We’re across! Across and alive! Twenty minutes it took. Twenty minutes that felt more like twenty hours. Even with Armbranch by my side, I felt such a loneliness and despair it was almost like grief. I guess that’s just one of the effects of the energy in this borderline. Not only did it penetrate every muscle, tendon, and bone in my body, it penetrated my mind, filled it with the most terrible dread of what might happen when I took that next step. I couldn’t count the times I almost succumbed to it.
The whole world slowed almost to a standstill as I followed Armbranch onto that patch of land. It was like being underwater moving through a strong current. My legs burned under the strain. My arms flailed sideways searching for balance. Even my eyes felt like they were being pushed back to rub against my brain by the force. Every footstep was a lead weight. Every breath was like sucking in water. My ears kept popping, the shockwave sending a terrible, maddening itch spiralling around inside my skull.
Yet there was nothing there. Absolutely nothing. Not even a breeze. The dust and loose leaves sat perfectly still on the ground. In an odd sort of way I imagined I was moving through a painting – a masterpiece, to be precise. A thing so perfectly formed it was hard to believe it was natural and not some genius creation.
But it was some genius creation. Yes, a mad genius. The borderline was as much a part of the Envelop as everything I’d passed through already. Only here it was blended so seamlessly to the rest of the jungle it was shocking in its simplicity.
As I struggled across the last few yards my scalp felt like it was being sliced from my skull. And when I fell out of it and into a clump of grassy, low growing bushes, it felt like I’d been spat out of it.
I don’t think I could ever go through that again. Even the knowledge that the wireless connection still works did little to raise my spirits. Drained, that’s the only word to describe it. It’s like the life’s been sucked right out of me and I’m running on some kind of nervous reaction. Maybe this is how a chicken feels when it’s just had its neck snapped. Right now I barely have the energy to read the screen. Armbranch isn’t much better. After setting up the bridge and stuffing some kind of leaf into my mouth, he collapsed beside me. He’s panting and his eyes are narrow and droopy. I think he’s about to collapse.
Must sleep now. I don’t think we’re going to go much farther today. Must sleep. I have to; but I don’t want to. That dread is so deeply embedded in my mind now I’m afraid that if I close my eyes I’ll never open them again.
Maybe I’m dying.
Goodbye, Maya. I tried.