11. Nina

Chapter 10

Nina

I found some strands of hair near my bed this morning that I don’t think belong to me. I can’t leave my room. I get moods sometimes, but that’s because my mom used to get them. It’s just a thing in my family. My uncles all self-medicated for it. Two ended up with liver failure.

I saw some kids playing outside today. Cute little girls and their mom, I think. She looked so young. There was a time when it was the fashion to have kids at that age. It seems to me that that’s coming back. That’s alright, I guess. It’ll all change again eventually, right? That’s what happens.

The following was told to me by a friend.

Swear to god I’m telling it straight. Swear I am. Alright, listen. Nina! Nina, look at me. You’ve got to pay attention, okay? Look at me. Alright. Here’s first – this is the first thing, of six. Six things to tell you and not much time to say them. Alright. The first thing –

And I should mention that I’m just passing this along. I just say what I hear, so I’m saying this. But listen, because it’s important. First is this. Have you seen things in your head? Yes. Strange things? Yes. Frightening? Yes. Dreams? No. Are you frightened? Yes. Next time there are things in your head, you must imagine a clock, imagine the numbers and the box and the tick, and tell me what time it is. In your head, I mean. I don’t care so much what time it really is, but look around the room you dream about and find a clock. That tells you what you have to do next. It’s very important to know what the clock says, I think.

Don’t look at them, Nina. Look at me. Come here. Look at my face – look at your brother’s face, Nina. Look at me. It’s going to be okay. Don’t look at them.

Most of this stuff doesn’t make much sense to me. I know, I know. It’s weird, I know. It’s all jumbled and even when it’s in the right order it’s working on a different kind of logic. But they’re not metaphors. That’s really important, that they’re not metaphors. Okay? They’re real rules, and they don’t mean anything but what they really do mean. So don’t go thinking what I’m saying is some deep thing. It’s just what I hear to say.

4:31 is a dangerous time. That’s when he usually shows up. After 5:00 is safe, and so is before 3:15, generally. If he’s going to show up at all, it’ll be at 4:31. And stay away from music too. Just in general. I call him the music man, but everybody’s got different names for him. You following me? Tell me if you’re not. It’s important that we get this right.

So here’s thing two. Thing two is important too, because it’s not something you look out for but something you do to get away. All the places you dream about are really the same place and it just changes around every once in a while. He’ll make it look like his room, and it really isn’t. Remember that. He just makes it look how he wants. So remember where the door was before he showed up, and it’ll still be there no matter how it looks. So go out the door and into the hallway. Here’s the important part – here’s thing two. Every place you dream about are rooms in a big, big hotel, and out in the hotel you’re playing by different rules, so you have to learn them. But, the hotel is the only place to hide. He can’t go back inside there after he did what he did, so it’s the only place. You can run there, but there are other things that you can’t run from, and some of them live inside. You get there by dreaming yourself there, and then he can’t get you. He can’t get inside anymore.

Okay, thing three. And this one is really weird. I need to stress again that I’m not being philosophical or anything. Some of this stuff you’d think I’m being really obscure about, but I swear I’m trying as hard as I can. It’s just complicated. This is the easiest way I can explain it. It’s about the hotel, and the dreams and things like that. Okay.

So there was this old thing that Socrates thought of where he figured that writing killed ideas by depriving it of a living mind. It’s in Phaedrus. So ideas need to be in your head to be alive, okay? When you forget something, you just killed an idea. The kitchen is full of shopping list corpses. You’ve probably woken up at 2:00 in the morning with an idea for a novel and then rolled over and forgotten it. Socrates thought that if you write it down, you’re killing it, but they’ve got you coming and going, because if you just forget it the idea winds up dead too.

Except for this hotel, alright? That’s where dead ideas end up, because somebody saves them, like a janitor, okay? He runs the hotel. So let me bring it back around. Thing number three. The real Socrates drank hemlock and choked to death, but whatever everybody thought of him and then forgot about went to the hotel. But the real Socrates drank hemlock. That’s number three.

Do you understand? I know it’s complicated. Just remember it, okay? Okay? I promise it’ll get better soon. You’ll understand, I promise. He’s not going to get you. You just have to listen to me. Okay?

Let me try something. This is the fourth thing, or the third thing again. How old are you? What year is it? Where do you live? What is your house like?

Mm-hmm.

The fourth thing is this: you are from Berlin. Have you heard of Berlin? It’s in Germany. It is 1821. It has always been 1821, because you were born in 1806. All the things you remember, all those things about your house and your school, all that was a dream that you’re waking up from right now. And you’ve forgotten. This is your house, here. Outside your bedroom is Germany. It has always been Germany. All of that is very far away. Don’t be frightened. You’re home. You’re home, you’re home. Your name is Nina. ̶T̶h̶e̶ ̶f̶o̶u̶r̶t̶h̶ ̶i̶s̶ ̶t̶h̶i̶s̶:̶ ̶He ̶c̶a̶n̶ ̶c̶h̶a̶n̶g̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶i̶n̶g̶s̶,̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶ ̶w̶o̶n̶’̶t̶ ̶e̶v̶e̶r̶ ̶k̶n̶o̶w̶.̶

Number five. He’ll find you like he found me. Eventually, you’ll realize that you’re just delaying. He doesn’t get tired, and he’ll make you think you’ve gotten away for a long, long time. But if he marks you, he’ll kill you eventually. He’ll never forget about you. He’ll turn everyone you know against you, make you alone, and kill you. But first he’ll make you fall in love with him. He’ll whisper things to you, and you’ll be his friend. For the rest of your life, you’ll be his friend. And when he comes back after however many decades, you’ll be happy to hold the knife that guts you. Right now he sleeps in the room next to yours, but what do you think will happen if he gets out? He’ll come for you, and then he’ll burn the whole world down.

He’s coming, Nina. I hear him. Get in the cupboard – hide. Don’t be afraid. I love you.

And number six. He’s right even if he doesn’t know it. Life is very sweet, sister.

It starts quietly, low/ like whale song,/ resonating/ deep within the stomach/ before it rises/ to/ the ears, subtle and/ intoxicating. Then the/ noise/ changes and fluctuates, dancing/ in brains and/ wrists,/ before it moves to/ the mouth, and/ the/ heart, and the eyes./

The drone drills through/ you, dangling you/ from/ windows and subway cars./ Eventually your fingertips/ will/ dance, leaving your hands/ and creeping toward/ your/ throat, to strangle you/ like little vines./ The/ music man’s noise will/ never leave you:/ plug/ your ears, puncture your/ eardrums, gouge away/ and/ gurgle and shiver, and/ the noise will/ find/ you at the edges/ of every surface,/ throbbing/ and infecting you. That/ whining rumble, subconscious/ and/ terribly present, will deafen/ you, rip and/ rape/ you, hold you and/ bless you and/ keep/ you, forever and ever,/ till death do/ you/ part. Amen. Amen. ////////

on the third day after the man made you rip your brother apart he comes for you screaming in your bed he has two men with him made of wood with painted faces one holds your arms down you bite and scratch and kick he forces your ears open and begins to hum the black noise rises from his throat like a fever your back arches you scream you call for your father the second wooden man throws a bloody tooth on to your chest he is holding a wrench his lips are smiling he asks where the note is but you don’t know you don’t know you don’t know the noise grows inside your eyes you vomit you are his now music man music man music man he has

