When Ri Yue was a child he’d lie deep inside the quilt listening to the voices in the dark; his ears would strain out like trombones to understand what they were saying. One night it felt as if there was a secret meeting taking place right there in his room. Three voices rumbling about him:
‘…in the hole…cover it’
Don’t let him go! I’ll be back!’
‘Keep him there…forever!’
That night went on and on with the voices hissing at each other, and when nothing actually happened he must’ve fallen asleep. In the morning there was no sign of the meeting; he examined the carpet and shelves very carefully. From that moment on he knew he was different and that only a few people had the gift of movement.
The Girl looked after him and he tried to protect her from what he knew lurked in the dark. He could feel that he’d never been in this place; it was new and had a peculiar smell, a kind of tang that made his hair shiver. The voices were coming around the corner towards him. Suddenly light flared over his head. He stood beneath a huge chandelier that sparkled in the instant flick of a switch. Two men struck dumb, with their mouths open, stared at him.
‘What do you want?’ the little round one said. Ri Yue spun around, patting himself on the chest and arms. They could see him. This was new.
‘Is there something we can do for you?’ the taller one said. His voice was piercing - something was wrong with his nose.
‘I’m looking for the kitchen,’ Ri Yue moved quickly past them and turned the corner into a long passage with doors open and people milling about. Why was he here?
He hated being dragged from his life like this, and in the middle of the night. He hoped it would all sort itself before The Girl returned; she would worry at his disappearance. It hadn’t happened for years; he’d begun to think he’d outgrown it or something. There must be a connection with technology; the world was swimming in beeps and pings and bleeps now – he thought the doors to those other dimensions had long closed. This was a bad sign.