directions

“Sometimes I don’t know where the blues begin and end, Esmerelda.”

Remaining silent, she stares out at the rocking and rolling boats as well. He’s obviously concerned about the waxing and waning Oesso logo on his chest, she thinks. Instability! The threat of re-absorption into the machinery. But she knows it also probably won’t happen. This was a test, after all. “Do that thing you do to the gas emblem,” requested the head honcho with her all white eyes spanning the universe itself but in a bad way. “See what happens; see if he has any weakness that we can exploit.” Nothing of significance spotted so far. He seems destined to leave again. “We can’t trap him,” she imagines saying to a displeased Mid-Hazel, dreading the rest of the day.

The Oesso logo remains stable now. He returns his attention to the table and the map upon it. “Any-way. Here it is, what you witches have been looking for. Mountainsburg to the west, Formosa — the LOST island — kind of to the north, Kate to the east. And a Little Rock in the middle, just enough to eventually get us out of New York Orleans.” He then looks at the Cat-Witch’s colorful wafer cookies just beyond, wondering why the south pales in comparison. Further away than the rest from his angle? A symbol of Oesso itself? *Cat-Witch* is to the south, he reminds himself. The whole lot of ’em.

Esmerelda studies the map of Arkansas carefully, looking at the handwritten parts. Peter Oesso can’t cheat at this game because he doesn’t know how — yet. Best to strike a deal early before his presumptive ascent. “Sold,” she says. “You can have the girl.”

“Great.” He stares out again. “Now can you make at least *one* of these boats stop rocking so I can get the heck out of here??”

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