Feathers fell around him as he watched her atop the biome. Some even came to rest upon his shoulders – as though he were wearing a comical feather boa – but he did not even think to brush them off. Instead, he stood transfixed, feeling as though he too were one of the feathers: he was falling through the air, but this time, nobody was below to rest upon.
He watched as she jumped into the structure. His heart contorted in sadness; his feather-self hit the ground and it was too dishevelled and broken to lift itself up once more.
He gulped slowly and delved inside the hidden pocket of his flannel shirt for his stopwatch. An hour was already set as the specified time upon the dial, so his trembling hands merely had to click a single button to begin the countdown, but even that was difficult for him. Finally, his thumb – numb with fright – sought out the raised metallic switch and the stopwatch began its slow descent to zero. Relieved, he watched her once more.
Her arms had flailed as she fell, but once she hit solid ground, she was completely still. Silence enveloped her as she stared around, dazed. After a couple of minutes surveying her surrounding, alien, landscape, her hands fell to the ground to touch the purest element she had ever laid her eyes upon. As soon as she had grasped a handful of snow, however, she threw it back down, body coiling in distress. Why is it so hot? She wondered, confused. Her mind attempted to recollect all the information that she had ever gained about the substance. Surely Father once told me it was colder than our walk-in fridge at home…? Astonished, she sank her hand deep into the snow as if to reach solid ground beneath. After a few seconds, the heat transformed into cold and she brought her hand back up as it throbbed painfully.
She repeated this process, laughing all the while, until a pool of water had developed beneath her and her dress clung to her body as though afraid to be too close to such a mysterious substance. Even then, she giggled as she stood, gazing to where he was standing.
Her laugh became a gasp as she realised the biome’s walls were not transparent from the inside: the glass was almost pitch black.
She felt alone once more.
“Morgan!” His whole body jumped, for he had been so ensconced with watching her that he had not been aware of his surroundings. He turned, sure that the voice who had hailed him was familiar for some reason.
Sure enough, there he stood. His hair glimmered golden in the sun’s rays.
“Monty? What are y-?” The question froze upon his lips as two of Monty’s companions lurched towards him. Before he could resist, two strong hands held his arms in place and a sack was pulled over his head. Morgan felt a restrictive chain click around his neck and he was half led, half dragged away from the biome like a donkey.
In a confused haze, he stumbled and the stopwatch fell from his hands upon the soft, warm grass just as the alarm signaled that the hour was over.
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