There was no-one around, no-one to welcome them. Clearly no-one had seen them as they approached; but then, they told each other, no-one would be expecting them, or maybe there was no-one else here at all.
They looked across the wide and flat land. It was grey and muddy and boring.
‘Bit of dump this place, isn’t it?’ Bruce said.
‘Yeah not much here,’ added Dexter.
After a moment however Silas did spot something: a road a long way off. ‘Well’, they said, ‘it must lead somewhere. So they made towards it, the sticky silt oozing between their toes.
‘Wish I’d bought my bog boots,’ Silas said, ‘At this rate I’m going to get trench foot.’
‘Well, at least you have long legs,’ said Dexter, ‘I wouldn’t want to be in Bruce’s shoes. A case of trench armpit is more likely with him.’
The taller two watched as Bruce tried to pick his way through the mire without ending up to his knees in stagnant, sand-hopper infested sludge, his rotund midriff wobbling as he walked.
Once on the road, which was little more than dirt-compacted track, they picked a direction and set off. For more than half an hour it remained deserted and rather lacking in signposts, but finally they saw someone coming towards them. The man, who was walking at a tremendous pace, began shouting at them from a long way off and waving his arms about.
None of them could understand a word he was saying but just before they collided Bruce realised the man wanted them to move to the other side of the road. However, that split-second of deliberation was too long for Dexter and Silas as the man sent them sprawling into the ditch. He then bounced off Bruce’s belly onto the opposite side of the track, leaving Bruce clutching his knees, winded. Instead of stopping, however, the man picked up his pace again and passed them, still shouting and shaking his head.
Dexter crawled out of the ditch on his hands and knees and using Bruce as a hoist got to his feet. ‘Stupid man.’ he said picking bits of bracken out of his mouth. ‘Do you think they all walk on the wrong side of the road?’