found you found you found you found you found you found you found you found you found you found you found you found you found you found you found you found you f̸ound you ̢fo̶u͝nḑ ̧you ̕f͘o̵un͠d̨ ỳo҉u̶ ͞f̡o͡u̡nd͜ ̕y͏ou ̕f̶ơu͏n̷d͘ ̶yơu ̷fou̢nd̸ y͡o̴u͏ f̨o͝u̡n̢d͏ y̧ou̕ ͞foun̡d̵ ͠y͞ou ̶fo̡ùn̡d ̷y͢ou ͞fou͟nd͞ yóu̷ fou̸n͢d ̷y͘ou͟ ͞f̴ou̕nd you ͞ f̸ǫu̶nd͜ you̸ ͘f̨ound ͢yo̸u̶ ̕f̧o͜und̵ y͝o̸u ̸f̀ou̢n͡d y̶ǫu͢ fo҉u͏nd ̴you͝ ́fo̷u̸n͢d̛ ̧y̢ou̶ f̵̬̗̪o̞̬͖͖̠̹ͅu̯͎̙̫͉͟ǹ̝̟̞̰͕d̪͝ ͓̦̪͚y̥̱̟̰̟ou̸ ̬̳̝̲̟̠̫͡f̝͇͚͞ͅo̫͍͕̖̲͈u̴̘͚͔̥̝n̖̼͙d͔͉̣͎̟̤͞ yo͉̳̜u͓̪̰̮̜͉̼ ̣̳̕f̜͈̮͠o̸̼͕u͍̬̲̥̼n̰d̞̞͓͓̖ ̼̱̩̫̞͎̙y̟͕͙o̰̖̣u̪̟͉͈̰̥̞͜ ͓̯̬͓̱͈̰f̲͍̖̮̹o̡̱̲̦̹̦u͍̖̕ǹ̤͈̺͙͎d ̲̞͚̖̩y̻͈͖͔͉ò̬u̴ ̴͈̥̻̟̬̱f̰̹͇̦ó̩͕̘͉un͍͙̻̭̯̫̤ḑ̹ ̯y̫̤̜͠o̺̪̙̤̫u͚̙̺͇ ͎͖͙̹̥̣͇f͖͢o̠̥͍̖̼͜u͠n̫̱͍̩̩̙͟d͘ ̣͓̟͉̰͎y̻̳͉o̤̤̲͘u̵͚͉͖̟ ̧̮̪̞f̴͎o̡̮̬̘͕u̪̘͙n̲̫͕̤͚̻͓d ͇͙̟͉͚̠y̻o̩͇͇̺̤̣u͎̳͖̼̻̖ͅ ͙͎̙̘̟͇̕f̻̥͈͔̟̘͜o̞̠͉͇̞̞̳͠u̱̻̖̬n͟d̛͕ ̘y̟̫ͅou ͠f̳̰̬͇ơ͖̙ͅͅu͖͙̱n̷d͕͇̱ ̩y̥̬̰̜̜̼͔o͍̦̳u̯͙͇̼ ̫̥̯̤̮̳̣́f̸͓͔͔͈͎̯o̜̥̹̤͚͇u̳̼n͡d̷͙͈̟̞ ҉̬̮̭̯y̘̻͚͚ó̰͓̻̭u͇͓̲̹͓̗̺ ͔͡f̜̘̫̻͔͔ͅo̖̩̳̖̻͠ͅu̶̙͓̘̜͎̲n̟̪͍͔̠̘̫d͓͚̺ ͖̺͔̹̤͎̟͡y͚̣̭͔̻ͅo̫̗̦͔̗u̪̰̥̭̙ ͉̳̣̩f̪̼͕̰̳o͖̹u͕͕͓͜n̴̘͎d̴͈ ͓̥͕̻̯y̝o̘̝̠̱͈̮͓u͙̳̘̖̦̺̯ ̟̟̹̤̬͓̠f̢̻͙ọ̟͇̻͡ͅu͉̰n̫̮̣̦̙̫d͙̻̲͈̣̬ y̗͍̰̜͔̥̬o̜͔̠͉ụ͘ ̱̹͓̺̱̫͙f̧̱̗͍̝o͍̣̪͉̮u̡̩n̟̮̞͚d̳ ̧̮̱̬̮̻ͅyo͔͍͉u͙̬̙͚̩̫ f̭͈͠o҉̖u͏̙̻̬nd͈̼̗͙͇ y̟̪̮̦̮̗̰o̯̘͙u̷̬̻ ̡͎͇̥̱͕͓f̀ơ̮̳̭͍̼̩u̘̘̫̞̬n̘̙d̸͚̲̼̭̹̻ ͞y͙o̼̟̥͓ù̹͉ ̻̲͟f͔̹͎̤̺͕̹ò͈̤̙̘uṋ͕͇̝̘͖́d҉̲͚̣̻̙ ̗̱̮͘y͙̞͚̝̖͍̲o̪ͅͅu͝ ́f͞o͚̥̘̞̰̲u̻̦n͔͙̜ͅd̳̲ ͢yǫ͔͈͎u̜̘̟̦̙̬ ͓͚͞f̞͔̯͉̎̿ͬ͐o̫̪̼͔̰̲̐ͯͦ̒̍̏̂u̗̮̟͍ͧ̊̔͊̇͒̒n̗͔̙̫ͬ̓̐́d̿ͦ̋̃ͣ̄ ̋ͪ̿ͪ͏̮͉̖̼̯̲͍y̑̊́o̟̳̭̣̯͂ͭͤù̻̼̹̺ͪ̌̚ ̢̳̠̼͉͓f̟͈̫̳ö̩͚̙uͤ̔ͮͧͨ̑̒ṅ̜̣͔͉͖ͩͮͮ̎̓̽d̤͕̻͓̗͇̻̆ ̵̬̳ͯͯ͊ͪ͛ͫ̔ẙ͉͉̥̗̭̮̇͒ͪ̉o͖͇̲̖̱̖͉͛͐̐͋̾̋̄ủ͒͋̓͌͏̫̣̬̻̪ ͈̯͔ͤ͑ͤ̀̈́ͯ́f̰̩̱̫͍̉ͣ͆̐͑oͭ̾҉̯̠͇u̡̯̣͍n̜̈́̊͟ḋ̏͋ ͈̙͓̣̼̠̤͆͊̃͌͒̍y̦̝̝̎̽ͯ͌͗̏̆͠o͕̼ͦͯű͚̙͑ͯ́͑̐͂͝ ͕̫̗ͣͨͣ͒̀f̖̯̰̣̜̄̀o̻̥ͬ͗ͪ̾͘u̟̺̭̦̹̺͚͊ͤ̅̋ͧn̴͙͇̲̼ḍ̽̈ͦ̾̆̚ ̠̮̩̙̭̘͝ͅy̺̠͎̣̞͇̾̀̋̇ͫ̓o͛͌̌͋͏̻͕̥̱̥u̪͇̖̭͓̺͉ͯ͐ͣ̉ͮ ͖̱͇̪̼̤̞̀ͭ̀̀̔f͚̪̮̺̗̒̀̔̚o̩͙͎̒͗û̞̫̭̈ń̫̯̜͍̄d̝̦̟̋̉ ̌̋҉̙͉̙͉͍͍y̨͇͕̜͔o̤ͣu͈̻̟̳ͯ ̬̻̳̠̦̯̘̋̏̀͢f͔̬̰̲̍̔ͅo̗̜͌u̬̦̤̇́̊͊n̹͋͆d͚͎͎ ̰̩͕͎̳̹̯ͬ̆͋̑̇̀y͓̋͒̄̋̚ǫ̗̦̊u͙̭͈̹̬ͦͮͅ ͖̞̽̋̇ͅf̴̧̯͙̻͓̟̤͇̫̏͗͗̎̆ͅo̡͇̘̯͎͋̒̔͌̾̂̊̚ͅu̵̯̜̪̮̦̼̭͆̄̑̋͆ͮ̔ͨ̓͢n̫̟͔͓̘̼̘̍̓̃͌̅ͯͬ͠d̸͚̤̞̞̹̱ͤ̏́ ̫̯ͥ̄̇́͜͞ẙ̡̻̮̪͙̬͇̱͎ͨ̀̂̚o̻͓̮̦̦̞͇ͦ̔͒͟ͅu̪̱̬͊ͧ̄ͭ̑̚̕ ̏͗ͩ̌́͜҉̩͇̦̤̞̮̞ͅf̛̩̼͈͂̄̏̒o̶̬̲͍͙̜̼ͩ̒ͮ͒̊͞ͅu̢̠̦̗̞̰͇ͦ̿̽̒̚n̼͓̲̦ͨ̾̆͂ͬ̽d̟̬̠͎͔̟̺́ͅ ̖͕̪̭̓ͧ̍ͩ͡y͕̱̼͔ͬ̓͜͠o̠̘͉͓͍͉ͬ̒͗͗͊ͤ̓͠ù̡̜͍̬̪͉̑͒̎ ͧ̍͊͏̫̬͓̝̥̱̭̤́f̫̞͇̰̤͔͙̮̑͂ͯͮ̏́o̯̓ͬ͘ͅu͑̐̇͌̾͂͐̒̑͝҉҉̪̮̤̫̟̩̰̼ͅn̨͉͍̝̥̜̥ͣͮ̐̑͒̔̈́́ď̰͉̖ͫͬ̎̓ͦͯ ̥̉̋̉͛ͨ̃͞y̍͂̈ͣ͘҉̹̫̖̲̜͙̟̞̕ȏ̼̖͓̺̿ͯu̧̗͍̳͍͔͗͜ ̝̤̉f̵̗̬̤̬̺͇̮͎ͧ̇͑̍̎͒ͦ̒́o̢̗̪̥͑̿͐͒ͪ̅̑̀ͅữ̸͓̥̻͎̝͈͉ͬͣ̊ṉ̷̭̪̯ͧ̈͐̐̍ͯ̆ď̷͉̙̓̂̀͋ͨ̀ ̸̼̺̮̜̳̽͌̉͋͑ÿ̤̬̱̟̮̼͚͍̒o͍̣͎͎͕ͤ͗͂̄͠u̩͎̫̔̿̂̉ͧͦ ̯͔̮̣̦̦̗͒̅̐͌̾̓f̻͎̥ͫͭ̕͜͠ô̪̙̦͍͓̝̭̱ͥ̚ȕ̽͢҉̴̟͍ṅ̷̷̻͇̱͍̈́͜ḓ̻̤͊̊́ ̳͚͚̝͔̿ͪ́ͫ̚͡ͅy̡̜̮̯̏̒̀͠ơ̼̳̜̟̰̣̅ͫ̆͗͑̅͆ͥȕ̧̮ͮ̇͐̏͜ ̰̠̞̏̏f̮̣̠̔́̓̈́͆̎o̻̟͛͞ù̸̞̻͉͎̣͍͐̋n̴̡̟̪͎̔͗ͭͥ̍̉̈́͠d̗̭̲̰̦̘̤̖ͦ̓̅̂ͦ̉̚ ̙͚͛͞͠ȳ̡̼̓̉́͆̉o̷̫̮͉͒͆̐͌̍̇ų͎̻̥̼͋ͥ̍ ̵̵̤̻͖̳͎̜͚̓͂͂̊͌ͩͅͅf̴̧̯͙̻͓̟̤͇̫̏͗͗̎̆ͅo̡͇̘̯͎͋̒̔͌̾̂̊̚ͅu̵̯̜̪̮̦̼̭͆̄̑̋͆ͮ̔ͨ̓͢n̫̟͔͓̘̼̘̍̓̃͌̅ͯͬ͠d̸͚̤̞̞̹̱ͤ̏́ ̫̯ͥ̄̇́͜͞ẙ̡̻̮̪͙̬͇̱͎ͨ̀̂̚o̻͓̮̦̦̞͇ͦ̔͒͟ͅu̪̱̬͊ͧ̄ͭ̑̚̕ ̏͗ͩ̌́͜҉̩͇̦̤̞̮̞ͅf̛̩̼͈͂̄̏̒o̶̬̲͍͙̜̼ͩ̒ͮ͒̊͞ͅu̢̠̦̗̞̰͇ͦ̿̽̒̚n̼͓̲̦ͨ̾̆͂ͬ̽d̟̬̠͎͔̟̺́ͅ ̖͕̪̭̓ͧ̍ͩ͡y͕̱̼͔ͬ̓͜͠o̠̘͉͓͍͉ͬ̒͗͗͊ͤ̓͠ù̡̜͍̬̪͉̑͒̎ ͧ̍͊͏̫̬͓̝̥̱̭̤́f̫̞͇̰̤͔͙̮̑͂ͯͮ̏́o̯̓ͬ͘ͅu͑̐̇͌̾͂͐̒̑͝҉҉̪̮̤̫̟̩̰̼ͅn̨͉͍̝̥̜̥ͣͮ̐̑͒̔̈́́ď̰͉̖ͫͬ̎̓ͦͯ ̥̉̋̉͛ͨ̃͞y̍͂̈ͣ͘҉̹̫̖̲̜͙̟̞̕ȏ̼̖͓̺̿ͯu̧̗͍̳͍͔͗͜ ̝̤̉f̵̗̬̤̬̺͇̮͎ͧ̇͑̍̎͒ͦ̒́o̢̗̪̥͑̿͐͒ͪ̅̑̀ͅữ̸͓̥̻͎̝͈͉ͬͣ̊ṉ̷̭̪̯ͧ̈͐̐̍ͯ̆ď̷͉̙̓̂̀͋ͨ̀ ̸̼̺̮̜̳̽͌̉͋͑ÿ̤̬̱̟̮̼͚͍̒o͍̣͎͎͕ͤ͗͂̄͠u̩͎̫̔̿̂̉ͧͦ ̯͔̮̣̦̦̗͒̅̐͌̾̓f̻͎̥ͫͭ̕͜͠ô̪̙̦͍͓̝̭̱ͥ̚ȕ̽͢҉̴̟͍ṅ̷̷̻͇̱͍̈́͜ḓ̻̤͊̊́ ̳͚͚̝͔̿ͪ́ͫ̚͡ͅy̡̜̮̯̏̒̀͠ơ̼̳̜̟̰̣̅ͫ̆͗͑̅͆ͥȕ̧̮ͮ̇͐̏͜ ̰̠̞̏̏f̮̣̠̔́̓̈́͆̎o̻̟͛͞ù̸̞̻͉͎̣͍͐̋n̴̡̟̪͎̔͗ͭͥ̍̉̈́͠d̗̭̲̰̦̘̤̖ͦ̓̅̂ͦ̉̚ ̙͚͛͞͠ȳ̡̼̓̉́͆̉o̷̫̮͉͒͆̐͌̍̇ų͎̻̥̼͋ͥ̍ ̵̵̤̻͖̳͎̜͚̓͂͂̊͌ͩͅͅf̴̧̯͙̻͓̟̤͇̫̏͗͗̎̆ͅo̡͇̘̯͎͋̒̔͌̾̂̊̚ͅu̵̯̜̪̮̦̼̭͆̄̑̋͆ͮ̔ͨ̓͢n̫̟͔͓̘̼̘̍̓̃͌̅ͯͬ͠d̸͚̤̞̞̹̱ͤ̏́ ̫̯ͥ̄̇́͜͞ẙ̡̻̮̪͙̬͇̱͎ͨ̀̂̚o̻͓̮̦̦̞͇ͦ̔͒͟ͅu̪̱̬͊ͧ̄ͭ̑̚̕ ̏͗ͩ̌́͜҉̩͇̦̤̞̮̞ͅf̛̩̼͈͂̄̏̒o̶̬̲͍͙̜̼ͩ̒ͮ͒̊͞ͅu̢̠̦̗̞̰͇ͦ̿̽̒̚n̼͓̲̦ͨ̾̆͂ͬ̽d̟̬̠͎͔̟̺́ͅ ̖͕̪̭̓ͧ̍ͩ͡y͕̱̼͔ͬ̓͜͠o̠̘͉͓͍͉ͬ̒͗͗͊ͤ̓͠ù̡̜͍̬̪͉̑͒̎ ͧ̍͊͏̫̬͓̝̥̱̭̤́f̫̞͇̰̤͔͙̮̑͂ͯͮ̏́o̯̓ͬ͘ͅu͑̐̇͌̾͂͐̒̑͝҉҉̪̮̤̫̟̩̰̼ͅn̨͉͍̝̥̜̥ͣͮ̐̑͒̔̈́́ď̰͉̖ͫͬ̎̓ͦͯ ̥̉̋̉͛ͨ̃͞y̍͂̈ͣ͘҉̹̫̖̲̜͙̟̞̕ȏ̼̖͓̺̿ͯu̧̗͍̳͍͔͗͜ ̝̤̉f̵̗̬̤̬̺͇̮͎ͧ̇͑̍̎͒ͦ̒́o̢̗̪̥͑̿͐͒ͪ̅̑̀ͅữ̸͓̥̻͎̝͈͉ͬͣ̊ṉ̷̭̪̯ͧ̈͐̐̍ͯ̆ď̷͉̙̓̂̀͋ͨ̀ ̸̼̺̮̜̳̽͌̉͋͑ÿ̤̬̱̟̮̼͚͍̒o͍̣͎͎͕ͤ͗͂̄͠u̩͎̫̔̿̂̉ͧͦ ̯͔̮̣̦̦̗͒̅̐͌̾̓f̻͎̥ͫͭ̕͜͠ô̪̙̦͍͓̝̭̱ͥ̚ȕ̽͢҉̴̟͍ṅ̷̷̻͇̱͍̈́͜ḓ̻̤͊̊́ ̳͚͚̝͔̿ͪ́ͫ̚͡ͅy̡̜̮̯̏̒̀͠ơ̼̳̜̟̰̣̅ͫ̆͗͑̅͆ͥȕ̧̮ͮ̇͐̏͜ ̰̠̞̏̏f̮̣̠̔́̓̈́͆̎o̻̟͛͞ù̸̞̻͉͎̣͍͐̋n̴̡̟̪͎̔͗ͭͥ̍̉̈́͠d̗̭̲̰̦̘̤̖ͦ̓̅̂ͦ̉̚ ̙͚͛͞͠ȳ̡̼̓̉́͆̉o̷̫̮͉͒͆̐͌̍̇ų͎̻̥̼͋ͥ̍ ̵̵̤̻͖̳͎̜͚̓͂͂̊͌ͩͅͅf̴̧̯͙̻͓̟̤͇̫̏͗͗̎̆ͅo̡͇̘̯͎͋̒̔͌̾̂̊̚ͅu̵̯̜̪̮̦̼̭͆̄̑̋͆ͮ̔ͨ̓͢n̫̟͔͓̘̼̘̍̓̃͌̅ͯͬ͠d̸͚̤̞̞̹̱ͤ̏́ ̫̯ͥ̄̇́͜͞ẙ̡̻̮̪͙̬͇̱͎ͨ̀̂̚o̻͓̮̦̦̞͇ͦ̔͒͟ͅu̪̱̬͊ͧ̄ͭ̑̚̕ ̏͗ͩ̌́͜҉̩͇̦̤̞̮̞ͅf̛̩̼͈͂̄̏̒o̶̬̲͍͙̜̼ͩ̒ͮ͒̊͞ͅu̢̠̦̗̞̰͇ͦ̿̽̒̚n̼͓̲̦ͨ̾̆͂ͬ̽d̟̬̠͎͔̟̺́ͅ ̖͕̪̭̓ͧ̍ͩ͡y͕̱̼͔ͬ̓͜͠o̠̘͉͓͍͉ͬ̒͗͗͊ͤ̓͠ù̡̜͍̬̪͉̑͒̎ ͧ̍͊͏̫̬͓̝̥̱̭̤́f̫̞͇̰̤͔͙̮̑͂ͯͮ̏́o̯̓ͬ͘ͅu͑̐̇͌̾͂͐̒̑͝҉҉̪̮̤̫̟̩̰̼ͅn̨͉͍̝̥̜̥ͣͮ̐̑͒̔̈́́ď̰͉̖ͫͬ̎̓ͦͯ ̥̉̋̉͛ͨ̃͞y̍͂̈ͣ͘҉̹̫̖̲̜͙̟̞̕ȏ̼̖͓̺̿ͯu̧̗͍̳͍͔͗͜ ̝̤̉f̵̗̬̤̬̺͇̮͎ͧ̇͑̍̎͒ͦ̒́o̢̗̪̥͑̿͐͒ͪ̅̑̀ͅữ̸͓̥̻͎̝͈͉ͬͣ̊ṉ̷̭̪̯ͧ̈͐̐̍ͯ̆ď̷͉̙̓̂̀͋ͨ̀ ̸̼̺̮̜̳̽͌̉͋͑ÿ̤̬̱̟̮̼͚͍̒o͍̣͎͎͕ͤ͗͂̄͠u̩͎̫̔̿̂̉ͧͦ ̯͔̮̣̦̦̗͒̅̐͌̾̓f̻͎̥ͫͭ̕͜͠ô̪̙̦͍͓̝̭̱ͥ̚ȕ̽͢҉̴̟͍ṅ̷̷̻͇̱͍̈́͜ḓ̻̤͊̊́ ̳͚͚̝͔̿ͪ́ͫ̚͡ͅy̡̜̮̯̏̒̀͠ơ̼̳̜̟̰̣̅ͫ̆͗͑̅͆ͥȕ̧̮ͮ̇͐̏͜ ̰̠̞̏̏f̮̣̠̔́̓̈́͆̎o̻̟͛͞ù̸̞̻͉͎̣͍͐̋n̴̡̟̪͎̔͗ͭͥ̍̉̈́͠d̗̭̲̰̦̘̤̖ͦ̓̅̂ͦ̉̚ ̙͚͛͞͠ȳ̡̼̓̉́͆̉o̷̫̮͉͒͆̐͌̍̇ų͎̻̥̼͋ͥ̍ ̵̵̤̻͖̳͎̜͚̓͂͂̊͌ͩͅͅf̴̧̯͙̻͓̟̤͇̫̏͗͗̎̆ͅo̡͇̘̯͎͋̒̔͌̾̂̊̚ͅu̵̯̜̪̮̦̼̭͆̄̑̋͆ͮ̔ͨ̓͢n̫̟͔͓̘̼̘̍̓̃͌̅ͯͬ͠d̸͚̤̞̞̹̱ͤ̏́ ̫̯ͥ̄̇́͜͞ẙ̡̻̮̪͙̬͇̱͎ͨ̀̂̚o̻͓̮̦̦̞͇ͦ̔͒͟ͅu̪̱̬͊ͧ̄ͭ̑̚̕ ̏͗ͩ̌́͜҉̩͇̦̤̞̮̞ͅf̛̩̼͈͂̄̏̒o̶̬̲͍͙̜̼ͩ̒ͮ͒̊͞ͅu̢̠̦̗̞̰͇ͦ̿̽̒̚n̼͓̲̦ͨ̾̆͂ͬ̽d̟̬̠͎͔̟̺́ͅ ̖͕̪̭̓ͧ̍ͩ͡y͕̱̼͔ͬ̓͜͠o̠̘͉͓͍͉ͬ̒͗͗͊ͤ̓͠ù̡̜͍̬̪͉̑͒̎ ͧ̍͊͏̫̬͓̝̥̱̭̤́f̫̞͇̰̤͔͙̮̑͂ͯͮ̏́o̯̓ͬ͘ͅu͑̐̇͌̾͂͐̒̑͝҉҉̪̮̤̫̟̩̰̼ͅn̨͉͍̝̥̜̥ͣͮ̐̑͒̔̈́́ď̰͉̖ͫͬ̎̓ͦͯ ̥̉̋̉͛ͨ̃͞y̍͂̈ͣ͘҉̹̫̖̲̜͙̟̞̕ȏ̼̖͓̺̿ͯu̧̗͍̳͍͔͗͜ ̝̤̉f̵̗̬̤̬̺͇̮͎ͧ̇͑̍̎͒ͦ̒́o̢̗̪̥͑̿͐͒ͪ̅̑̀ͅữ̸͓̥̻͎̝͈͉ͬͣ̊ṉ̷̭̪̯ͧ̈͐̐̍ͯ̆ď̷͉̙̓̂̀͋ͨ̀ ̸̼̺̮̜̳̽͌̉͋͑ÿ̤̬̱̟̮̼͚͍̒o͍̣͎͎͕ͤ͗͂̄͠u̩͎̫̔̿̂̉ͧͦ ̯͔̮̣̦̦̗͒̅̐͌̾̓f̻͎̥ͫͭ̕͜͠ô̪̙̦͍͓̝̭̱ͥ̚ȕ̽͢҉̴̟͍ṅ̷̷̻͇̱͍̈́͜ḓ̻̤͊̊́ ̳͚͚̝͔̿ͪ́ͫ̚͡ͅy̡̜̮̯̏̒̀͠ơ̼̳̜̟̰̣̅ͫ̆͗͑̅͆ͥȕ̧̮ͮ̇͐̏͜ ̰̠̞̏̏f̮̣̠̔́̓̈́͆̎o̻̟͛͞ù̸̞̻͉͎̣͍͐̋n̴̡̟̪͎̔͗ͭͥ̍̉̈́͠d̗̭̲̰̦̘̤̖ͦ̓̅̂ͦ̉̚ ̙͚͛͞͠ȳ̡̼̓̉́͆̉o̷̫̮͉͒͆̐͌̍̇ų͎̻̥̼͋ͥ̍ ̵̵̤̻͖̳͎̜͚̓͂͂̊͌ͩͅͅf̷̢̨̧̰̜̦͔͓̥̻̻͉ͥ̿̓ͯ̎̍̇̄ͩ͑ͫ͒̆ȍ̼̟̪̝̻͎̝̖͙̂̓̆̊ͥ͋ͭ͗͑ͬͥ͒̽ͦ͊͐ͤͮ̕͞ͅu̸̸̝̙͚̝͉̪͍̤͚͔̝̬̜̜̼ͦ̄̄ͯ̎̒̽̀͠͝ͅnͯ̓ͦͨ̃̈ͧ͌͛͆̉́͋ͥ͒ͫ̚͏̢̭̻̙͎̲̻̜̹͈͕d͔̩͚̰̊͐̓̊͛́̓͆͗ͯͭ̎̒̿̚͘͝͞ ̧̛͑̿̎̽̂ͫ̅̓ͯͬ̓҉̗̤̩̤̥̜͖̜̗͙̟̮͈͓͖̮̮yͣͨ̇̑̓̄̿͋ͫ̿̓͛͏̬̤̺͈͈̝̼̝̪̠͘o̵̘͙̖̪͈͚̖̬͓̯̻͕̲̝͖̜͂̿̋ͯ̀ͨ͒ͤͬ͋͌̔ͬ͊̂́̐ͮͯ͜͠͝u̿͆̐̎͐̐̈́̽ͥ͗ͨ͋̈̑͟͏҉̘̳͖͇̟̙̘̹̲͚̮̹̻͈̰͠ͅ ̨̻̠̯̗̱͔͖̗̭̼̼̼̺͓̂ͣ͗̄̉̒̈́̇̋ͯ̆̾ͥ̂̔͐̓ͧ̚ͅf̧̣̮̮̰̬͙̼͓̜̮͍̰̜̌̅͒ͮ̊͂ͬ̀̾͐͆̆ͨͦ͐́͟͢͠o̢͍̬͎͖̘̺̦̯͓̫͍ͪͦ̇̅̽ͦ́͜ṵ̡̺̞̭͖̋͂͛ͧͥͤͨ͐̋ͨ́͢n̨̞͚̳̤͙̮͖̲͓ͪ̍͑̊ͭͦ̍ͪ̊̓̄̍͗̃͂͌̐̒͞͠͞͠d̴̨̧͖͓̺̮̰͈̠̼̜̪͕̮̮̗̮̺̦͇̙ͮ̓̃̃̋̀ͩͭ̌̇͗͊ͩ̾̒͘ ̢̨͉͚͎̦̟̥͚͕̞̱͔͈̘͔̪̜ͤ͌̄ͅẙ̶̷͈͉̘̲̭̻̬̦̮͙͓̥̯ͤ͋ͣͪͣ̋͂͋ͨͣ̂̿́ͅͅo̴̵͇͕̮̭͔̱͎͉̥͍̪̣̞̬͚͚͙̬͋̇ͧ̃͆̽͂͌̉ͩ̆ͣͦͬͭ͐́̚͘͝ủ̷̧͉̳̖̖̞͙̯̳̺̠̖͉̱̙͚ͪͤͤͨ̓͂ͩͭ́͜ͅͅͅ ̸̸̜̟̬̟͕̺̳̯̻ͣ̓̑͟f̴̔͒̎͋̅̍ͤͪ͌͆̊͌̾͋̃̀̚҉̷̺̗͈̬͖ǫ̢̻͇̭͓͉̻̦͈̤͔̼̫͎͎̀ͩ̈́ͨ̒̓̈́̄́̒ͤ̏͟͝u̢̱̫͇̮͙̻̻̬̳̮̣̼̜̒̇͒̓͐͊̇ͧ̈͢ͅn̵̺̥̱̲̮̣̍̈̔̀ͨͬ̆͌ͬ̀͝d̡̛͖͙̹̯͇͓̣͍̪̺͉̤̻̰̥̭͉ͫ̿ͬͩ̄͛͂ͦ̔̈̆̔̑̆͆ͤ͌ ̇ͤͮͧͯͩ̐ͯ͗̿̍̍̊̆̏̚͏͢͏͉͉̯̻̞̖͙̻̮͙̱̩̬̼̫͈̫̦ͅŷ̊ͪ̊̀҉̗̥͇̦̠̳̳̼̕̕ơ͉͚̭̘͈̮̹̭͑ͨͧ́͌̉ͩ̆͌͑ͯ̿͊̆͑ͅu̵͚̭̥͚͙̫̿͗ͨ̔̒̉̾͗͘̕ ̶̵̧̖̦͈̦̥̳͖̖̪ͧ͛͑̄̋̈̏͆ͧ̓́͟f̨̾́͐̐̀̇̊̊ͫ̍̚͜͏͈̬͙̘̩̗̭͉͇̙͝ͅo̵̡͒̏̿̎̒ͨ̿̆ͭ̑ͦ̋̏ͧ̚͠҉̙͇͕͚̣̮̪̗u̢͕̺̞̳̖̦̖̦̬̤ͧ̐ͫ̔ͩ̀̕n̾̿ͫ̄̈́ͬ͗͑͋ͩ͐ͯ͏̢̥̼̘͍̮̝̟̦͍̙͕̬͈̗̖̹d̸̫̲̱̠͖̦͉̞̼̰̼͕̦ͩ͛̔ͥ͂ͩ́̕͜͞ ̸̡̟͍̟͍͉̠ͩ̈ͬ̽͋́y̵̡͍̼͖͍̼̬̜̘̝ͭ̀́́̄͞ͅǒ̵̝̠͈̺̫̖̗͔͉̬͈̩͈̠͙ͣ̈ͪ͊̅͂̓͛̿ͧ͘ư͉̳͇̍͌̾͆̅ͩͭ̀͜͞ ̡̯͕̻̘̠̘̘̖̮̲͚̣̳͂̓̓̋͂̇̄̈́ͪ͊͛̏͌ͨ̀́͢͢ͅͅf̢̛̗͙̝͇̭̹̪̯̘̞͕ͩ̌͐̈͝o̵͑ͨ͗̐̿ͩ̓̒̿ͨ̽̈́̽ͮ͌̔ͨͦͨ͘͢҉̯͍̭̪̬͖̦̯̠u̢̜͉̫̰̘̱̥̤̞̦̤͈̮̬̰͍͂ͯ̓̏̋́͊̅͒̄ͯͯ̓̐͆ͭ̀̚n̴̫͙̘̳̯̮̳̣̳̠̬̩̝̲̹͎͇͇͆͋ͧ̒́̀́̕͟ḑ̢̲̻̼̯̳̦̲̫̫̔̂̍͑ͩ̃̐͐̎̀͢ ̶̶̢͙͔̗ͧ̋̆̏̑͆ͩͥ̎̐͛̑̇̅̉ͥ̌̈͟͝y̶̙̙̦͕͔̩̦̞͋͛͌ͫ̊ͣ̐̇̑ͦͮ̈́͒͒́̀̚͘͡ó̲̟̠̳̞̯̜͙̭̜̣̺̦̳͒͆̓͊͝͡ũͩͯ̓͋ͯ̎͏̧̧̞͓̗͖ ̴̨̛̼͙̘͇̥̥̺̎̀̌̇ͪͦ̒̉̎ͮ͆̅ͭ̎͢f̩̯̪̩̖̬̰̜͂ͭ̊̒ͦͩ͗̋̈̒͋ͨ̒̚͟͞͡ͅọ̡̡̹͈͎̮͚͖́̎̓ͧ̓ͩ͛͋͐̀ͣ̕͝ͅư̡̛̟͔̤̠̙̟̦͈̫͍͆̀ͥͩ͟n̈́ͮ̏ͧͫ͗̎҉̝͈̱̹̫̫̝̹̖̼̣̀͘d̢̡̩̖̠͕̰̦̥̝̮̜͒̍͐̈́͛ ̶̢͚̞̬̟͓̝̹̜͚͇͉̣͓̻̥̉̃̂̔ͪ̓̓ͩ͆̐̈̄̉̓̉͗̓͢ͅẙ̠̯̺̬̖͉̳̜͙̬ͫ̃̋ͯ͌ͥ̏́̈́̌̓̅ͤ̊̉̐͂̚͢͢͡o̴̗͇̺̬̮̜ͦ͋ͪ̉̀͞͞͠u̶̞̞̠̣͍̬̪̫͛̉̈̔̏̋ͤ͘͞ͅ ̵͚̘̠̱̹̦͔̂ͮ̓̓͌͂̇ͧ̃͂ͦ̆ͮ̋̓̃̉͘͜͠͠ͅf̷̢̨̧̰̜̦͔͓̥̻̻͉ͥ̿̓ͯ̎̍̇̄ͩ͑ͫ͒̆ȍ̼̟̪̝̻͎̝̖͙̂̓̆̊ͥ͋ͭ͗͑ͬͥ͒̽ͦ͊͐ͤͮ̕͞ͅu̸̸̝̙͚̝͉̪͍̤͚͔̝̬̜̜̼ͦ̄̄ͯ̎̒̽̀͠͝ͅnͯ̓ͦͨ̃̈ͧ͌͛͆̉́͋ͥ͒ͫ̚͏̢̭̻̙͎̲̻̜̹͈͕d͔̩͚̰̊͐̓̊͛́̓͆͗ͯͭ̎̒̿̚͘͝͞ ̧̛͑̿̎̽̂ͫ̅̓ͯͬ̓҉̗̤̩̤̥̜͖̜̗͙̟̮͈͓͖̮̮yͣͨ̇̑̓̄̿͋ͫ̿̓͛͏̬̤̺͈͈̝̼̝̪̠͘o̵̘͙̖̪͈͚̖̬͓̯̻͕̲̝͖̜͂̿̋ͯ̀ͨ͒ͤͬ͋͌̔ͬ͊̂́̐ͮͯ͜͠͝u̿͆̐̎͐̐̈́̽ͥ͗ͨ͋̈̑͟͏҉̘̳͖͇̟̙̘̹̲͚̮̹̻͈̰͠ͅ ̨̻̠̯̗̱͔͖̗̭̼̼̼̺͓̂ͣ͗̄̉̒̈́̇̋ͯ̆̾ͥ̂̔͐̓ͧ̚ͅf̧̣̮̮̰̬͙̼͓̜̮͍̰̜̌̅͒ͮ̊͂ͬ̀̾͐͆̆ͨͦ͐́͟͢͠o̢͍̬͎͖̘̺̦̯͓̫͍ͪͦ̇̅̽ͦ́͜ṵ̡̺̞̭͖̋͂͛ͧͥͤͨ͐̋ͨ́͢n̨̞͚̳̤͙̮͖̲͓ͪ̍͑̊ͭͦ̍ͪ̊̓̄̍͗̃͂͌̐̒͞͠͞͠d̴̨̧͖͓̺̮̰͈̠̼̜̪͕̮̮̗̮̺̦͇̙ͮ̓̃̃̋̀ͩͭ̌̇͗͊ͩ̾̒͘ ̢̨͉͚͎̦̟̥͚͕̞̱͔͈̘͔̪̜ͤ͌̄ͅẙ̶̷͈͉̘̲̭̻̬̦̮͙͓̥̯ͤ͋ͣͪͣ̋͂͋ͨͣ̂̿́ͅͅo̴̵͇͕̮̭͔̱͎͉̥͍̪̣̞̬͚͚͙̬͋̇ͧ̃͆̽͂͌̉ͩ̆ͣͦͬͭ͐́̚͘͝ủ̷̧͉̳̖̖̞͙̯̳̺̠̖͉̱̙͚ͪͤͤͨ̓͂ͩͭ́͜ͅͅͅ ̸̸̜̟̬̟͕̺̳̯̻ͣ̓̑͟f̴̔͒̎͋̅̍ͤͪ͌͆̊͌̾͋̃̀̚҉̷̺̗͈̬͖ǫ̢̻͇̭͓͉̻̦͈̤͔̼̫͎͎̀ͩ̈́ͨ̒̓̈́̄́̒ͤ̏͟͝u̢̱̫͇̮͙̻̻̬̳̮̣̼̜̒̇͒̓͐͊̇ͧ̈͢ͅn̵̺̥̱̲̮̣̍̈̔̀ͨͬ̆͌ͬ̀͝d̡̛͖͙̹̯͇͓̣͍̪̺͉̤̻̰̥̭͉ͫ̿ͬͩ̄͛͂ͦ̔̈̆̔̑̆͆ͤ͌ ̇ͤͮͧͯͩ̐ͯ͗̿̍̍̊̆̏̚͏͢͏͉͉̯̻̞̖͙̻̮͙̱̩̬̼̫͈̫̦ͅŷ̊ͪ̊̀҉̗̥͇̦̠̳̳̼̕̕ơ͉͚̭̘͈̮̹̭͑ͨͧ́͌̉ͩ̆͌͑ͯ̿͊̆͑ͅu̵͚̭̥͚͙̫̿͗ͨ̔̒̉̾͗͘̕ ̶̵̧̖̦͈̦̥̳͖̖̪ͧ͛͑̄̋̈̏͆ͧ̓́͟f̨̾́͐̐̀̇̊̊ͫ̍̚͜͏͈̬͙̘̩̗̭͉͇̙͝ͅo̵̡͒̏̿̎̒ͨ̿̆ͭ̑ͦ̋̏ͧ̚͠҉̙͇͕͚̣̮̪̗u̢͕̺̞̳̖̦̖̦̬̤ͧ̐ͫ̔ͩ̀̕n̾̿ͫ̄̈́ͬ͗͑͋ͩ͐ͯ͏̢̥̼̘͍̮̝̟̦͍̙͕̬͈̗̖̹d̸̫̲̱̠͖̦͉̞̼̰̼͕̦ͩ͛̔ͥ͂ͩ́̕͜͞ ̸̡̟͍̟͍͉̠ͩ̈ͬ̽͋́y̵̡͍̼͖͍̼̙̙̦͕͔̩̦̞ͭ̀́́̄͘͞ͅó̲̟̠̳̞̯̜͙̭̜̣̺̦̳͒͆̓͊͝͡ũͩͯ̓͋ͯ̎͏̧̧̞͓̗͖ ̴̨̛̼͙̘͇̥̥̺̎̀̌̇ͪͦ̒̉̎ͮ͆̅ͭ̎͢f̩̯̪̩̖̬̰̜͂ͭ̊̒ͦͩ͗̋̈̒͋ͨ̒̚͟͞͡ͅọ̡̡̹͈͎̮͚͖́̎̓ͧ̓ͩ͛͋͐̀ͣ̕͝ͅư̡̛̟͔̤̠̙̟̦͈̫͍͆̀ͥͩ͟n̈́ͮ̏ͧͫ͗̎҉̝͈̱̹̫̫̝̹̖̼̣̀͘d̢̡̩̖̠͕̰̦̥̝̮̜͒̍͐̈́͛ ̶̢͚̞̬̟͓̝̹̜͚͇͉̣͓̻̥̉̃̂̔ͪ̓̓ͩ͆̐̈̄̉̓̉͗̓͢ͅẙ̠̯̺̬̖͉̳̜͙̬ͫ̃̋ͯ͌ͥ̏́̈́̌̓̅ͤ̊̉̐͂̚͢͢͡o̴̗͇̺̬̮̜ͦ͋ͪ̉̀͞͞͠u̶̞̞̠̣͍̬̪̫͛̉̈̔̏̋ͤ͘͞ͅ ̵͚̘̠̱̹̦͔̂ͮ̓̓͌͂̇ͧ̃͂ͦ̆ͮ̋̓̃̉͘͜͠͠ͅ

