Someone gripped Ben’s shoulder, shaking him awake.
‘Fetch your kit,’ said the someone, just a shadow in black.
The shadow was breathing hard, a wheeze on the exhale he recognised in his own lungs. Shanty Chest, Dom had called it with a wink. But there was no more Dom. Ben kept forgetting.
He pulled his bag open, grabbing for his jacket, stuffing his bedroll inside, though it slipped and fought him as if it was alive.
‘Move,’ said the someone. ‘Five minutes and we’re out.’
Then there was no someone, no tent, only a whistling, gaping hole and the sky and stars and the stars were exploding over his head, big and white enough to blind, filling the night with cracks loud enough to break open the earth.
‘There coming!’ screamed another someone.
But he was staring up at the stars, watching them break and flash and fade and listening to the crackling hush to silence.