Why was this space so much bigger than the others? I knew, immediately, that this question was meaningless, but it didn’t go away just because of this fact.
The question was meaningless, because this was only the third underfloor-or-underground time-nexus cellar I’d been in, ever. It was a whole new phenomenon to me. And the other two, yes, they may have been small, square, enclosed spaces with single doors in them … but I didn’t really know that, did I? I hadn’t even really seen them. I’d just groped my way around them, blindly, once.
For all I knew, the other two rooms I’d been through were the anomalies. Heck, for all I knew, they had been big. Maybe they’d also happened to have half-walls from floor to ceiling or hanging from ceiling to floor, or just a bar of dirt or planks along which I had trailed my fingers and been tricked into thinking I was circumnavigating a small room. Maybe the walls moved.
Maybe when I’d been in those rooms, this chamber too had been a small single-door affair. Maybe something had changed in the meantime, making them all this big and complex. Or maybe it was just Christmas-after-the-swampocalypse time-cellars that were this big.
Maybe the Prism, technically somewhere above my head right next to the little square of light from the trapdoor, had leached into this region of space-time, making it expand, making it … more of the same scummy, weird, none-of-the-aboveness that had been in the other two rooms. Maybe its dimensional weirdness was causing interference with the dimensional weirdness that formed these chambers, these time-doors, and was creating the temporal equivalent of PA feedback.
Or maybe just flashing a light around in here had caused the conditions to change. That’s classic quantum-level uncertainty and observation, isn’t it?
But above all else, the question was meaningless because the space was bigger than the others. It just was. It didn’t have to have a reason.
And it didn’t really matter anyway, I realised as I looked around, since I’d lost track of Rose all the way back in olden-days Barnsley Yard and had just been trusting Colonel McOldentimes and my own extremely dubious tracking abilities since then. And my tracking abilities … well, suffice it to say that I thought I’d seen a horseshoe print a minute ago, but it might just as easily have been a ‘C’ someone had drawn on the floor with their finger.
All I could really do at this stage was hope that I was still vaguely on Rose’s trail. And even that, as soon as I’d turned the torch on and looked around at the mass of walls and doors all around me, didn’t really matter anymore. I had to go somewhere, because I couldn’t stay in this crypt and I couldn’t go back upstairs into the collapsing city where Creepy was a wanted fugitive.
So, if I couldn’t properly follow Rose anymore, the best I could hope was that I was headed in the right direction to return to some relevant and useful point on my timeline.
But ultimately, I was left with choosing a random door.
“Sure would be nice if the Myconet turned up right about now,” I said quite loudly to nobody in particular.
I looked around.