̷̢̨̧̰̜̦͔͓̥̻̻͉̿̓ͯ̎̍̇̄ͩ͑ͫ͒̆ȍ̼̟̪̝̻͎̝̖͙̂̓̆̊ͥ͋ͭ͗͑ͬͥ͒̽ͦ͊͐ͤͮ̕͞ͅu̸̸̝̙͚̝͉̪͍̤͚͔̝̬̜̜̼ͦ̄̄ͯ̎̒̽̀͠͝ͅnͯ̓ͦͨ̃̈ͧ͌͛͆̉́͋ͥ͒ͫ̚͏̢̭̻̙͎̲̻̜̹͈͕d͔̩͚̰̊͐̓̊͛́̓͆͗ͯͭ̎̒̿̚͘͝͞ ̧̛͑̿̎̽̂ͫ̅̓ͯͬ̓҉̗̤̩̤̥̜͖̜̗͙̟̮͈͓͖̮̮yͣͨ̇̑̓̄̿͋ͫ̿̓͛͏̬̤̺͈͈̝̼̝̪̠͘o̵̘͙̖̪͈͚̖̬͓̯̻͕̲̝͖̜͂̿̋ͯ̀ͨ͒ͤͬ͋͌̔ͬ͊̂́̐ͮͯ͜͠͝u̿͆̐̎͐̐̈́̽ͥ͗ͨ͋̈̑͟͏҉̘̳͖͇̟̙̘̹̲͚̮̹̻͈̰͠ͅ ̨̻̠̯̗̱͔͖̗̭̼̼̼̺͓̂ͣ͗̄̉̒̈́̇̋ͯ̆̾ͥ̂̔͐̓ͧ̚ͅf̧̣̮̮̰̬͙̼͓̜̮͍̰̜̌̅͒ͮ̊͂ͬ̀̾͐͆̆ͨͦ͐́͟͢͠o̢͍̬͎͖̘̺̦̯͓̫͍ͪͦ̇̅̽ͦ́͜ṵ̡̺̞̭͖̋͂͛ͧͥͤͨ͐̋ͨ́͢n̨̞͚̳̤͙̮͖̲͓ͪ̍͑̊ͭͦ̍ͪ̊̓̄̍͗̃͂͌̐̒͞͠͞͠d̫̦ͮ̓̃ŷ̊ͪ̊̀҉̗̥͇̦̠̳̳̼̕̕ơ͉͚̭̘͈̮̹̭͑ͨͧ́͌̉ͩ̆͌͑ͯ̿͊̆͑ͅu̵͚̭̥͚͙̫̿͗ͨ̔̒̉̾͗͘̕ ̶̵̧̖̦͈̦̥̳͖̖̪ͧ͛͑̄̋̈̏͆ͧ̓́͟f̨̾́͐̐̀̇̊̊ͫ̍̚͜͏͈̬͙̘̩̗̭͉͇̙͝ͅo̵̡͒̏̿̎̒ͨ̿̆ͭ̑ͦ̋̏ͧ̚͠҉̙͇͕͚̣̮̪̗u̢͕̺̞̳̖̦̖̦̬̤ͧ̐ͫ̔ͩ̀̕n̾̿ͫ̄̈́ͬ͗͑͋ͩ͐ͯ͏̢̥̼̘͍̮̝̟̦͍̙͕̬͈̗̖̹d̸̫̲̱̠͖̦͉̞̼̰̼͕̦ͩ͛̔ͥ͂ͩ́̕͜͞ ̸̡̟͍̟͍͉̠ͩ̈ͬ̽͋́y̵̡͍̼͖͍̼̬̜̘̝ͭ̀́́̄͞ͅǒ̵̝̠͈̺̫̖̗͔͉̬͈̩͈̠͙ͣ̈ͪ͊̅͂̓͛̿ͧ͘ư͉̳͇̍͌̾͆̅ͩͭ̀͜͞ ̡̯͕̻̘̠̘̘̖̮̲͚̣̳͂̓̓̋͂̇̄̈́ͪ͊͛̏͌ͨ̀́͢͢ͅͅf̢̛̗͙̝͇̭̹̪̯̘̞͕ͩ̌͐̈͝o̵͑ͨ͗̐̿ͩ̓̒̿ͨ̽̈́̽ͮ͌̔ͨͦͨ͘͢҉̯͍̭̪̬͖̦̯̠u̢̜͉̫̰̘̱̥̤̞̦̤͈̮̬̰͍͂ͯ̓̏̋́͊̅͒̄ͯͯ̓̐͆ͭ̀̚n̴̫͙̘̳̯̮̳̣̳̠̬̩̝̲̹͎͇͇͆͋ͧ̒́̀́̕͟ḑ̢̲̻̼̯̳̦̲̫̫̔̂̍͑ͩ̃̐͐̎̀͢ ̣̹͈͎̮͚͖ͧ̋̆̏̑͆ͩͥ̎̐͛̑ͅư̡̛̟͔̤̠̙̟̦͈̫͍͆̀ͥͩ͟n̈́ͮ̏ͧͫ͗̎҉̝͈̱̹̫̫̝̹̖̼̣̀͘d̢̡̩̖̠͕̰̦̥̝̮̜͒̍͐̈́͛ ̶̢͚̞̬̟͓̝̹̜͚͇͉̣͓̻̥̉̃̂̔ͪ̓̓ͩ͆̐̈̄̉̓̉͗̓͢ͅẙ̠̯̺̬̖͉̳̜͙̬ͫ̃̋ͯ͌ͥ̏́̈́̌̓̅ͤ̊̉̐͂̚͢͢͡o̴̗͇̺̬̮̜ͦ͋ͪ̉̀͞͞͠u̶̞̞̠̣͍̬̪̫͛̉̈̔̏̋ͤ͘͞ͅ ̵͚̘̠̱̹̦͔̂ͮ̓̓͌͂̇ͧ̃͂ͦ̆ͮ̋̓̃̉͘͜͠͠ͅf̷̢̨̧̰̜̦͔͓̥̻̻͉ͥ̿̓ͯ̎̍̇̄ͩ͑ͫ͒̆ȍ̼̟̪̝̻͎̝̖͙̂̓̆̊ͥ͋ͭ͗͑ͬͥ͒̽ͦ͊͐ͤͮ̕͞ͅu̸̸̝̙͚̝͉̪͍̤͚͔̝̬̜̜̼ͦ̄̄ͯ̎̒̽̀͠͝ͅnͯ̓ͦͨ̃̈ͧ͌͛͆̉́͋ͥ͒ͫ̚͏̢̭̻̙͎̲̻̜̹͈͕d͔̩͚̰̊͐̓̊͛́̓͆͗ͯͭ̎̒̿̚͘͝͞ ̧̛͑̿̎̽̂ͫ̅̓ͯͬ̓҉̗̤̩̤̥̜͖̜̗͙̟̮͈͓͖̮̮yͣͨ̇̑̓̄̿͋ͫ̿̓͛͏̬̤̺͈͈̝̼̝̪̠͘o̵̘͙̖̪͈͚̖̬͓̯̻͕̲̝͖̜͂̿̋ͯ̀ͨ͒ͤͬ͋͌̔ͬ͊̂́̐ͮͯ͜͠͝u̿͆̐̎͐̐̈́̽ͥ͗ͨ͋̈̑͟͏҉̘̳͖͇̟̙̘̹̲͚̮̹̻͈̰͠ͅ ̨̻̠̯̗̱͔͖̗̭̼̼̼̺͓̂ͣ͗̄̉̒̈́̇̋ͯ̆̾ͥ̂̔͐̓ͧ̚ͅf̧̣̮̮̰̬͙̼͓̜̮͍̰̜̌̅͒ͮ̊͂ͬ̀̾͐͆̆ͨͦ͐́͟͢͠o̢͍̬͎͖̘̺̦̯͓̫͍ͪͦ̇̅̽ͦ́͜ṵ̡̺̞̭͖̋͂͛ͧͥͤͨ͐̋ͨ́͢n̨̞͚̳̤͙̮͖̲͓ͪ̍͑̊ͭͦ̍ͪ̊̓̄̍͗̃͂͌̐̒͞͠͞͠d̴̨̧͖͓̺̮̰͈̠̼̜̪͕̮̮̗̮̺̦͇̙ͮ̓̃̃̋̀ͩͭ̌̇͗͊ͩ̾̒͘ ̢̨͉͚͎̦̟̥͚͕̞̱͔͈̘͔̪̜ͤ͌̄ͅẙ̶̷͈͉̘̲̭̻̬̦̮͙͓̥̯ͤ͋ͣͪͣ̋͂͋ͨͣ̂̿́ͅͅo̴̵͇͕̮̭͔̱͎͉̥͍̪̣̞̬͚͚͙̬͋̇ͧ̃͆̽͂͌̉ͩ̆ͣͦͬͭ͐́̚͘͝ủ̷̧͉̳̖̖̞͙̯̳̺̠̖͉̱̙͚ͪͤͤͨ̓͂ͩͭ́͜ͅͅͅ ̸̸̜̟̬̟͕̺̳̯̻ͣ̓̑͟f̴̔͒̎͋̅̍ͤͪ͌͆̊͌̾͋̃̀̚҉̷̺̗͈̬͖ǫ̢̻͇̭͓͉̻̦͈̤͔̼̫͎͎̀ͩ̈́ͨ̒̓̈́̄́̒ͤ̏͟͝u̢̱̫͇̮͙̻̻̬̳̮̣̼̜̒̇͒̓͐͊̇ͧ̈͢ͅn̵̺̥̱̲̮̣̍̈̔̀ͨͬ̆͌ͬ̀͝d̡̛͖͙̹̯͇͓̣͍̪̺͉̤̻̰̥̭͉ͫ̿ͬͩ̄͛͂ͦ̔̈̆̔̑̆͆ͤ͌ ̇ͤͮͧͯͩ̐ͯ͗̿̍̍̊̆̏̚͏͢͏͉͉̯̻̞̖͙̻̮͙̱̩̬̼̫͈̫̦ͅŷ̊ͪ̊̀҉̗̥͇̦̠̳̳̼̕̕ơ͉͚̭̘͈̮̹̭͑ͨͧ́͌̉ͩ̆͌͑ͯ̿͊̆͑ͅu̵͚̭̥͚͙̫̿͗ͨ̔̒̉̾͗͘̕ ̶̵̧̖̦͈̦̥̳͖̖̪ͧ͛͑̄̋̈̏͆ͧ̓́͟f̨̾́͐̐̀̇̊̊ͫ̍̚͜͏͈̬͙̘̩̗̭͉͇̙͝ͅo̵̡͒̏̿̎̒ͨ̿̆ͭ̑ͦ̋̏ͧ̚͠҉̙͇͕͚̣̮̪̗u̢͕̺̞̳̖̦̖̦̬̤ͧ̐ͫ̔ͩ̀̕n̾̿ͫ̄̈́ͬ͗͑͋ͩ͐ͯ͏̢̥̼̘͍̮̝̟̦͍̙͕̬͈̗̖̹d̸̫̲̱̠͖̦͉̞̼̰̼͕̦ͩ͛̔ͥ͂ͩ́̕͜͞ ̸̡̟͍̟͍͉̠ͩ̈ͬ̽͋́y̵̡͍̼͖͍̼̬̜̘̝ͭ̀́́̄͞ͅǒ̵̝̠͈̺̫̖̗͔͉̬͈̩͈̠͙ͣ̈ͪ͊̅͂̓͛̿ͧ͘ư͉̳͇̍͌̾͆̅ͩͭ̀͜͞ ̡̯͕̻̘̠̘̘̖̮̲͚̣̳͂̓̓̋͂̇̄̈́ͪ͊͛̏͌ͨ̀́͢͢ͅͅf̢̛̗͙̝͇̭̹̪̯̘̞͕ͩ̌͐̈͝o̵͑ͨ͗̐̿ͩ̓̒̿ͨ̽̈́̽ͮ͌̔ͨͦͨ͘͢҉̯͍̭̪̬͖̦̯̠u̢̜͉̫̰̘̱̥̤̞̦̤͈̮̬̰͍͂ͯ̓̏̋́͊̅͒̄ͯͯ̓̐͆ͭ̀̚n̴̫͙̘̳̯̮̳̣̳̠̬̩̝̲̹͎͇͇͆͋ͧ̒́̀́̕͟ḑ̢̲̻̼̯̳̦̲̫̫̔̂̍͑ͩ̃̐͐̎̀͢ ̶̶̢͙͔̗ͧ̋̆̏̑͆ͩͥ̎̐͛̑̇̅̉ͥ̌̈͟͝y͋ ̶̙̙̦͕͔̩̦̞͛͌ͫ̊ͣ̐̇̑ͦͮ̈́͒͒́̀̚͘͡ó̲̟̠̳̞̯̜͙̭̜̣̺̦̳͒͆̓͊͝͡ũͩͯ̓͋ͯ̎͏̧̧̞͓̗͖ ̴̨̛̼͙̘͇̥̥̺̎̀̌̇ͪͦ̒̉̎ͮ͆̅ͭ̎͢f̩̯̪̩̖̬̰̜͂ͭ̊̒ͦͩ͗̋̈̒͋ͨ̒̚͟͞͡ͅọ̡̡̹͈͎̮͚͖́̎̓ͧ̓ͩ͛͋͐̀ͣ̕͝ͅư̡̛̟͔̤̠̙̟̦͈̫͍͆̀ͥͩ͟n̈́ͮ̏ͧͫ͗̎҉̝͈̱̹̫̫̝̹̖̼̣̀͘d̢̡̩̖̠͕̰̦̥̝̮̜͒̍͐̈́͛ ̶̢͚̞̬̟͓̝̹̜͚͇͉̣͓̻̥̉̃̂̔ͪ̓̓ͩ͆̐̈̄̉̓̉͗̓͢ͅẙ̠̯̺̬̖͉̳̜͙̬ͫ̃̋ͯ͌ͥ̏́̈́̌̓̅ͤ̊̉̐͂̚͢͢͡o̴̗͇̺̬̮̜ͦ͋ͪ̉̀͞͞͠u̶̞̞̠̣͍̬̪̫͛̉̈̔̏̋ͤ͘͞ͅ ̵͚̘̠̱̹̦̂ͮ̓̓͌͂̇ͧ̃͂ͦ̆ͮ̋̓̃̉͘͜͠͠ͅf̷̢̨̧̰̜̦͔͓̥̻̻͉ͥ̿̓ͯ̎̍̇̄ͩ͑ͫ͒̆ȍ̼̟̪̝̻͎̝̖͙̂̓̆̊ͥ͋ͭ͗͑ͬͥ͒̽ͦ͊͐ͤͮ̕͞ͅu̸̸̝̙͚̝͉̪͍̤͚͔̝̬̜̜̼ͦ̄̄ͯ̎̒̽̀͠͝ͅnͯ̓ͦͨ̃̈ͧ͌͛͆̉́͋ͥ͒ͫ̚͏̢̭̻̙͎̲̻̜̹͈͕d͔̩͚̰̊͐̓̊͛́̓͆͗ͯͭ̎̒̿̚͘͝͞ ̧̛͑̿̎̽̂ͫ̅̓ͯͬ̓҉̗̤̩̤̥̜͖̜̗͙̟̮͈͓͖̮̮yͣͨ̇̑̓̄̿͋ͫ̿̓͛͏̬̤̺͈͈̝̼̝̪̠͘o̵̘͙̖̪͈͚̖̬͓̯̻͕̲̝͖̜͂̿̋ͯ̀ͨ͒ͤͬ͋͌̔ͬ͊̂́̐ͮͯ͜͠͝u̿͆̐̎͐̐̈́̽ͥ͗ͨ͋̈̑͟͏҉̘̳͖͇̟̙̘̹̲͚̮̹̻͈̰͠ͅ ̨̻̠̯̗̱͔͖̗̭̼̼̼̺͓̂ͣ͗̄̉̒̈́̇̋ͯ̆̾ͥ̂̔͐̓ͧ̚ͅf̧̣̮̮̰̬͙̼͓̜̮͍̰̜̌̅͒ͮ̊͂ͬ̀̾͐͆̆ͨͦ͐́͟͢͠o̢͍̬͎͖̘̺̦̯͓̫͍ͪͦ̇̅̽ͦ́͜ṵ̡̺̞̭͖̋͂͛ͧͥͤͨ͐̋ͨ́͢n̨̞͚̳̤͙̮͖̲͓ͪ̍͑̊ͭͦ̍ͪ̊̓̄̍͗̃͂͌̐̒͞͠͞͠d̴̨̧͖͓̺̮̰͈̠̼̜̪͕̮̮̗̮̺̦͇̙ͮ̓̃̃̋̀ͩͭ̌̇͗͊ͩ̾̒͘ ̢̨͉͚͎̦̟̥͚͕̞̱͔͈̘͔̪̜ͤ͌̄ͅẙ̶̷͈͉̘̲̭̻̬̦̮͙͓̥̯ͤ͋ͣͪͣ̋͂͋ͨͣ̂̿́ͅͅo̴̵͇͕̮̭͔̱͎͉̥͍̪̣̞̬͚͚͙̬͋̇ͧ̃͆̽͂͌̉ͩ̆ͣͦͬͭ͐́̚͘͝ủ̷̧͉̳̖̖̞͙̯̳̺̠̖͉̱̙͚ͪͤͤͨ̓͂ͩͭ́͜ͅͅͅ ̸̸̜̟̬̟͕̺̳̯̻ͣ̓̑͟f̴̔͒̎͋̅̍ͤͪ͌͆̊͌̾͋̃̀̚҉̷̺̗͈̬͖ǫ̢̻͇̭͓͉̻̦͈̤͔̼̫͎͎̀ͩ̈́ͨ̒̓̈́̄́̒ͤ̏͟͝u̢̱̫͇̮͙̻̻̬̳̮̣̼̜̒̇͒̓͐͊̇ͧ̈͢ͅn̵̺̥̱̲̮̣̍̈̔̀ͨͬ̆͌ͬ̀͝d̡̛͖͙̹̯͇͓̣͍̪̺͉̤̻̰̥̭͉ͫ̿ͬͩ̄͛͂ͦ̔̈̆̔̑̆͆ͤ͌ ̇ͤͮͧͯͩ̐ͯ͗̿̍̍̊̆̏̚͏͢͏͉͉̯̻̞̖͙̻̮͙̱̩̬̼̫͈̫̦ͅŷ̊ͪ̊̀҉̗̥͇̦̠̳̳̼̕̕ơ͉͚̭̘͈̮̹̭͑ͨͧ́͌̉ͩ̆͌͑ͯ̿͊̆͑ͅu̵̵͚̭̥͚̝̠͈̺̫̖̗͔͉̬͈̩͈̠͙̿͗ͨ̔̒̉̾͗̓͛̿ͧ͘̕͘ư͉̳͇̍͌̾͆̅ͩͭ̀͜͞ ̡̯͕̻̘̠̘̘̖̮̲͚̣̳͂̓̓̋͂̇̄̈́ͪ͊͛̏͌ͨ̀́͢͢ͅͅf̢̛̗͙̝͇̭̹̪̯̘̞͕ͩ̌͐̈͝o̵͑ͨ͗̐̿ͩ̓̒̿ͨ̽̈́̽ͮ͌̔ͨͦͨ͘͢҉̯͍̭̪̬͖̦̯̠u̢̜͉̫̰̘̱̥̤̞̦̤͈̮̬̰͍͂ͯ̓̏̋́͊̅͒̄ͯͯ̓̐͆ͭ̀̚n̴̫͙̘̳̯̮̳̣̳̠̬̩̝̲̹͎͇͇͆͋ͧ̒́̀́̕͟ḑ̢̲̻̼̯̳̦̲̫̫̔̂̍͑ͩ̃̐͐̎̀͢ ̶̶̢͙͔̗ͧ̋̆̏̑͆ͩͥ̎̐͛̑̇̅̉ͥ̌̈͟͝y̶̙̙̦͕͔̩̦̞͋͛͌ͫ̊ͣ̐̇̑ͦͮ̈́͒͒́̀̚͘͡ó̲̟̠̳̞̯̜͙̭̜̣̺̦̳͒͆̓͊͝͡ũͩͯ̓͋ͯ̎͏̧̧̞͓̗͖ ̴̨̛̼͙̘͇̥̥̺̎̀̌̇ͪͦ̒̉̎ͮ͆̅ͭ̎͢f̩̯̪̩̖̬̰̜͂ͭ̊̒ͦͩ͗̋̈̒͋ͨ̒̚͟͞͡ͅọ̡̡̹͈͎̮͚͖́̎̓ͧ̓ͩ͛͋͐̀ͣ̕͝ͅư̡̛̟͔̤̠̙̟̦͈̫͍͆̀ͥͩ͟n̈́ͮ̏ͧͫ͗̎҉̝͈̱̹̫̫̝̹̖̼̣̀͘d̢̡̩̖̠͕̰̦̥̝̮̜͒̍͐̈́͛ ̶̢͚̞̬̟͓̝̹̜͚͇͉̣͓̻̥̉̃̂̔ͪ̓̓ͩ͆̐̈̄̉̓̉͗̓͢ͅẙ̠̯̺̬̖͉̳̜͙̬ͫ̃̋ͯ͌ͥ̏́̈́̌̓̅ͤ̊̉̐͂̚͢͢͡o̴̗͇̺̬̮̜ͦ͋ͪ̉̀͞͞͠u̶̞̞̠̣͍̬̪̫͛̉̈̔̏̋ͤ͘͞ͅ ̵͚̘̠̱̹̦͔̂ͮ̓̓͌͂̇ͧ̃͂ͦ̆ͮ̋̓̃̉͘͜͠͠ͅf̷̢̨̧̰̜̦͔͓̥̻̻͉ͥ̿̓ͯ̎̍̇̄ͩ͑ͫ͒̆ȍ̼̟̪̝̻͎̝̖͙̂̓̆̊ͥ͋ͭ͗͑ͬͥ͒̽ͦ͊͐ͤͮ̕͞ͅu̸̸̝̙͚̝͉̪͍̤͚͔̝̬̜̜̼ͦ̄̄ͯ̎̒̽̀͠͝ͅnͯ̓ͦͨ̃̈ͧ͌͛͆̉́͋ͥ͒ͫ̚͏̢̭̻̙͎̲̻̜̹͈͕d͔̩͚̰̊͐̓̊͛́̓͆͗ͯͭ̎̒̿̚͘͝͞ ̧̛͑̿̎̽̂ͫ̅̓ͯͬ̓҉̗̤̩̤̥̜͖̜̗͙̟̮͈͓͖̮̮yͣͨ̇̑̓̄̿͋ͫ̿̓͛͏̬̤̺͈͈̝̼̝̪̠͘o̵̘͙̖̪͈͚̖̬͓̯̻͕̲̝͖̜͂̿̋ͯ̀ͨ͒ͤͬ͋͌̔ͬ͊̂́̐ͮͯ͜͠͝u̿͆̐̎͐̐̈́̽ͥ͗ͨ͋̈̑͟͏҉̘̳͖͇̟̙̘̹̲͚̮̹̻͈̰͠ͅ ̨̻̠̯̗̱͔͖̗̭̼̼̼̺͓̂ͣ͗̄̉̒̈́̇̋ͯ̆̾ͥ̂̔͐̓ͧ̚ͅf̧̣̮̮̰̬͙̼͓̜̮͍̰̜̌̅͒ͮ̊͂ͬ̀̾͐͆̆ͨͦ͐́͟͢͠o̢͍̬͎͖̘̺̦̯͓̫͍ͪͦ̇̅̽ͦ́͜ṵ̡̺̞̭͖̋͂͛ͧͥͤͨ͐̋ͨ́͢n̨̞͚̳̤͙̮͖̲͓ͪ̍͑̊ͭͦ̍ͪ̊̓̄̍͗̃͂͌̐̒͞͠͞͠d̴̨̧͖͓̺̮̰͈̠̼̜̪͕̮̮̗̮̺̦͇̙ͮ̓̃̃̋̀ͩͭ̌̇͗͊ͩ̾̒͘ ̢̨͉͚͎̦̟̥͚͕̞̱͔͈̘͔̪̜ͤ͌̄ͅẙ̶̷͈͉̘̲̭̻̬̦̮͙͓̥̯ͤ͋ͣͪͣ̋͂͋ͨͣ̂̿́ͅͅo̴̵͇͕̮̭͔̱͎͉̥͍̪̣̞̬͚͚͙̬͋̇ͧ̃͆̽͂͌̉ͩ̆ͣͦͬͭ͐́̚͘͝ủ̷̧͉̳̖̖̞͙̯̳̺̠̖͉̱̙͚ͪͤͤͨ̓͂ͩͭ́͜ͅͅͅ ̸̸̜̟̬̟͕̺̳̯̻ͣ̓̑͟f̴̔͒̎͋̅̍ͤͪ͌͆̊͌̾͋̃̀̚҉̷̺̗͈̬͖ǫ̢̻͇̭͓͉̻̦͈̤͔̼̫͎͎̀ͩ̈́ͨ̒̓̈́̄́̒ͤ̏͟͝u̢̱̫͇̮͙̻̻̬̳̮̣̼̜̒̇͒̓͐͊̇ͧ̈͢ͅn̵̺̥̱̲̮̣̍̈̔̀ͨͬ̆͌ͬ̀͝d̡̛͖͙̹̯͇͓̣͍̪̺͉̤̻̰̥̭͉ͫ̿ͬͩ̄͛͂ͦ̔̈̆̔̑̆͆ͤ͌ ̇ͤͮͧͯͩ̐ͯ͗̿̍̍̊̆̏̚͏͢͏͉͉̯̻̞̖͙̻̮͙̱̩̬̼̫͈̫̦ͅŷ̊ͪ̊̀҉̗̥͇̦̠̳̳̼̕̕ơ͉͚̭̘͈̮̹̭͑ͨͧ́͌̉ͩ̆͌͑ͯ̿͊̆͑ͅu̵͚̭̥͚͙̫̿͗ͨ̔̒̉̾͗͘̕ ̶̵̧̖̦͈̦̥̳͖̖̪ͧ͛͑̄̋̈̏͆ͧ̓́͟f̨̾́͐̐̀̇̊̊ͫ̍̚͜͏͈̬͙̘̩̗̭͉͇̙͝ͅo̵̡͒̏̿̎̒ͨ̿̆ͭ̑ͦ̋̏ͧ̚͠҉̙͇͕͚̣̮̪̗u̢͕̺̞̳̖̦̖̦̬̤ͧ̐ͫ̔ͩ̀̕n̾̿ͫ̄̈́ͬ͗͑͋ͩ͐ͯ͏̢̥̼̘͍̮̝̟̦͍̙͕̬͈̗̖̹d̸̫̲̱̠͖̦͉̞̼̰̼͕̦ͩ͛̔ͥ͂ͩ́̕͜͞ ̸̡̟͍̟͍͉̠ͩ̈ͬ̽͋́y̵̡͍̼͖͍̼̬̜̘̝ͭ̀́́̄͞ͅǒ̵̝̠͈̺̫̖̗͔͉̬͈̩͈̠͙ͣ̈ͪ͊̅͂̓͛̿ͧ͘ư͉̳͇̍͌̾͆̅ͩͭ̀͜͞ ̡̯͕̻̘̠̘̘̖̮̲͚̣̳͂̓̓̋͂̇̄̈́ͪ͊͛̏͌ͨ̀́͢͢ͅͅf̢̛̗͙̝͇̭̹̪̯̘̞͕ͩ̌͐̈͝o̵͑ͨ͗̐̿ͩ̓̒̿ͨ̽̈́̽ͮ͌̔ͨͦͨ͘͢҉̯͍̭̪̬͖̦̯̠u̢̜͉̫̰̘̱̥̤̞̦̤͈̮̬̰͍͂ͯ̓̏̋́͊̅͒̄ͯͯ̓̐͆ͭ̀̚n̴̫͙̘̳̯̮̳̣̳̠̬̩̝̲̹͎͇͇͆͋ͧ̒́̀́̕͟ḑ̢̲̻̼̯̳̦̲̫̫̔̂̍͑ͩ̃̐͐̎̀͢ ̶̶̢͙͔̗ͧ̋̆̏̑͆ͩͥ̎̐͛̑̇̅̉ͥ̌̈͟͝y̶̙̙̦͕͔̩̦̞͋͛͌ͫ̊ͣ̐̇̑ͦͮ̈́͒͒́̀̚͘͡ó̲̟̠̳̞̯̜͙̭̜̣̺̦̳͒͆̓͊͝͡ũͩͯ̓͋ͯ̎͏̧̧̞͓̗͖ ̴̨̛̼͙̘͇̥̥̺̎̀̌̇ͪͦ̒̉̎ͮ͆̅ͭ̎͢f̩̯̪̩̖̬̰̜͂ͭ̊̒ͦͩ͗̋̈̒͋ͨ̒̚͟͞͡ͅọ̡̡̹͈͎̮͚͖́̎̓ͧ̓ͩ͛͋͐̀ͣ̕͝ͅư̡̛̟͔̤̠̙̟̦͈̫͍͆̀ͥͩ͟n̈́ͮ̏ͧͫ͗̎҉̝͈̱̹̫̫̝̹̖̼̣̀͘d̢̡̩̖̠͕̰̦̥̝̮̜͒̍͐̈́͛ ̶̢͚̞̬̟͓̝̹̜͚͇͉̣͓̻̥̉̃̂̔ͪ̓̓ͩ͆̐̈̄̉̓̉͗̓͢ͅẙ̠̯̺̬̖͉̳̜͙̬ͫ̃̋ͯ͌ͥ̏́̈́̌̓̅ͤ̊̉̐͂̚͢͢͡o̴̗͇̺̬̮̜ͦ͋ͪ̉̀͞͞͠u̶̞̞̠̣͍̬̪̫͛̉̈̔̏̋ͤ͘͞ͅ ̵͚̘̠̱̹̦͔̂ͮ̓̓͌͂̇ͧ̃͂ͦ̆ͮ̋̓̃̉͘͜͠͠ͅf̷̢̨̧̰̜̦͔͓̥̻̻͉ͥ̿̓ͯ̎̍̇̄ͩ͑ͫ͒̆ȍ̼̟̪̝̻͎̝̖͙̂̓̆̊ͥ͋ͭ͗͑ͬͥ͒̽ͦ͊͐ͤͮ̕͞ͅu̸̸̝̙͚̝͉̪͍̤͚͔̝̬̜̜̼ͦ̄̄ͯ̎̒̽̀͠͝ͅnͯ̓ͦͨ̃̈ͧ͌͛͆̉́͋ͥ͒ͫ̚͏̢̭̻̙͎̲̻̜̹͈͕d͔̩͚̰̊͐̓̊͛́̓͆͗ͯͭ̎̒̿̚͘͝͞ ̧̛͑̿̎̽̂ͫ̅̓ͯͬ̓҉̗̤̩̤̥̜͖̜̗͙̟̮͈͓͖̮̮yͣͨ̇̑̓̄̿͋ͫ̿̓͛͏̬̤̺͈͈̝̼̝̪̠͘o̵̘͙̖̪͈͚̖̬͓̯̻͕̲̝͖̜͂̿̋ͯ̀ͨ͒ͤͬ͋͌̔ͬ͊̂́̐ͮͯ͜͠͝u̿͆̐̎͐̐̈́̽ͥ͗ͨ͋̈̑͟͏҉̘̳͖͇̟̙̘̹̲͚̮̹̻͈̰͠ͅ ̨̻̠̯̗̱͔͖̗̭̼̼̼̺͓̂ͣ͗̄̉̒̈́̇̋ͯ̆̾ͥ̂̔͐̓ͧ̚ͅf̧̣̮̮̰̬͙̼͓̜̮͍̰̜̌̅͒ͮ̊͂ͬ̀̾͐͆̆ͨͦ͐́͟͢͠o̢͍̬͎͖̘̺̦̯͓̫͍ͪͦ̇̅̽ͦ́͜ṵ̡̺̞̭͖̋͂͛ͧͥͤͨ͐̋ͨ́͢n̨̞͚̳̤͙̮͖̲͓ͪ̍͑̊ͭͦ̍ͪ̊̓̄̍͗̃͂͌̐̒͞͠͞͠d̴̨̧͖͓̺̮̰͈̠̼̜̪͕̮̮̗̮̺̦͇̙ͮ̓̃̃̋̀ͩͭ̌̇͗͊ͩ̾̒͘ ̢̨͉͚͎̦̟̥͚͕̞̱͔͈̘͔̪̜ͤ͌̄ͅẙ̶̷͈͉̘̲̭̻̬̦̮͙͓̥̯ͤ͋ͣͪͣ̋͂͋ͨͣ̂̿́ͅͅo̴̵͇͕̮̭͔̱͎͉̥͍̪̣̞̬͚͚͙̬͋̇ͧ̃͆̽͂͌̉ͩ̆ͣͦͬͭ͐́̚͘͝ủ̷̧͉̳̖̖̞͙̯̳̺̠̖͉̱̙͚ͪͤͤͨ̓͂ͩͭ́͜ͅͅͅ ̸̸̜̟̬̟͕̺̳̯̻ͣ̓̑͟f̴̔͒̎͋̅̍ͤͪ͌͆̊͌̾͋̃̀̚҉̷̺̗͈̬͖ǫ̢̻͇̭͓͉̻̦͈̤͔̼̫͎͎̀ͩ̈́ͨ̒̓̈́̄́̒ͤ̏͟͝u̢̱̫͇̮͙̻̻̬̳̮̣̼̜̒̇͒̓͐͊̇ͧ̈͢ͅn̵̺̥̱̲̮̣̍̈̔̀ͨͬ̆͌ͬ̀͝d̡̛͖͙̹̯͇͓̣͍̪̺͉̤̻̰̥̭͉ͫ̿ͬͩ̄͛͂ͦ̔̈̆̔̑̆͆ͤ͌ ̇ͤͮͧͯͩ̐ͯ͗̿̍̍̊̆̏̚͏͢͏͉͉̯̻̞̖͙̻̮͙̱̩̬̼̫͈̫̦ͅŷ̊ͪ̊̀҉̗̥͇̦̠̳̳̼̕̕ơ͉͚̭̘͈̮̹̭͑ͨͧ́͌̉ͩ̆͌͑ͯ̿͊̆͑ͅu̵͚̭̥͚͙̫̿͗ͨ̔̒̉̾͗͘̕ ̶̵̧̖̦͈̦̥̳͖̖̪ͧ͛͑̄̋̈̏͆ͧ̓́͟f̨̾́͐̐̀̇̊̊ͫ̍̚͜͏͈̬͙̘̩̗̭͉͇̙͝ͅo̵̡͒̏̿̎̒ͨ̿̆ͭ̑ͦ̋̏ͧ̚͠҉̙͇͕͚̣̮̪̗u̢͕̺̞̳̖̦̖̦̬̤ͧ̐ͫ̔ͩ̀̕n̾̿ͫ̄̈́ͬ͗͑͋ͩ͐ͯ͏̢̥̼̘͍̮̝̟̦͍̙͕̬͈̗̖̹d̸̫̲̱̠͖̦͉̞̼̰̼͕̦ͩ͛̔ͥ͂ͩ́̕͜͞ ̸̡̟͍̟͍͉̠ͩ̈ͬ̽͋́y̵̡͍̼͖͍̼̬̜̘̝ͭ̀́́̄͞ͅǒ̵̝̠͈̺̫̖̗͔͉̬͈̩͈̠͙ͣ̈ͪ͊̅͂̓͛̿ͧ͘ư͉̳͇̍͌̾͆̅ͩͭ̀͜͞ ̡̯͕̻̘̠̘̘̖̮̲͚̣̳͂̓̓̋͂̇̄̈́ͪ͊͛̏͌ͨ̀́͢͢ͅͅf̢̛̗͙̝͇̭̹̪̯̘̞͕ͩ̌͐̈͝o̵͑ͨ͗̐̿ͩ̓̒̿ͨ̽̈́̽ͮ͌̔ͨͦͨ͘͢҉̯͍̭̪̬͖̦̯̠u̢̜͉̫̰̘̱̥̤̞̦̤͈̮̬̰͍͂ͯ̓̏̋́͊̅͒̄ͯͯ̓̐͆ͭ̀̚n̴̫͙̘̳̯̮̳̣̳̠̬̩̝̲̹͎͇͇͆͋ͧ̒́̀́̕͟ḑ̢̲̻̼̯̳̦̲̫̫̔̂̍͑ͩ̃̐͐̎̀͢ ̶̶̢͙͔̗ͧ̋̆̏̑͆ͩͥ̎̐͛̑̇̅̉ͥ̌̈͟͝y̶̙̙̦͕͔̩̦̞͋͛͌ͫ̊ͣ̐̇̑ͦͮ̈́͒͒́̀̚͘͡ó̲̟̠̳̞̯̜͙̭̜̣̺̦̳͒͆̓͊͝͡ũͩͯ̓͋ͯ̎͏̧̧̞͓̗͖ ̴̨̛̼͙̘͇̥̥̺̎̀̌̇ͪͦ̒̉̎ͮ͆̅ͭ̎͢f̩̯̪̩̖̬̰̜͂ͭ̊̒ͦͩ͗̋̈̒͋ͨ̒̚͟͞͡ͅọ̡̡̹͈͎̮͚͖́̎̓ͧ̓ͩ͛͋͐̀ͣ̕͝ͅư̡̛̟͔̤̠̙̟̦͈̫͍͆̀ͥͩ͟n̈́ͮ̏ͧͫ͗̎҉̝͈̱̹̫̫̝̹̖̼̣̀͘d̢̡̩̖̠͕̰̦̥̝̮̜͒̍͐̈́͛ ̶̢͚̞̬̟͓̝̹̜͚͇͉̣͓̻̥̉̃̂̔ͪ̓̓ͩ͆̐̈̄̉̓̉͗̓͢ͅẙ̠̯̺̬̖͉̳̜͙̬ͫ̃̋ͯ͌ͥ̏́̈́̌̓̅ͤ̊̉̐͂̚͢͢͡o̴̗͇̺̬̮̜ͦ͋ͪ̉̀͞͞͠u̶̞̞̠̣͍̬̪̫͛̉̈̔̏̋ͤ͘͞ͅ ̵͚̘̠̱̹̦͔̂ͮ̓̓͌͂̇ͧ̃͂ͦ̆ͮ̋̓̃̉͘͜͠͠ͅ

