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By Sarah Hapgood

After a breakfast of porridge with sultanas mixed in (to try to spice it up a bit) they set off again for more walking in an easterly direction. The night at the lakeside had been extremely quiet, so much so that they hadn’t even heard the usual noises of nature. Even so, the tranquillity of the place had woven a spell, and they were very reluctant to leave.

“So here we are again, plodding onwards”, said Hoowie “Going God knows where. How fucking big is this lake anyway?”

“I don’t know”, said Bengo, walking beside him “You’re just being a jerk because Julian told you to walk”.

“It was Bardin who told me to actually”, said Hoowie “Said he couldn’t have me sitting in the bus, as it wasn’t fair on the other clowns. Like he gives a shit about THEIR feelings all of a sudden!”

Bengo had to laugh at this.

“Hey-up, what’s going on?” said Hoowie.

At the far end of the track the bus had come to a sudden halt. As they watched, Bardin had turned his horse’s head and began galloping back towards them. Bengo and Hoowie stood and waited in bemusement for him to get near.

“We’re turning back”, he shouted from on horseback.

“Eh??” Bengo exclaimed “Why?”

“The lake turns into islands, dead ahead”, said Bardin “We can get the galleon up through there. There must be a way. Look, stop asking a load of damn fool questions and just turn around”.

“Wouldn’t it be easier just to carry on walking?” said Hoowie.

“No it wouldn’t”, said Bardin “Anyway, I’m missing the galleon!”

“This just about seems to sum us up at the moment”, said Tamaz, when they had reached the clearing again, where they had spent the first night “We make no damn progress at all”.

“Don’t waste your energy moaning”, said Bardin “You’re going to need it at some point in the near future. We’ll probably need your special skills. Anyway, we ARE making progress. We’ve found a way through. Don’t be so impatient”.

“You said the path ran out”, said Tamaz “And the river cuts across, connecting the lakes”.

“Yeah so, what of it?” said Bardin.

“So then how did the refugees get across that strip of water?” Tamaz demanded to know.

“There was a bridge, you clot!” said Bardin.

“Oh right”, said Tamaz “Well you didn’t explain that very well”.

“I haven’t had a chance to yet!” said Bardin.

At dusk Joby found Kieran standing under the trees by the bottom end of the lake.

“There you are”, said Joby “I wondered where you’d got to. Thought you’d been abducted by the fairies or summat Or da little people, I should say”.

Kieran laughed.

“This landscape reminds me of Ireland”, he said “Particularly the lush greenness of it”.

“In spite of the fact it doesn’t rain as much here”, said Joby.

“It’s a very beautiful area”, said Kieran, looking out at the mirror smooth water of the lake.

Suddenly he gave a start and slapped his forehead.

“God, I’m an awful eejit”, he said “No wonder people used to make Irish jokes. I’m so focking dense at times!”

“What are you talking about?” said Joby.

“Remember all those years ago when we confined the demons to the Cursed Isle?” said Kieran.

“Yeah, what of it?”

“We put them there because they couldn’t cross water”.

“And because it was convenient”, Joby pointed out.

“Water weakens them”.

“They’re not the fucking triffids, Kiel!”

“No look listen. Water does weaken them. Some of them can’t cross it, just like in the old vampire legends. That must be why we haven’t been targeted so much since all this started. When they destroyed the south, the scorched lands, it had to be from high up in the air. It’s why we’ve not had any trouble in this area, although surely to God they must know we’re here by now. We’re surrounded by lakes. Big, vast lakes”.

“OK, but what about Clytemnestra’s Island?” said Joby “I remember you saying at the time that her death was a Satanic murder. So how did whoever-did-it get there then?”

“It was already there”, said Kieran “I don’t know how. Perhaps some well-meaning fools like us put it there long ago, and it slowly strengthened in the bowels of the island. Or perhaps there’s a route to the island deep undersea. Or perhaps the killer was dropped there from an air-buggy. Could be any of those. It’s impossible to say at this stage”.

“So how come they managed to cause so much fucking damage in the world, considering how much of it’s water?!” said Joby.

“Because it all started in places like the City”, said Kieran “Big, heavily-populated places which unfortunately are completely landlocked. The trouble spreading outwards from there”.

“So what do we do now then?” said Joby “Go and turn the hoses on them?!”

“My gut instinct all along has been that they’re doing nothing to sustain themselves long-term. Most particularly decimating their nourishment source. BUT I think they’ve done more than enough damage. We have to go in and finish them off now”.

They returned to Hannah’s house briefly. There, they found that she had effectively turned it into a nursing-home. Hannah was in her element, running around looking after everyone. She was delighted to see the Indigo-ites back so soon, and then dismayed to learn they were leaving again immediately.

But Bardin was adamant about a quick getaway. They barely had time to thank everyone for minding the galleon before they were leaving again.

Hannah was deeply concerned about their plans, and pursued Kieran around the galleon, below-deck, trying to talk him out of it.

“It’s not safe”, she insisted.

“Hah!” said Kieran “Is anywhere?”

“Are you thinking of the safety of Joby and Adam and …”

“I’m always thinking of them!” said Kieran “OK Hannah, tempting though it is to stay here, we’ll never know a moment’s peace ever again if we don’t sort this out now. We’ll all be sitting here in our idyllic little space wondering what the bastards are up to out there. Your job is to look after the refugees. Now leave me to get on with mine”.

“What’s up?” said Joby, appearing in the corridor.

“Nothing”, Kieran sighed “Nothing at all”.

“Hannah”, said Joby “Adam’s got some eggs for you if you pop along to the galley”.

“She’s worried”, said Joby, when he and Kieran were alone in their cabin a moment later “She’s been hearing all sorts of stuff from the refugees. It’s scared her”.

“It scares all of us”, said Kieran “But I wouldn’t be much of a Vanquisher of Evil if I sat back here with me knitting now would I!”

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