on the verge of saving the Earth. Did people above know what was about to happen, either the impending disaster or that there was somebody capable of averting it?
In truth, I still didn’t know how I had accessed the language. They told me I was coming out with alien words, but didn’t know how. It didn’t matter to anyone else right now – but it mattered to me. I didn’t want to lose this knowledge now, but they assured me they would work with me to help me understand. Bah, I hate being impatient and too curious for my own good!
Focus Kara, focus!
Mister Brown and I were inside a dark room he told me was a machine that controls what they call “The Web” – but I couldn’t see anything. It’s dark and cold. All I have to do is switch the machine on, and together we would operate The Web and save Planet Earth. The three of them couldn’t do it on their own, you see. They needed a fourth.
‘Do you need a break?’ Mister Brown asked, ‘food or drink perhaps?’
‘No, but could I have some time alone in here?’
By the poor light from the door I saw him nod, ‘I will be upstairs with the others.’
Once he’d gone, I allowed the darkness to envelope me, sinking into a pit of my own imagination – a dark, swirling vortex of nothingness. I imagined myself once again going back to that place, the river delta of a hundred thousand years ago. I breathed in its air, absorbed this alien world that was still my world.
I felt something hum beneath my feet.
Even though my eyes were closed, I sensed a gentle blue light on my face and opened my eyes.
The machine – wow, I had never seen anything like it. I was inside a dome, the sky above me as black as night. At the centre was a rounded structure that looked like a squid with its arms splayed above me. Why science fiction has a penchant for portraying machines with an organic aesthetic I don’t know, and my wow factor was coupled with an amusing disappointment at this fact.
They must have known it was on because I heard to lift begin its descent mere seconds later. They were all there.
‘Wow,’ Danny said, ‘did you do that?’
‘I think so.’
‘What is it?’
‘It’s what is going to save the planet, Danny,’ Mister Brown said. ‘This is what is going to stop the asteroid.’
‘One thing I do not understand, is why we couldn’t see it in the sky if we have less than a day to stop it?’ Danny asked. It had been bugging me too but I had so much other stuff going on in my head, I didn’t want to ask and overly complicate things.
Despite the burden he carried so heavily for many years, Mister Brown managed a smile. ‘You will understand when you see how The Web works.’