Found you.

-March 19th, 1981

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Chapter 12

10. Matt

Chapter 9

March 19th

Matt

Matt woke up from his good dream about monsters when he heard the door open. He heard footsteps downstairs, and shuffling noises. He figured hazily that it must be Chelsea. Didn’t mom say that Chelsea was sick? Didn’t she go to bed early? She must have been faking it, like Luke had been. She was out all night having adventures. He blinked sleepily and got back to remembering his dream.

There had been blood and body parts in the room, and it had smelled like rotten meat. He had seen the viscera splattered across the floor, and the sinew stretching like thread from wall to wall in patterns, vibrating in sympathy with his breath. It was still there when he closed his eyes, creeping at him in vines. But the man in the room –

The man in the room was wonderful. He was like a bright, bright light, and a playground. And Matt wasn’t afraid anymore. There was nothing to be afraid of in the whole world, if someone like that told him it was okay. Even the old house on Mulhead didn’t look so scary in the daytime.

No, that wasn’t quite right.

The old house on Mulhead was scary, but he could beat it. It didn’t count as courage if it wasn’t a little bit scary.

The rest of the dream had been very lonely, everywhere except for the room. In the room there was the man and two of his other friends. Jake was there, and another boy, with a shaved head. The hallway was very empty, though. He recognized them. It was a house he had seen before. It was his aunt Sam’s house, he realized. The house with the living room with two doors, and the attic. In his dream, no one was around. There were noises and creaks and smells, but aunt Sam must have been gone. There had been a vague sense of something high above him, straining against a sort of filmy membrane, trying to reach him with long fingers. He had been too scared to look up.

But he knew that if he had that dream again, he wasn’t going to let some monsters stop him. He would fight them all on his own.

And he resolved that he’d prove it. He’d have the dream again and beat that hallway and whatever lived in it. And maybe, he thought in a small voice, he would see that man again, and this time he would go inside his room.

Should he tell Charles? Or was the dream just for him?

Maybe just for tonight he’d save it for himself. If he had another adventure with his new friend he would tell Charles, and they could all play together.

But for now –

He couldn’t wait. He repeated what he was told as he closed his eyes again.

He lived in Pennsylvania in a small house – he was six. And life was very sweet.

Who would wish to die?

But there was nothing behind his eyelids. He rolled over again, shutting his eyes tighter and tighter. He looked at the clock, restless.

4:30 in the morning, and he was wide awake, squeezing his toes in excitement. His head spun. He tried thinking about something else, to distract sleep so he could take it by surprise. Frustrated, he sat up.

And heard music.

His heart skipped. A slow melody creeping around and wavering up and down. He hopped out of bed and crept to his door, following the noise. As quietly as he could, he opened the door and stared out into the dark, dark hallway in front of him. The music tugged at him, leading him through fear and out again. He stepped into the hall and turned to go down the stairs, ignoring the early-morning shadows that might be sneaking up behind him. He didn’t even turn around. The music was coming from below. Through the living room and the kitchen and past Chelsea’s room, down the hall and into the basement.

Out of sight, the clock on his bedside table ticked to 4:31.

He reached for the knob. At his touch, the music stopped, and the house was his house again. Immediately the dark pushed into him, without the music to protect him. Matt began to shiver. He turned towards Chelsea’s room. She could help him. She could keep him safe from the dark. But she was sick, and mom had said not to bother her.

He went to open her door and found it locked.

He rattled the doorknob and called softly to her.

“Chelsea? Chelsea, I’m scared. Are you awake?”

He got no response.

Matt began to cry. Where had the music gone? Why wouldn’t his new friend come to play with him? What would he do?

Be brave. Be like he would be.

Life is beautiful. Life is very sweet.

Matt began to hum. And he opened the door, and walked down the stairs into the basement. Halfway down he saw what he had hoped to see. Standing in the dark. In the middle of the room was a tall figure, head cocked with his ear pointing at the ceiling. All at once the figure twitched and turned toward him.

Matt walked down to meet him.

“Hello?”

“Hello,” the shape said.

Matt smiled. It was the same voice. He ran forward and embraced his friend around the knees. He knelt down and reached for Matt’s hand. Grasped it warmly.

“Hello again.”

“Am I dreaming?”

“Yes,” he said.

“I don’t remember falling asleep,” Matt said.

“That’s alright,” said the man. “What do you remember?”

Words flooded Matt’s head.

“I’m six. I live in Pennsylvania in a small house.”

The man smiled tearfully and hugged Matt tight. “What is there to be frightened of?” he asked.

“Nothing,” Matt said. “Life is beautiful.”

“That’s right.”

The music began again, swaying. The man pulled away and held Matt by the shoulders. He looked into his eyes.

“Do you want to play with me?”

“Okay,” Matt said.

“Follow me.”

The man stood up very slowly and took Matt’s hand. Around them, the room started changing. The floor bubbled up, spiking in front and behind him. It shrieked like a boiling, hissing liquid. Matt was not afraid. Purples and greens and oranges erupted from the metal-grey of the basement, mixing together all around them and bursting into new colors. The colors took shape, and suddenly the maelstrom settled into a room. Matt looked around. He had been here before. It was the same room – strings and threads and meat.

“This is where I live,” the man said.

“It looks like …”

Matt could not find a word for it. Or maybe there was a word, but it was a hard one. The man smiled at him.

“Try,” he said.

“It looks like it’s very lonesome,” Matt said after a moment. That hadn’t been exactly what he meant, but it was very close. Something like it.

“Lonesome,” the man said. “But you’re here with me, and you’re very special. How could it be lonesome here?”

Matt nodded. That was true.

“And some of my other friends are here, too, sometimes. The last time you were here you saw them, remember?”

“Yes,” Matt said.

“They were Jake and Zig. When they come back later on we can all play together. May I show you something?” the man asked.

Matt smiled and nodded.

The man ran his finger across one of the hanging strings, and gently let go. A tone filled the air, and on cue the room became to change again. A fissure appeared with a crack, snaking its way through the room and gouging away at the floorboards and carpet. As they flew into the air they coalesced and wrapped themselves around each other, bending and weaving and vanishing into the currents of the room. The walls melted, froze, and shattered. The pieces congregated and changed color and texture and became the floor. The room reassembled itself into a new shape, longer and narrower, like a hallway.

Through it all, Matt could hear only the hum of the string as it vibrated and shook. And he was not afraid.

