It was getting foggy again. They must be close to the library. “Who are you?” she demands from the nefarious agent before her — ‘nother one — on this 3rd of levels, with yet another door to go through to reach the absolute end. “47,” he said, still reading, which was a lie because he was 23. Woman now: no hair on the lip atall. Thanks to the drink. “Reading about you, actually.”
“Oh yeahhh?” She was trying to act tough, heard gays or lesbians tend to do that. Stereotyping, even though she is one of ’em now.
“Um, yeah,” he answered plainly back, wondering about the posturing. She adjusts and leans left. She thinks it is the right thing to do — to back down from this man who seemingly has a plan. “Panama,” he continues to follow that last sentence. “Bridge between North and South.”
“Phooeysticks,” she barked, and then actually covered her mouth, wondering where the words come from. Phooeysticks? What kind of childish utterance was that?
But then she remembers saying it, long ago. In a crib by the silver shore. She said it to her Pop.
She looks toward the end which is not quite the end. “What’s behind the curtains, Pop?” She was talking in her head to her long dead father, going on 20 years now. “Oz,” came the kind voice back. “Or Ozzie; whichever you wish, darling.” She now knew she was dreaming but couldn’t wake up still. “Go to the pulpit and see,” requested the voice again. Agent 23 remained silent and frozen, his role done for now. She proceeded forward and sat.
She still held the pop in her left hand, which was the channeling device. She still heard Pop in her head. “Feel the landscape, feel the *ground*,” as the lightning struck all around the picture before her. The tree! she thought. The swamp tree, but a… tamer one. One I can actually deal with. Not the one…
She recalled the last level. Sykes.
No need to go there now.