He’d been living in the woods for weeks, maybe months. The only friend he had was Dr. Blood. The only structure he knew was the TILE Tower. The woods, the friend, the tower: these were his new center. Dr. Blood said this was all that’s left of the world. “Deal with it,” he’s replied quite a number of times now to Homer’s complaints about the rest going away. He had.

Then suddenly one day, on the east horizon, appeared to Homer a town of a single spire, still forming but becoming more and more complete with each ticking moment. He ran into the heart of the woods, searching for Dr. Blood. He paused where the Tinbaby sometimes manifested, circling around an impossible triangle. “Dr. Blood!” he called. “Something has happened. Something has *appeared*. I think… I think it may be a way out. A way home. Dr. Blood! Ohh. Where is he?”

He then heard a small (final) “pohc pohc pohc” on the far side of the forest and moved toward the sound. Dr. Blood had just finished reverse chopping the 75th green cypress back into life. He propped his cold axe against the streaked, brown trunk of the newly reborn tree as Homer approach. He took into account his friend again. Bulging, blank eyes. Balding. Protruding stomach from consuming too much junk food and beer down through the years. Slobby. But he had grown to admire the man. He was totally dedicated to his family and hell bent on finding them again.

“Ah, Homer. Excellent timing.” He waved his arms around. “Only 1 more to go now and the woods will be fully restored, all 200 trees back in their proper place. You know, there’s a pattern to all this. Took me eons to find. So what’s this about a mirage again? Did I hear correctly? You know the tricks this place can play on a man. If it was the day after tomorrow I might have believed you. Possibly.”

Homer was convinced this time. “Well, I’ll show you and then *you* can decide. Come with me.” They both walked briskly to the open space in the forest where Homer spied the city to the east. Dr. Blood was shocked that he could see it as well. Collagesity had returned! He checked his heart clock.


“Time is moving forward again, Homer. It must… have been 199 trees instead of 200!”


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