03 – THE REINDEER AND THE WALRUS

For a while Jingle just stood and watched as the Man sailed away. There was a sense of loss, it wasn’t that he had developed any kind of a “bond” with the Man nor was it that Jingle felt alone in this world; it was that Jingle knew that to be separated from the Man would bring on its own troubles.

Jingle fancied he heard a tear.

The people on the shore continued with their dealings and quarrels regardless.

Jingle looked around and spied what he needed; he ran. He had never run before and it surprised him how good it felt. His hooves sank into the soft sand, his fluffy arms pumped and the world around him turned into a blur.

He slowed and then stopped, his breath coming in heavy laboured puffs. He placed his hands on his knees and leaned forward.

Considering he was a reindeer he imagined running to be less labour intensive.

Sat in the ocean less than a dozen feet from the shore bobbed an amphibious aircraft. Pulled up on the sand near to it was a small yellow dinghy that the owner had obviously used to get ashore.

I have another use for it, Jingle thought.

This time he was sure he heard it, a rip like some fat man sitting in too tight trousers. It was loud but no one else along the shore seemed to notice. For a moment he didn’t move, he just stood; and listened.

There was a crack like an ice shelf breaking free. From the corner of his eye jingle saw a building on the edge of the sand stone village disappear into the earth. Around him the people carried on with their lives regardless.

With a crunch another building sank into the earth.

Jingle dove for the dinghy not daring to look back. With two pushes the boat was in the water and the reindeer climbed aboard, paddling furiously for the floating plane. Behind him the cracks and rips continued, building speed while all the while not a sound was heard from the population of the shore.

It took seconds for him to reach the aircraft, but it seemed and age; Jingle was sure that people had been born, lived, loved and died in the time but when he flung himself through the hatch on the side of the plane the disappearing earth behind him had not caught up. He dragged in the dinghy and slammed the hatch closed.

Jingle didn’t notice two important things at this point: firstly his surfer shorts had been replaced with a World War 1 flight suit complete with goggles and flying cap; and secondly that he suddenly seemed to know his way around a Walrus Mark 2 Amphibious Aircraft. The fear he felt in his non-existent heart had, for the moment, eclipsed all other things.

He needed to get away from this place. He needed to find the Man.

Jingle climbed into the flight seat and began hurried pre-flight checks before starting up the engines and easing the throttle forward. The aircraft shook as its single engine roared between the two sets of wings behind him, its four propeller blades – each the height of a man – ripping through the air and pushing the vehicle forward.

Jingle twisted the stick, heading away from the shore and then laid on more power. Heavily the machine picked up speed but the cracking earth behind him was catching up; he could feel it.

Suddenly the sound of the ocean changed and the stick felt different in his hooves.

The Walrus Sea Plane took to the heavens.

Jingle circled a lazy circle and watched the land below him as it tumbled into nothingness. The people on it fearless as they went about their business, sometime walking without awareness into areas of nothing.

He looked away, levelled off and heading towards the storm on the horizon.

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