Isaac’s Adventures Underground: Chapter Fifteen

He did have questions. Unfortunately, Isaac couldn’t remember any of them. Why was he here? The spider, right. “Have you seen a spider?” he asked.

“I eat spiders,” the owl said.

“Me too,” said the bat. “Do you have any?”

Fear flashed like a bright light behind his eyes. “Did you eat any recently?” Isaac asked.

“What does recently mean?” the owl asked.

“Did you eat any spiders today?” Isaac asked.

“It’s night time,” the bat said.

Isaac pointed up to the roof of leaves and branches. “It’s just dark. It’s not night yet.”

The owl shrugged. “We’re only awake at night, and we’re awake now, so it must be night. That’s only logical.”

“If we could look at a clock,” Isaac began.

“Do you have one?” the bat asked.

Isaac checked his pockets again, just in case a clock snuck in when he wasn’t looking. Considering how his day had gone, it was somehow a possibility. But there was no clock. “I don’t have one,” Isaac said. “But if I did…”

“But you don’t,” the bat said. “So it doesn’t matter.”

“It was light out when I was walking here,” Isaac said. He pointed up at the leaves again. “It’s just all that stuff in the way that makes it dark.”

“Do you know how long you were walking?” The owl asked.

“Not long enough for it to be night,” Isaac said.

“How do you know?” the bat said.

“Well, I don’t have a clock, but I couldn’t have been walking that long,” Isaac said. “The sun was still up.”

“Can you be sure?” the owl asked. “We can’t see the sun now. Are you good at keeping track of time?”

The bat snorted. “I bet he’s never even met him.”

“Met who?” Isaac asked.

“Time,” the bat said.

“Time’s a person?” Isaac asked.

“No, Time is Time, of course,” the bat said.

Isaac wasn’t even sure what they were talking about any more. “It can’t be night, I’m not tired yet.”

“It’s night when you are tired?” the owl asked. “How can anyone tell if it’s night when you aren’t around?”

“Don’t you sleep when it’s night?” Isaac asked.

“We sleep when it’s day,” the owl said.

“You can tell it’s day by all of the tiresome sunshine,” the bat said.

“But it’s only dark here because of the leaves and branches and stuff,” Isaac said. “Do you ever sleep at all?”

“Not at night,” the bat said.

“If it’s always dark and you never sleep, wouldn’t you go crazy?” Isaac asked.

“I don’t know, how can you tell?” the bat asked. “I don’t feel crazy. I’m not so sure about you, though.”

“I’m just fine,” Isaac said. “It’s the rest of the world that’s gone strange today.”

“That sounds suspicious to me,” the owl said. “It seems much more likely that there is something wrong with you.   The simplest answer is the most likely, after all.”

Isaac frowned. He didn’t like where this conversation was going. “So, nobody around here sleeps at all?”

“Well, there’s the lazy squirrel that lives in the log. He’s always sleeping,” the bat said.

“Surely he must wake up sometimes,” Isaac said. “Unless he’s hibernating. Is it the right time of year for hibernating?”

“You don’t even know what time of day it is,” the bat said. “Do you think figuring out the time of year would be any easier?”

The bat had a point. Isaac was done arguing. “Just tell me if you’ve seen a spider,” he said.

“I don’t remember one,” the bat said.

“But you have a terrible memory,” the owl said.

“So do you,” the bat said.

“No I don’t,” the owl said.

“Yes, you do,” said a new voice. Isaac looked down. A squirrel looked back up at him from a gap in the side of the log. It blinked slowly.

“What do you know?” the bat asked. “You’re always sleeping.”

“I’m not sleeping, I’m remembering,” the squirrel said. “Would you like to hear what I remembered?”