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Bina> You can see through the glaringly obvious lie, but attempt to not digress from the main issue.

"Right - " begins Bina, planning on being the bigger person and not pointing out that whatever nefarious organization this person works for just casually violated her medical confidentiality, but she's cut off by someone, not the Director, on the other end of the line.

'Storm reports up!' says a muffled voice.

"Thank you CJ," says the Director. There are more keyboard noises and then, "You said an hour ago?"

"Yes. It would have shrank and then got bigger again."



"Well I do see a fluctuation at that time - " says the Director.

"Ooooh thank god," says Bina, breathing out.

"But only in rate of change."


"It's still shrinking," says the Director. "It just slowed down for a while."

"Shrinking?" asks Bina, her voice sounding strange in her own ears. "Since when?"

"Since about one thirty this afternoon," says the Director.

What had been happening at one thirty? Nothing. Literally nothing. They'd been stuck on the observation tower while Bina tried to figure out how to work with a javascript engine running entirely on four dimensional watch gears.

"We have another two dips about an hour later, after it had started shrinking," continues the Director. "Slowed to almost nothing there. The Tactical team reported some kind of subsidence about then just before we lost contact."

The Tower, that has to have been the tower falling.

Did the mess in the tower make the storm get that big? No, that can't be it. Cracks break in reverse as you approach the point of impact from the past…

"When did it start?" a part of her brain not thinking through implications manages to croak out.

"About three AM last night," says the Director, far away in Ottawa.

She knew that, she'd been there, getting drenched.

Her brain keeps trying to tell her that this is good news, that the storm shrinking means the cracks in the world are healing, but that is dumb and wrong because this is time travel and everything is backwards. She throws a mental shoe at it and starts getting properly terrified.


Looking at the Man Behind the Curtain, I assume there's a preplanned target to the story, and our suggestions are equivalent to playing curling as we glide toward it…?

This is a good question and Chaz is mostly right, except for the percentages, as they've changed over time.

I tend to use the suggestions as an oracle. The first and most obvious way I use them is that I listen when people say they need something explained. I also use them as a source of ideas, and as a way to surprise myself with where the story is going.

It's sort of a dance, I write things and you react, and I react to you. Your curling analogy is a good one.

As I've said several times over the years, this story was originally a straight up ghost story and it was going to be told entirely within the laundromat, one setting, with five characters: Bina, Gregor, two ghosts and the 'dog' (which was, surprise surprise, not actually a dog).

There was something in the basement but it was more of an altar / archaeological dig / gribbly horror-show, and it was the size of a room, not several city blocks of underground sugar factory.

All deviations from this have been as a result of user suggestions.

As we've gone on, I've had to pull back on the kind of suggestions I'm able to take. These days I am trying to avoid taking any suggestions that expand things or make the story bigger. I love those suggestions, and there have been some really good ones recently, but based what happened when I took maybe two or three of those, my short story is now the size of several novels. If I'm not careful I'm going to be at this for a very long time indeed.

I've mentioned before that there's a point at which I'm going to have to forego suggestions. I'm not looking forward to that, but the alternative is really rolling the dice on whether we get to anything approaching a satisfactory ending. I can't promise that I'll be able to wrap this up in a way that makes everyone happy even if I avoid suggestions, but I suspect that I'll have a better chance at it if I'm not writing it one day at a time.

That won't happen soon. The earliest it might happen would be after all the time loops it the hospital are resolved, which I expect to take another two months at least.