“They’ll really and truly send you up the river for this one if you don’t cooperate, Duncan. Pin the murders on you one by one. Go down the list, create justifications. Is that what you really want?”
“Of course not. I didn’t kill Ruby!”
“Keep it down, keep it down,” he implored in his cool, grunge voice. “That one we can remake through the leg. Legs are like 11, but, taken apart, 1 apiece. Cloning abilities. But the 12th? Gone.”
“I know — pipe it down. You didn’t do it. Well… that’s the price you pay for being a member of that silly Pot-D. People can use you against your will. You wake up in jail, you wake up in a mortuary, you wake up on a beach, you wake up inside a whale’s mouth. No rhyme nor reason for it. But now there’s a reason. And that’s what *we’re* here for. Pan-Z. Horizontal and vertical are the only directions that will counter diagonal. The Straight is a subsection of The Cross. This is where they meet: this tree lined lane and then the island just beyond. It’s the Mason-Dixon Line all over again. Are you ready to cross into Dixie?”
Duncan glanced over through the cracked rear window of the bus stop. “I do like tree lined roads, granted.”
“Good. Then it’s settled. When you see me again, I won’t look like this.” Then he was gone; winked out.
Duncan thought back to the terrible, horrible revelations Colonel Flagstaff just spoke about on the border of Harrietsville and Arkendale — where The Straight and The Cross supposedly link energies with each other. He could be the 13th. He could be pinned for it all. He could be in the pen forever and ever. He must sign the new contract with a blood filled pen or else: pencil him gone as well.