As I pad along, dripping wet and miserable, and literally at a snail’s pace, a thought long hidden occurs to me at last. Blanketed beneath the all-encompassing awareness of my single remaining life, the worst suspicion now rises to the surface. Despite all my efforts, I might not be in time. That I might not make it.
This was always a long shot. But I wasn’t planning on having to retrace my way through the cave system. And nobody
expects the snailish expedition. Heh.
After all, how long can the shark keep the doppelgänger bunny busy? Surely she’s run out of diversions by now? But I’ve no control over the situation Above Stairs, so there’s no point wasting worry on that. (Though I never seem to run out of worry - it’s an ever-renewing resource. Unlike joy, or contentment.)
Part of me is sad that the world will continue on without me. After all, how can it? Aren’t I the linchpin, by virtue of being me (and of being a cat, which gives +1 to World Centerdness)? But another part is sadder by the near-certainty that if I fail, the world may indeed go on, but just round and round, the same actions repeated endlessly forever. I mean, at least I’ll be free of that.
But the others won’t be.
And I find in that, somewhat surprisingly, a stronger motivation not to fail. For them.
Ugh. Now I know I’ve hit rock bottom. I’ve been infected with altruism.
And I still have wet fur stuck to my tongue.