The airship, going at full speed, got nearer and nearer to the Moon, and soon craters and rocks were clearly visible. Getting still closer, Capt. Cookie and Ron, his stand-in co-pilot, could see footprints.
“Those look like Winterbottom’s big feet!” said the captain, slowing the airship down.
They followed the trail of footprints, going around and around in crazy spirals and tangents until they suddenly shot off in a straight line towards the Moon’s dark side.
When the airship got to the dark side, Capt. Cookie and Ron could no longer see Winterbottom’s footprints. They couldn’t see anything except the Milky Way.... and a small blue light in the distance.
Winterbottom got into his little tent and sat down. He felt a bit dizzy, but also relieved to have shelter. But how was he going to get home? How long had the acrobat and the other abductees been here on the Moon? How many people were living here? Had anyone ever escaped?
The airship got nearer to the blue light.
“Looks like a police station!” said the captain.
“Nhfh,” said Ron, confused.
Capt. Cookie took his telescope and looked at the mysterious building. He could see one of the police-insects at the window looking up at them, while through the other window he could see another police-insect typing furiously.
“Mmm, no sign of Win....” said Cookie.
“Captain! Look!” said Ron suddenly.
Cookie pointed his telescope in the direction Ron was indicating.
“Tents!” he cried, taking the controls and moving the airship towards them.
It was quite cold on the dark side of the Moon and Winterbottom had got into the sleeping-bag that had been provided. He started to drift off.
“Winterbottom! Commander Winterbottom!” came a loud voice. “Calling Winterbottom! This is your captain speaking! Capt. Cookie!”
Winterbottom woke up.
“I’m saved!” he cried, sitting up.
The captain, leaning out of the airship cockpit’s window with a megaphone, repeated his call: “Winterbottom! Are you there?! This is your captain! Please acknowledge!”
“I’m here!” shouted Winterbottom, struggling to get out of the sleeping bag, whose zip had stuck. “Great Auk poo!” he cursed. “Come on, you stupid rotten thing!” he mumbled, trying to get the zip to move. “Captain! Sir! I’m here! Help!” he shouted desperately.
© David Severn 2013