At the northern perimeter wall they turned to face south, preparing to make the return journey back Middleseton empty handed.
'Where are the Sounds?' whimpered Flakey. 'I don't understand. There should be at least one.'
'Do mean Amanda?' Carole heard the story from Beryl. 'It is very sad. I'm sure you will find her. If not here, somewhere.'
Flakey wasn't sure what his response to the question should be. It was true he was desperate to find Amanda. She, or at least the sight of her feet speeding through the sound hole of the cello, after she quite deliberately asked him not to let go, reduced his sleep patterns to a series of fits and starts mixing with muffled cries.
'Don't say anything, Flakey.' Elizabeth pulled her hero away. 'We haven't looked over there yet.'
'Yes, we have,' protested Flakey,' remember we lifted up that box, the blue one with the yellow lid, we prised it off with an iron bar.'
'Never mind, just come with me.'
In this exposed wilderness lightning was the main threat, the vast plain resembled a scrap yard of discarded metal.
Carole was fascinated by the army of tangerine machines picking their way through the cast off aluminium sheets or cutting brass fittings off of copper pipes. Miniscule wire cutters, on wheels that appeared to turn in all directions flustered about stripping the covers of the wire, piling up the bared material ready for the forklift truck to take it away.
At the other end of the scale huge magnets attached to mobile cranes picked up ferrous materials from one pile and moved it to a more appropriate pile.
Meanwhile Flakey walked among the knee-high automatic balers queuing to unload their load on waiting carriers. Carole watched the timid, but nice Sound doing something she had never seen before.
'1 2 3 4.' On the count of 4 Flakey lifted the lid of the nearest baler and let the rain in.
'1 2 3 4.' Lift. Bang!
Inside the baler, after the smoke cleared a scratching alarm sounded then died.
'Why are you doing that?' she asked Flakey. 'You have rendered them inoperable. Now they can't clear the scrap'
'They are the enemy,' Flakey counted and said, '1 2 3 4. Lift. Bang!'
'I don't understand.' Carole recovered her fingers from her ears as soon as the alarm stopped ringing inside the wire cutter that was about to pass by. 'They're just cleaning up the mess of iron and steel. What harm have they done to you?'
Flakey, as usual wasn't sure how to answer Carole. Her outlook on everything was different and mainly bewildering. 'Do you know where this "mess of iron and steel" ends up?'
'I'll answer your question, once you have answered mine.' Carole pulled Flakey's hand away from the lid of the rescue truck that responded to the alarm call from the burnt out vehicle. 'Answer my question, What harm have they done to you?'
Elizabeth placed the unwanted tool rack back on top of the heap of rusty implements she was searching through. 'What was the question?'
'More questions. No answers.'...