“You’ve become part of the machine again, Axis.”
“I know, honey,” Axis wrongly termed the already committed and married Tronesisia. She took it in stride, knowing the bug would have its fun.
Tropp knew there was a danger of being trapped in New Eden forever. Far out, like Planet X. Beyond Pluto even. But did he care? Probably not — in and of himself.
But there was Hidi to think of. Or Hayden. She changes each day. She’s at Rosehaven, in The Waste, at The End of Time, in Nascera. Everywhere the family is, she is too.
But most of all currently, she’s on Dog I. With the Cat.
“If you reopen the passage to Caledonia the water will rise and swallow the island. Let the child decide instead. I decree this from my Coffin World.”
King Tull(y) had already made up his golden mind, inner and outer in resonance. “Did you enjoy the spirits tonight, Great Queen? They sang my molten name loud and clear through the silver fog.” He turned his head. “The child will obey me.”
She didn’t look up from her book. “The old ‘you have yours, I have mine’ routine, then.”
The king coldly simmered a minute before acting again.
The cavern passages were long and numerous. Pitch stopped to ask a gray woman directions, but she was just a statue.
A way out (!). But he dare not step into the sun for fear of waking up. He wasn’t quite ready for that.
He tried to orient himself by statues and other objects, such as that barrel in the background here.
Resting both brains and legs for a bit before continuing…
Then suddenly he was upon it: the source of the music from the former dream, although he didn’t realize this at first.
The birds perched on the keyboard urged him forward. “You are a musician like us!” they seemed to warble.
Now Pitch can’t play the piano worth a lick, but when he sat down on the stool and automatically thrust his hands forward, lo and behold he turned into a maestro. And fingering the same tune as heard before: the eerie, quasi-jazz piece with halting ebbs and flows. A composition by Rutherford “Booger” Hayes, he then realized. The first president of the United States that was never president of the United States.
After a couple of bars, he hunched up his legs and took it all in. He’d really and truly found the great 3-n-1 this time. Thank you Melvin. Thank you so much! He couldn’t wait to wake up and tell Mary.
And so he did.
Mary, pack your bags. I’m pretty sure I can see, speak, hear again up there.
Tronesisia nurses a jigger of cognac and waits patiently in Audrey’s while the others amble about below and beyond. She speaks to the bartender after glancing over at Curled reading ‘Winesap’. “You know, Bean, they should never have named that boy Paper.”
Paul finally made it out of that cave.