“How I got here? It was dark. I couldn’t see the road. No street lights in this place. I ended up in this there tree, one of my tires dangling beneath like an eyeball loosed from a socket. Ghouls below — dancing. Carcass roasting in the middle but it wasn’t an ordinary animal. A *human* animal. They said it was a sparkly pink cowboy, formerly. They talked backwards a lot.”
“Like Doug over there?” John the Mind Reader pointed in the direction of Doug over there.
“No, not like a German (Doug was German: Douglas Hinterbocher the 3rd or 4th, I never can remember). Like a mutant.”
“Fine Young Cannibals?”
“Kind of,” I answered to this. “Anyway, I eventually came to the attention of Thomas, short, at least at one point, for Thomasina I gathered.”
“Yeah, the Big Boss. I know her.”
“Of course you do, John. We all do. Pyramid.”
“We all come from there.”
“I recall.” But John the Mind Reader *didn’t* recall that part of their shared hertory, all of ’em. It was a big ol’ blind spot, as he put it, mostly in his mind and not to others and where they couldn’t get to it easily, he figured, being the only Mind Reader in the village, or at least he believed. Not until
Brunhilde Sarah Jennifer Lane, another sparkly one in fact. Shared presents. The Answer? Maybe.
“Gorman was one of the ghouls.”
“Oh. *That* explains a lot.”
“Sure does.” He shut up for a while after that, figured he’d revealed enough for now. He could still see the fire, the carcass, the smiles and grins all around, only a few with a full set of teeth, thanks to the rotten dentists around here, mostly old and displaced Tilists. Including Gorman. Knew about the evils of Sprite all along, as it turned out. Grant Hill, PHEH. What was up on that hill anyway? Another mountain?
“When did she first become visible to you. This… *woman*?”
“She said she came from a library.”
“Ahh. More *origin* stories,” said John to this.
(to be continued)