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“I keep asking myself,” says Marco, pacing, ” where are we going? With this? I mean, yeah, the journey not the destination, but we still have to… are you, uh,” and he looks directly at her. “Are you listening?”

Cassidy’s trying, but there’s a banjo in her head. Dang a dit dit a liddle pang tong! “Yeah,” she says, rubbing her eyes. “I’m sorry, what were you saying?”

“I was. Uh.” Marco pulls something out of his pocket, then kneels jerkily. “Cassidy Fox?” he says. “Will you marry me?”

Cassidy stares. Diddle ting pong iddle dit pit a tang! she thinks.


In the reverse of the natural order, the pile of leaves jumps into Claude. They can’t quite make out what happens next, but there’s a wrenching pop and a muffled scream, and then Claude’s arm comes flying out to land at their feet.

Claude’s not attached to the arm. They all stare at it. Janice pokes it with her rake.

The pile drops Claude’s remains and turns to (somehow) face them. Its color has deepened from Harvest Gold to Cadmium Red. It’s breathing.

“RUN!” screams Marco.

They manage to set it on fire later, which seems, briefly, like a great idea.