I stayed awake for hours in the middle of my tent running various scenarios through my head. Every clatter of rocks was a footstep, every gust of wind a voice. But, sometime in the night, adrenaline pills or no, I fell asleep.
When I woke up I was still alone. The sun had risen and light bled through the thin canvas walls of my tent.
Everything seems a little bit better during the day. I unzipped the door, fetched some water from the pond, mixed up some paste for breakfast, and thought about what the hell I was going to do next.
As freaked out as I had been over the sudden appearance of the footsteps and the disappearance of my radio, Harris hadn’t actually tried to hurt me. He didn’t even seem interested in contacting me. So, in all likelihood, he was just freaked out too. And considering how much our lives have changed in the past two months, well, I think I can understand that.
After thinking it over on a full stomach in the daylight I realized that my options are basically to either sit tight and keep waiting around for somebody else to do something (drive a hoverjeep, come get me, whatever) or get on with what I was doing and make the best of it. Keep working the soil, keep planting seeds, keep trying to make this dead rock a little better.
I choose the latter. The work still has to get done, after all.
Anyway, I doubt they’ll let me stew out here without a radio for long. 48 hours max. Knowing Martinez, there’s a protocol for this sort of thing.
I planted the rest of the cabbage. The seedlings seem to be taking alright to the soil. They’re still green, anyway, which I guess is a good sign.
Mid-afternoon I took a break and decided to scan the area for more signs of Harris, but I didn’t find anything. The last of the volcanic ash has blown away in the wind. Of course, I don’t know what I would have said to him if I actually ran into him.
My search for more footprints led me into the middle of the rock formations to the southwest of the initial drop-off point. There are caves there tucked away between the columns of basalt. Some of them are barely big enough to provide cover from the wind and others probably go on for miles.
I took a chance and explored one of the larger tunnels for a while with my flashlight. It reminded me of the hallways onboard the ship.
It might not be a bad idea to relocate inside the caves eventually. I’d be more sheltered there, at least, but the whole time I was inside the tunnels I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something else in there with me. Something that was still sleeping in the darkness, but could awaken at any time.
Night has fallen and it’s raining. It started with a single crack of thunder and a few minutes later water started to pour down from the sky in torrents, like it was all primed and ready waiting for a cue to fall. It’ll be good for the crops, I suppose, but it turns my campsite into a miserable muddy nightmare.
It’s hard to get to sleep. Like I said, everything seems better during the day, but unfortunately the logical consequence of that idiom is that everything seems worse at night. What I can’t stop thinking about is why, of everything he could have taken, Harris went for the radio.