“Bollweevil?” gasps Salem, surprised and joyful.
Bollweevil screams raw and tries to get away. His legs aren’t working. He grabs a bench and scrambles.
“What a fortuitous encounter!” says Salem. He hooks fingers into Bollweevil’s nostrils and pulls up, and Bollweevil’s legs do work, then. Salem grabs his hair, then presses their lips together and puffs hot stale air.
Bollweevil’s unsure whose breath is worse.
“Say thank you.” Salem wipes his mouth.
“Thank you,” mutters Bollweevil. They’re the first words he’s been able to speak since Crane. “Thank you, thank you,” and he silently counts one-one. Two-two. Three-three.