The gopher smiled and went back to raking the grass again. Jennifer
sighed and started off across the freshly mowed field going south towards
the sun. At first she seemed to know exactly where she wanted to go, but
after a while she seemed less sure. First she turned one way and then another,
crisscrossing the field in an aimless pattern. Then suddenly she stopped.
"This is it?" said Rachael in disbelief.
"I'm afraid so," said Jennifer.
"But we aren't home yet," said Jamie.
"I know." said Jennifer. "But this is the place where
we have to go, at least I think it is."
"Here?" said Rachael. "But we aren't anywhere near the
end of the field. We're still in the middle of nowhere!"
It certainly looked that way. The field still extended endlessly ahead
of them and it was hard to see how they could be very much closer to home.
Two slender birch trees were growing nearby, about ten feet apart. A zebra
was grazing between them. A herd of buffaloes was nearby too, just a little
way out across the field. The birch trees looked quite out of place standing
so tall and surprisingly white in the vast expanse of green grass. It looked
like they'd lost their way somehow and would like to return to the forest
again, if only they could find it.
"I give up!" said Rachael and she sat down on the ground.
"You're sure this is it?" Jamie asked Jennifer.
"Yes," said Jennifer. "My new-moon stone says so."
'What does it do, talk to you?" said Rachael.
"No. but it starts to get warm if I go the right way," explained
Jennifer. "Right now it's not getting warm at all, no matter which
way I face."
'And that's how you know where we're supposed to go?" demanded
Rachael. "That's what we've been following all this time? That stupid
rock? It doesn't even glow!"
One of the crows from the flock that had blocked the sun came flying
across the sky and circled overhead.
"Hi!" said Jamie.
"Hi, yourself I" answered the crow.
"How far to the end of the field?" Jamie asked him.
"Oh, there's no way to go to the end of that," cawed the crow.
"That field out there ain't got no end at all!"
"But it has to go somewhere," said Rachael.
"Oh, there's plenty of space if that's all you want," said
the crow. "But there's no more time left to go along with it. That's
why the field just keeps going and going. No time to stop it and hold it
in place, nothing but space is left out there now!"
"Oh great!" said Rachael. "No more time! Wonderful!"
"Glad you like it," cawed the crow. "I gotta go now."
"Go?" demanded Rachael. "Go where?"
"Gonna fly to the end of that field out there!"
"But you just said no-one could get to the end!"
"I didn't say no-one, I just said you! There's no time left but
that won't stop me! A crow don't need time to fly in you know, a crow's
The crow flapped his wings and suddenly he was skimming off like a hat
caught in the wind. Soon he was just a speck on an already vague and uncertain
horizon. And then all at once everything else seemed somewhat unreal and
imaginary too. Jennifer was the first to notice it.