Even when I was off shift I barely slept last night. Too cold. Too damp. Too exposed. At one point I woke Armbranch and tried to convince him to push on to the third valley. He talked me out of it. Said it was too risky in the dark. And even though I couldn’t understand his reasoning because this place is so lifeless, I didn’t argue. He’s probably right. In fact, I’m sure he’s right. God only knows what’s lurking about this place at night. At times I thought I heard things in the distance: panting, the snap of a branch, a faint squeal. Things hunting. Things watching. Yes. Maybe things waiting for us to leave ourselves vulnerable.
At one point I thought I heard a scratching coming from the boulder, like there was something on or behind it. Then again, it could well have been my imagination.
Shortly after Armbranch came on the final guard duty shift, I spent a few restless hours thinking about O’Heir’s medium. A few months ago I’d have laughed at the idea, told him that perhaps we’d have better fun with a football than a crystal ball. Now, though, I’ll try anything. What harm? He knows this woman well. He didn’t say what she’d helped him with before, but, whatever it was, it built a relationship of trust between them he swears by.
A pale ball of sun is rising behind the clouds now. It does little except cast shadows around this place. Even the mountains are confined behind a semi-gloom, a grimness that warps beauty into ugliness and colours into shadow.
Time to push on. We’ll eat later, once we’re clear of the valley. I only hope the environment ahead is friendlier.