Dark, damp, muggy. No, it’s not England, it’s the inside of Big Plaice, the Inner Plaice.
“It’s like a biology lesson in here.” Jake said. “Smells like one too…”
For a while they’d been following a tunnel, forever ahead of them glowed a blue light. Never brightening, never dimming, just glowing constant, drawing them on.
“What’s at the end Orph?”
“The end of what? The rainbow? Time? The world? A piece of string, however long that is…?”
“Oh! Well, looks to me like a glowing thing that we never quite reach.”
“If you roll your eyes like that too much,” said Orph, “They’ll keep spinning and you won’t be able to stop them. If you wanted to see straight you’d have to spine your body around your eyes!”
Usually this would make Jake roll his eyes again, but in Imagi-Nation you couldn’t be too sure, so he fixed his eyes directly ahead. He had also been tempted to sneer cynically but didn’t want that to do something he’d regret, so he froze his face, not willing to even blink…
“And,” Orph had more wisdom to bestow, “if the wind changes direction your face might get stuck like that.”
The eye rolling and sneering burst from their well controlled hiding place, “That’s the sort of rubbish my parents came up with to confuse me. Next you’re going to say that if I watch the TV too closely my eyes will turn square.”
“Yes, that happened to me once, lasted a month! Never again, eh?”
“Humph! Or if you play with your thingy too much it’ll fall off!”
Orph suddenly became very withdrawn, staring into empty space with a sad look on his face, “I really don’t want to talk about it…”
“Really?” Jake suddenly felt very sorry for mentioning it, “Is that what happened, really?”
“It’s… well… I… Okay!” Orph said squaring up to Jake, “Yes, it’s true. I was warned and then it happened.”
“Oh, well, gosh!”
“Yes, and then I made a mistake with glue…”
“Yes, and now it won’t come off at all!”
Jake paused, a little confused, “Well… isn’t that the point, it’s a part of you, it shouldn’t fall off, should it?”
Orph’s fish face seemed to get as confused as Jake’s, “I’m talking about my hat, what are you talking about?”
Jake’s face went from confused to embarrassed in a flash, “Erm, yeah, your hat, it seems such a part of you, I don’t see why it should come off, ha ha ha, ahem” Jake turned back to the tunnel with a nervous laugh and carried on walking.
They carried on walking in silence, Jake not wanting to embarrass himself further and Orph very pensively floating alongside Jake and blowing bubbles.
Since neither of them were paying attention to anything they didn’t realise they’d arrived somewhere until a voice pierced their thoughts “Oi! What’you two doin’ ‘ere, eh?”
They both looked up to be met with an almost blinding sight, a mountain of blue, glowing balls, Jake recognized them as the eggs that Prune had been collecting earlier. And there standing in front of them was Prune herself, making clear that NO ONE could go anywhere near them.
“Oh!” exclaimed Jake.
“Oh…” mumbled Orph.
What had she in store for them this time…