Still screaming, he found himself in the schoolhouse attic, which long, long ago he had left for Fantastica. At fast he didn’t recognize the place, and because of the strange objects around him, the stuffed animals, the skeleton, and the paintings, he thought for a brief moment that this might be a different part of Fantastica. But then, catching sight of his school satchel and the rusty seven-armed candelabrum with the spent candles, he knew where he was.
How long could it have been since he started on his long journey through the Neverending Story? Weeks? Months? Years? He had once read about a man who had spent just an hour in a magic cave. When he returned home, a hundred years had passed, and of all the people he had known as a child he remembered only one, and he was an old old man.
Bastian was aware of the gray daylight, but he could not make out whether it was morning or afternoon. It was bitter cold in the attic, just as on the night of Bastian’s departure.