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"You know, I think I met her?"

"Who, Josephine?"

"No! That would have been weird, because she is probably dead, and also lives in the past. I meant Hyung. The developer. She of the couch sitting."


"Tall? Short hair? Kind of scary?"

"Sounds like her."

"Yeah, I saw her last week while I was doing my rounds."

"What was she doing?"

"It was near the empty lot one street over. I've been giving out like two or three tickets a week day over there. Lots of cars, police, stuff like that. I thought there'd been an accident. I only remember her because she was shouting at someone. The cops I think."

"Small world."

"So how did you get back here? I mean, back to this time. From the sugar factory."

"I climbed."

"You climbed?"

"Yeah, on my grandmothers scarf."

"How did… that work?"

"I sort threw it and hooked it on a star, and then I climbed it. When I got to the top I woke up here. Upstairs I mean, in the Laundromat."

"Right. Like you do."

"You're thinking I'm nuts again!"

"I don't know what to think ok? It's all pretty weird."

Bina and Kendra continue down the tunnel. The floor slopes upward, not a lot, but enough that after several hundred feet, the mud now reaches only to their ankles.

"Isn't it supposed to be summer? I distinctly remember being worried about heat stroke earlier today."

"I don't think this place got the memo."

> Kendra: Realise that Bina is speaking perfectly.
> Bina: Don't.

"You know you're, uh, speaking ok now? No more messed up words."

"I am? Oh! I am! I didn't… Wow. Ok. That's a good thing."

Tiny muscles in Bina's neck, muscles she had not even know she had, relax. An easing of unobserved anxiety. She had been worried that it was going to be permanent.

"Do you know what caused it? The talking thing?"

"Well you know how I'm making you keep your eyes closed because of the spooky stuff in my arm? I'm not being paranoid. Ok, I AM being paranoid, but I'm not JUST being paranoid. I've got good reason to be cautious with this stuff."

"And the not-being-able-to-talk-properly is…"

"What can happen if you're NOT being cautious with this stuff."

"Righto. Well. I'll just keep my eyes shut then."

"Hold up."

"More slippy stuff again?"

"No, it looks like the tunnel bends just ahead of us, and I think I see a light. A real light. Maybe."