As General Moundrot began to thump his way up the stairs towards his quarters, the Time Flies returned to Elsie and jumped an hour ahead, so that when they appeared before her, in their thimble – this time in her cell – it seemed that almost no time had passed at all. The flies told Elsie the whole story. “So Ergo is alive! Hip, Hip, Hooray!” shouted Elsie. “And everything’s going to be alright!” “Well, yes, but the old General is just about now arriving at the top of the stairs, and he isn’t in a very good mood,” said the Main Fly. Elsie didn’t care. She just knew everything would be alright. “Can’t you fly an hour ahead in time and see what happens next?” pleaded Elsie. “Cheating!” they all shouted merrily in unison. They had obviously been asked that before. “That spoils everything, and in any case, would you really want to see it if it is not good news? Hope is the thing that carries you through these times. If you saw bad news it would make it difficult for you to do all the things you need to do to keep fighting for what you want. You are the one who makes things happen.” “Ooh, dear,” thought Elsie, “that’s a bit deep!” But she knew they were right. “Ok, then – but listen, guys,” said Elsie, slipping into their slang language, “if Ergo and the elf and this fairly friendly pigfrog thing are all trapped in the chief pigfrog’s cave, can’t we get out and go and rescue them?” She thought for a moment. The Time Flies had described to her that Moundrot’s room had a shaft of light which penetrated from the top of the mountain, down at an oblique angle, into the roof of his bathroom. At certain times of the day it made rather a nice prism and rainbow effect on the bathroom floor. He and Ursula never had a bath, so never used the bathroom, but they had had one installed as a status symbol (it was the only bathroom in Pigfrog Command), and Ursula had felt that it would enhance the property’s resale value. “Well, we can try, but what about you?” said the Main Fly. “Can you tell me your names so that I don’t have to keep thinking of you as the Main Fly, Second Main Fly and so on?” said Little Else, not wanting 89
A free readable copy of Mike Batt’s adventure story for childish grown-ups and grown-up children.