It is bad. I know it. There is no mobile phone coverage. More than a mile of hard climb back and I cannot walk. To top this layer cake of woe, it also feels as if an invisible hand has phased through me and is now clutching my heart.
Not since my days knocking around with Andy Collins have I placed myself in such a perilous situation through a mixture of clumsiness and blithe assumption I can suspend any chance of something going wrong. There is stupid and king stupid. Fossil hunting at Chapman’s Pool with my current health issues is king stupid.
My scarf becomes part of a splint. Surreal Girl supports me. We begin the scrabble up. Pain splinters my vision. I can no longer tell whether I am hearing the waves crashing or my own blood breaking inside.
There is a tinnitus explosion of sound in ears then only the Petro off-beat drumming of my heart. My body does not know whether to give in to the dizziness or nausea first. Whilst it tries to decide, I push on.
Surreal Girl remains calm. I follow her example. There is nothing to fear, but fear itself becomes my mantra. Focus on the words instead of the agony. Each step recalling those who said it. Trying to silence the internal scream with thoughts of FDR, Sir Francis Bacon. Trying to push out pain with the Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear.
I climb. Recalling Rosicrucian conspiracy theories about Sir Francis. Recalling the plots of old space operas. Looking at my wife’s weak smile. Anything to block out what is happening to my body. History, fiction and Surreal Girl get me through. They always do.