“Are you sure we’re going the right way?”
After about half an hour of trekking through the jungle and not emerging into the forest, with Harry’s endless questions added on top, Layke’s patience was wearing thin. Harry seemed even more jumpy now, making him ask more questions.
“How can I be sure, Harry, when I don’t even know the way?” Layke snapped.
“Sorry,” Harry whispered. Layke sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose, a move he often did to calm himself down and very awkward whilst walking. He tripped, and fell flat on his face. He picked himself up, grumbling, with Harry staring at him, wide-eyed.
“What?” Layke growled.
“Nothing,” Harry said quickly. “Just … the mud on your chin.”
Layke’s hand went to his chin, and he felt something slimy ooze off. It fell onto his pants, and he groaned. Then he looked closer at it, and realised that it was green. “Wait,” he said in realisation, “this isn’t mud! It’s swamp acid!”
“Swamp acid, Layke?”
“Yes!” Layke jumped out of the spot where he was standing, and immediately landed somewhere which made him sink even further. He quickly moved somewhere else, and still, he sunk. Looking around, Layke saw something. “Harry, I don’t mean to worry you, but it seems as though we have just walked into a very big puddle of swamp acid.”
“How big?” Harry said unexpectedly. Layke had thought he was going to worry about the swamp acid part, but evidently he seemed more worried about the size of it. Layke turned his head.
“About the size of a lake.”
Harry paled. “That’s extremely dangerous, you know.”
“No, I don’t know,” Layke said.
“I mean that the size of it makes it even more dangerous. It isn’t a puddle, it’s a full-size swamp! I could drown in it!”
“Oh, calm down, would you? You won’t drown.”
“I can’t swim, Layke,” Harry whispered. Layke stared at him, old memories starting to surface.
“You … you can’t swim?”
“No,” Harry said. “Once, I got pushed down into a lake, and I nearly drowned. If it wasn’t for an old lady, I would have drowned.” Harry frowned. “And someone purposely pushed me in.”
Layke swallowed and frantically tried to push down the old memories. “That reminds me of something … an incident which once happened when I was little.”
Harry shifted slightly and tried to walk out of the swamp. It wasn’t working, and he kept on sinking. “Layke,” he whimpered, bringing Layke back into reality.
“Harry!” Layke tried to stride confidently over to Harry’s rescue, but his own legs had gotten stuck, and it was like trying to wade through water. He ended up struggling to walk a few paces, let alone get to Harry.
“Layke!” Harry cried. He was up to his waist in swamp acid now. Layke tried harder than ever to get to Harry, pushing against the thick swamp acid to get to Harry. Finally, he had his arms around him, and he could feel Harry relax slightly.
“Good,” Layke said as calmly as he could. “Keep relaxing; it’ll let you get out of the swamp acid faster.”
Harry was starting to relax even more, and Layke continued encouraging him. Just as Layke was going to pull Harry out of the acid, Harry asked a question.
“Layke? Why is swamp acid called swamp acid?”
Harry was pulled out with an almighty suck-ing sound. He suddenly got very heavy, and Layke struggled under his weight. Something was tickling his ear, and he flicked his head to try and get it out of the way. Then, looking at the thing tickling it, Layke’s eyes followed it up to Harry’s sleeve. Then he realised Harry’s sleeve was in tatters, and so were his pants. Layke went very red.
“Look down, Harry.” There was a gasp. “That’s why it’s called swamp acid.”