Scott moved his hand. It hurt his shoulder, but he managed to drag the unresponsive lump of numb flesh and bone and digits towards him. There. That was better. Now he could see what time it was. Even if he could not move any other part of his body.
The watch face was badly cracked. But he could still make out the digits. 13:29. He lowered his head wearily. The ground was cold and uncomfortable. He was cold and uncomfortable.
The light that filtered down here, was mottled with sparkling motes of dust and occasionally a thin stream of debris would trickle through the shattered timbers and brickwork. He lay there, face down, struggling to breathe in the heavy air that was gradually becoming stale and thick.
He watched, almost hypnotised, as his breath disturbed the detritus that had accumulated in this tiny space. It was soporific, watching the gentle movement of the dust as it moved to the rhythm of his breathing and it kept his mind occupied. He decided to test himself. It would be a test of his self-control. He would not look at the watch until he thought that one hour had passed. He would count the seconds, and he would scratch marks in the soil every calculated minute. Then, when he thought a whole hour had passed, then, and only then, would he look at his watch. He wondered how accurate he could be.
One minute, two minutes, the little tally chart in the dirt accumulated lines. He smiled to himself, as much as he could smile in the situation. He was getting good at this.
He started to make bets with himself. They’ll find me in the next five minutes………
Oh, well, the next five minutes. ……..
Okay then, the next five minutes……..
But they didn’t. So he changed the rules. It was his game, so he was allowed wasn’t he? There was no-one here to say he couldn’t change the rules.
He made a promise to himself. They would find him at the end of the hour. As long as he didn’t look at his watch before then. And the temptation to look grew, developed into a ravening monster that whispered in his ear…look at the watch…. look at the watch…. look at the watch. But he didn’t. He clenched his fist, at least the fist on the hand that he could still move, and gritted his teeth.
They would find him. They would find him. Just one hour and they would be here. He just had to wait one hour. And then, when he looked at his watch, when the hour was over, they would be here. Wouldn’t they?
He thought he could hear the roar of Thunderbird Two, could hear Virgil’s voice, could feel the vibrations as the Mole tunnelled towards him. But his mind lied. He was still alone. The hour must be nearly over. Surely it must be.
But, like a small child, scared that the expected event would not materialise, he hung on. Refusing to look until he was absolutely sure that the hour was up. And even then, even when there was no longer any doubt in his mind that well over an hour had passed, he still didn’t want to look, didn’t want to accept that he was still here, that they had not found him……. yet.
Perhaps it would take another hour.
That was it.
Perhaps he had to count another hour. Then they would find him. He needed to check the time to make sure, make absolutely positively sure, that more than an hour had passed though. He secretly hoped that he had miscalculated. Maybe it had not been so long. That would explain why they had not found him.
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