Mario is five again, in the Beanbag Corner, where Miss Gladisant is teaching him the phonics of time. She sings three simple syllables at three pitches and they loop, a perfect echo, three times before they fade away.
Mario tries to copy her, but he gets one note exactly wrong. As soon as he finishes he feels himself grabbed by the stomach, yanked, breath forced back into his throat–sings again, can’t help it, grabbed, singing, helpless, again and again.
Miss Gladisant shouts a strong, angry word. The loop shatters. Mario wakes, nauseated, in Mexico, and knows what Barrister has done.