There was a hushing noise beside me and I turned. It was the little In-Betweener. The mudluff creature was hovering in the air beside me, floating up in space like an amoeba the size of a cat, glittering with all the colours of a rainbow.

“Hey,” I said. “Well, at least you’re okay. But Jay’s dead. Maybe I ought to have left you there with that tyrannosaurus thing after all.”

The soap bubble colour changed to a rather miserable shade of  purple.

“I didn’t mean it,” I said. “But he was… my friend. He was ‘me’, kind of. And now he’s dead. and I can’t even get him back to his home. He’s too heavy.”

The colour purple warmed up until it glowed a gentle shade of gold. It extended something that wasn’t quite a limb and wasn’t really a tentacle – a pseudopod, I suppose, if that means what I think it does — and it touched the metal suit just above the heart.

“Yes,” I said. “He’s dead.”

It pulsed a gold — a sort of frustrated gold — and tapped exactly the same place on the suit.

“You want me to touch it there?”

It changed colour once more, to a serene blue, a ‘pleased’ sort of blue. I put my finger where the pseudopod had been, and the suit opened to me like a flower to the sun. Jay had been wearing grey boxer shorts and a green t-shirt underneath it. His body seemed so pale. I dragged the suit out from underneath him.

It weighed a ton. Well, maybe a hundred pounds. The amoeba was still hanging around, as if it were trying to tell me something. It extended a scarlet-tipped pseudopod toward the silver mass of the suit, which lay crumpled on the red earth. Then it pointed at me, and twinkling silver veins, appeared across its balloon body.

“What?” I asked, frustrated. “I wish you could talk.”

It pointed at the silver suit, now faded to a dull, battleship gray, and then back at me once more.

“You think I should put it on?”

It glowed blue, the same shade of blue it had gone before. ‘Yes, I should put it on. “I’ve heard of speaking in tongues,” I said. “I’ve never heard of speaking in colours.”

Interworld, “Conversation with Hue”, Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves

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