We made good progress that next day.
I sat in the front seat, as I filled in only pertinent details about the here and the now, in my life. I felt I had already pushed their credulity about me, to the limit. I was surprised to see that this vehicle was equipped to drive on the right, unlike the still recalcitrant British. They must have left this vehicle somewhere near the coast here, for when they jaunted off on their voyages of discovery, like those early American pioneers; Lewis and Clark, heading into the unknown.
I explained what they would see happen to me as we approached the area of interest, which was just a broad expanse of woodland on the map, with mostly old-growth oaks, untended after all of these years, shedding limbs, blowing over, and without any obvious roads into it after all of this time.
I was not the only one being kept out of there, but it would be only a mild inconvenience for any other. It would gradually creep up on anyone else, and discourage them from harvesting the oaks, searching for truffles, or doing anything else. They, would barely feel it at first, whereas it felt, to me, as though my head was gradually filling with red hot ball bearings.
I let them know of my increasing discomfort as we got too close.
They marked a point on the map, and we backed off, then travelled in on another road, until I felt the real pain beginning again, or not.
They still did not question my sanity, but they may also have sensed a slight tingling for themselves.
Over the next two days, we had almost circumscribed an obvious area about fifty kilometers in diameter, around which I could function reasonably well, but inside of which, I experienced obvious discomfort.
They took my word for it.
Now would come the real test.
They drew a broad circle on the map. The center of that area was where we had to aim for now.
It helped to see that there was a river on that map at about that same location.
Google-Earth, satellite photos, were not of a sufficiently high resolution to see detail in that uninhabited area. We would have to push in as far as we could in their four-wheel drive vehicle and strike out on foot from there.
I told them what the next stage would have to be, for me.
They’d already seen my difficult in hiding my discomfort at certain times, so they accepted what I told them.
“You will need to bind me, to stop me fighting against this, and against you. You must ignore me no matter what I say. The mental pain will not kill me, but it will make me very violent.”
They did as I asked, and then headed, by what seemed the path of least resistance... maybe it had once been an old road... directly into the zone. I told them that if I was correct, these antagonistic forces arraigned against me would eventually stop... those other forces would keep them away, while trying to draw me in. By then we would be in striking distance of my former home.
We drove. I closed my eyes to focus on fighting the developing pain.
After that, I lost all sense of where I was.
They told me afterward that I had complained at first very vocally. Then had pleaded, first in French, then in German, English, in many other tongues, devolving back to the old French of my childhood, as I threw myself around, trying to get free.
Any doubts they’d had about me to that time, soon dissipated. They described how I became like a mad man, and then like a man afflicted with an advanced case of tetanus, showing extreme rigor in those moments before all muscles tore themselves apart and death, took over.
They feared for my very life.
Then, there was instant calm.
They sensed the change for themselves, as well as seeing it in me.
They freed me.
I stumbled from the vehicle, half blind with the receding pain, stuck for the moment, and then headed due east. I knew where I was going now, no longer like a fart in a pisspot. I picked up my shoulder bag.
“Stay with him, John, we’ll see to freeing this, and follow you, so blaze a trail for us to follow. There can’t be more than another few kilometers to get to the river.”
They watched us go, with Burgess following me, marking a trail for them to follow with his machete.