“Matt,” the tall man said.

“Yeah?”

“If your friend asked for help, you would help them, right?”

“Yeah! You have to help your friends.”

Everyone said so.

“I think you’re right, Matt. Do you think your friends are more important than other people?”

Matt thought for a long time. “My mom says not to treat anybody different than anybody else.”

He considered and nodded. “That’s true. But do you always believe her? She’s your friend too, right? Would you help her if she needed help?”

“Yes.”

“Even if somebody else would be sad? What if someone was hurting her? You’d protect her, right?”

“Yeah,” Matt said.

` “What if you had to hurt them to save her?”

Matt grinned. “I’d beat them up all by myself!”

He nodded. “You have to protect your friends, Matt. No matter what you have to do in order to do it, you have to protect them from anything that can hurt them. Always remember that, okay?”

Matt nodded and smiled.

“Will you help me, Matt?”

“Yes.”

He knelt down and touched Matt lightly on the shoulders.

“You’re very special,” he said again. “You’re the only one who can.”

When the noise ended, the man took Matt’s hand and led him down the new hallway, around a corner and to a door.

“Can you open this for me?” his new friend asked.

Matt touched the door and felt heat coming from the other side. He pushed it open.

His friend smiled as big as he could. He held Matt’s hand, and together they walked out of the little prison and into the world.

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Chapter 11

9. Mister Stagger Lee

Chapter 8

Mister Stagger Lee

In some place in the neighborhood he stood surrounded by strings and threads drawn tight across the room. Some of them were tendons and some of them were steel or nylon, but they all resonated the same. In the hum of neighborhood, in the music in the room, was contentment. He stood in the neighborhood room with strings and a view outside, where he could watch if somebody stumbled and help them back up again. He would keep an eye on the men on the ridge and pick them up when they fell, take them to the room and play music for them. That was all he could do. The room was a prison, but a wonderful one.

He could fit his fingers through the bars, and his fingers were long enough to reach. He had touched all of them, in his way, and some of them could lead him out of the room. Sometimes.

Old stories said that gods cut strings, but he just played them for his friends in the dark. He made people happy when he played the strings. In the room was contentment, and outside the room – contentment too. He lived in music, but the room was his. Etched on the floorboards were the words of George Borrow, and they made him cry with their beauty.

Who would wish to die?

After forty years in the string room – in the prison – he had made enough friends so that he would never be lonely again.

Surrounded in truth he stood in the neighborhood room and plucked and picked at strings and listened to the love and bliss they made. With them went the speech of his friends – and the cadences flowed together. He would just listen, and let the strings waver and respond with their melodies, and their hearts would fill. He could reach inside and heal them of their worries, make them happy and quiet and in love, and so he did. At every interval came the same words.

“Life is very sweet, brother. Who would wish to die?”

And the strings would hum in agreement, and the music would begin, and his friends and guests would lose themselves in their ecstasy.

He looked over to the door, where a little boy sat huddled and shaking. He knelt down next to him and smiled.

“What’s your name?”

“Matt.”

“Would you like to come in?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“I just don’t.”

“Okay. That’s okay, Matt. Nobody will bother you here. Do you mind if I sit with you for awhile?”

“Okay.”

They sat in silence for a long while.

“Matt, do you see things in your head?”

“Yes.”

“Frightening things?”

“Yes.”

“Are you frightened?”

“Yes.”

“Okay. That’s okay. How old are you?”

“Six.”

“And what year is it?”

“2013.”

“And where do you live?”

“Pennsylvania.”

“And what is your house like?”

“It’s small.”

“Okay. Remember all that, okay? Keep it in your head and remember it, and you won’t be frightened. What is there to be frightened of? Life is very sweet. Okay?”

“Okay.”

He smiled wide.

“Next time you fall asleep, will you come back and play with me?”

“Okay.”

And he smiled wider. When Matt left and woke up, he played the strings and hummed, love in every inch of him.

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Chapter 10

8. Gret

Chapter 7

Gret

Gret was doing paperwork, which had been more or less her entire job for more than a year now. Two years in Afghanistan, a brief stint in Haiti, Florida on-base to do criminal investigations, back to Pennsylvania to ride a desk and train people in the art of eventual-desk-riding. Not even the exciting kind of criminal investigations – less Jack Bauer and more like Demi Moore in A Few Good Men. She didn’t really mind. She had a good eye and she knew how the system worked, and her bookkeeping was outstanding. She was regarded in this last capacity by her department as a kind of Baba Yaga, whose powers and abilities were to be respected and kept at bay with sacrifices. She possessed the frankly insurmountable advantage over her peers of knowing what a computer was and how it worked. In the year 2013. A reasonable amount of her coworkers had been using typewriters up to and after September 11th, and they were the first to say how much they missed those days.

The things that Gret knew about in general were basically witchcraft to about eighty percent of the people she worked with. She used the Women’s Bathroom as well, and was sometimes under suspicion for doing so. She knew everybody in every department, and did seemingly from the day she started. She was exactly the sort of cop to be feared in real life and ignored in an action movie. She had a boring, boring job.

She had been in a one real fight in her life and she didn’t like to remember it, but she had done an awful lot of jiujitsu, kept up with MACP feverishly, and she knew from her aforementioned one real fight that she could break an arm.

The most action she had been a part of in her entire military career was when a little boy in Izzy’s class tried to take her gun on Career Day.

Right now she was reviewing an incident report from an on-post house in Fort Indiantown Gap, about eighty miles away. Which was just riveting.

She checked her phone and read the text from her daughter asking if she could stay out late.

On her desk were three pictures of her family at various ages, one sketch done by Izzy’s grandfather Jim for her birthday when she was seven, and a painting done by a man named Pieter Bruegel in 1562. And mounting stacks of paper and jotted notes. And a computer, the source of her great power.

She sent a text back.

Mar 18, 2013 7:05 pm:

Did you check in with grandpa? I’m at work.

She looked at the three family photos. One was of Izzy’s kindergarten graduation. Chelsea Leigh was front and center, and about two dozen other grinning kids crowded into the frame to let everyone know that they would be first graders soon. Izzy had missing teeth and a smile that showed them off. Her neck was craned up to make sure the camera saw her. She wore purple.

The second picture was taken at a sporting goods store with a rock-climbing wall where Chelsea had spent a birthday a few years ago. The picture had Izzy waving from the top of the wall while dangling from her safety harness. She was one of only two or three kids to ring the bell at the top of the wall.

The last one was of Gret, her father, and her daughter wearing work clothes and sitting in front of a large tree. They were surrounded by toolboxes and planks of wood for a tree house they would build. Izzy had told her recently that this was her favorite part of coming back to Pennsylvania from Florida – to get to go to the tree house again. She had grown up in that tree.

That was why the youngest of the Parsons had come back to Pennsylvania, Gret reasoned. To get to the tree house. The job had molded to Gret’s requirements when her dad had gotten sick and needed taking care of, but really what Izzy was back for was the tree and the Leigh kids. She had known them forever now.

When Gret was maybe twenty or so – around then for sure because Izzy would have been on the way shortly after – she had asked her dad where her name had come from. Her father looked at her over his glasses with his sharp eyes, and led her over to their bookcase.

“There’s a story here for you,” he said. He pointed at a beige book that looked brand new. “Got it for Christmas from your uncle,” he said.

The book was called Pieter Bruegel the Elder: Drawings and Prints, by Nadine Orenstein. Its cover depicted a massive, dead fish with its mouth gaping open. Its wild eye stared. Dozens of other fish flopped and tumbled from its mouth and from a slit in its belly. Inside those mouths of those fish were others, smaller and sleeker. Men with knives and hooks cut at the giant and harvested its nested innards. Fish in the skies. Fish in the trees.

Her father opened the book to another picture.

“This is called Dull Gret,” he said.

It was an oil painting of a horrific landscape. A horde of figures charging across a dismal bridge against a rust sky, climbing over makeshift hovels and stepping across the backs of strange creatures. They held weapons and sacks. They pillaged and stole and ran toward a hill with a gaping mouth. They were all women, wearing men’s armor and clothing.

She stared at it and grinned.

“Is that me?” she had asked, pointing to the woman leading the charge.

“Yeah,” her father said. “That’s dull Gret.” He looked at her quizzical expression. “Bruegel meant it as an insult, I think. It’s a bad name – it’s a greedy woman with a bad temper. Look, see?”

He pointed at the treasure chest under her arm and the coins and baubles spilling out of the sacks of the other women – they had all they could carry, and still they stole more.

“Just like you, huh?” he said. She hit him lightly on the arm and scowled. He laughed. And then he had grabbed her hand and looked at her very seriously. “Bruegel didn’t know what he was talking about,” he said. He held her eyes carefully. “That woman is running into hell with a knife at her side, and he’s laughing at her for not being afraid when he thinks he should be. She’s making Bruegel look like a fool. That’s why your name is Gret.”

That’s what he had said. That was her dad.

Now she spoon-fed him his breakfast, and he couldn’t meet her eyes anymore.

He used to paint. He used to be a painter.

He had good days and bad days and both. He was in a good mood, but his hands were tired. So feed him. Make breakfast; feed dad; help dad shower; drive dad to hospital; pharmacy; laundry; gym; work; meeting; work; staff training; gym; grocery store; pick up dad; figure out tomorrow; make dinner; feed dad if he needs it; walk with Izzy; performance reviews; shower; bed.

Repeat, and watch as dad gets worse. He can usually go to the bathroom by himself; nobody has any idea how long that will last. Someday – probably soon – he won’t. They’ll put him in hospice in maybe two or three months, and then he’ll lose his lungs, and then he’ll be dead.

Call family; call funeral home; figure out expenses; gather materials for death certificate; execute will; discuss with funeral director. Open or closed casket? Embalmed? What kind of burial? Metal or wood casket? What service? When? Who will speak? When are calling hours? What newspaper will publish his obituary? Who will drive down to Washington to get his brother Mark? Write a eulogy; decide on flowers; go through photo albums. Who are the pall bearers? What music will they play at the funeral home? Can we get some of his art to decorate?

And then you have time to mourn.

She was ashamed to say that she had no idea how quickly he had progressed. How long had he been sick? Did he not tell her? Did she miss the signs? Was he sick when she had given birth? When she had moved out? When she had graduated from college? How many times had he said that he was just tired? When did his feet stop working? She couldn’t ask him and she wasn’t sure why.

She just spoon-fed him and pretended it was normal.

He wouldn’t be able to fumblingly pick at a bass anymore. He wouldn’t be able to make things. When she thought about things like that it wore her out. She would get to imagining and not be able to stop. She kept stream of consciousness journals in high school to try to get it under control, but all it did was train her to write very, very fast. Dad used to say that she thought about more things in ten seconds than he did in a day, and more deeply about them than he did in a week.

He didn’t really say it like that. Her father had never said anything as pithy in his life. He was what her grandmother used to called a roundabout. She smiled a little – one thing he hadn’t lost was his ability to meander through a conversation. Very rarely he would connect back to his original point. Every conversation was about everything in the world, eventually. But it was usually secretly about some movie or song or artist or something. He would ask Gret if she had seen that movie or heard that song, and Gret would shake her head no and he would always look a little dejected before telling her that she should. If only for him to have someone to talk to about it with. Movies were good for her dad. They could sit him down and he’d be set for two and a half hours, flip it over to the director’s commentary and keep him going. He didn’t need help watching, and that was something. When he was watching movies he looked like her dad. That wasn’t fair to say and she should feel bad for saying it. Don’t say that, come on. He can’t help it. Seriously, now.

He watched movies like he had never heard of one. Every movie, even if he had already seen it six times. In absolute wonder. Like the people in the theater who watched The Great Train Robbery and screamed and fainted when the bandit pointed his gun at the screen. He watched movies as though it were 1903. As though they were new.

God, she even sounded like him.

His ALS might be familial. They’ll need to monitor Izzy and herself for risk, and it didn’t seem like anybody was a hundred percent sure on how to do that. She kept pamphlets from doctors and the things she had found online in a drawer in her dresser where she didn’t look at them.

She corrected herself. She’ll need to monitor Izzy for risk. There was nobody else to do it.

She thought about these things and others, and she stared at a point somewhere behind and above her dad’s head in the family photograph. She didn’t say much to her dad anymore. And she didn’t look at his face much, except to wipe spit occasionally.

Gret stretched, cracked her back and shoulders, and got back to work.

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Chapter 9

7. Chelsea

Chapter 6

Chelsea

“Hey, I gotta be home at eight.”

“Yeah, I know it. I’ll get you home.”

They drove on, Jake at the wheel and Chelsea next to him, strapped in.

“My mom said, Jake.”

“I know it. It’s not much farther now. We just take that right and stop over at that white house and then I’ll take you home. Don’t want your mom yelling at you, you know.”

“Yeah. Is it really a ’61, though? If it’s not a ’61 you gotta take me home.”

“Well, maybe I need your help to tell me. It’s definitely a 300-G, though.”

“Red?”

“Mmm-hmm.”

They pulled into the house and got out. Jake opened a side door to the garage and led her in. There was no car, and garbage bags lined the floor. There was another boy in the garage, a little older than Jake, wearing a leather jacket. His head was shaved. He looked bored. She turned to look at Jake.

“Wha –”

He hit her, pushed her down to the ground. He locked the door. She scrambled up and he hit her back down again and pulled the knife.

“Jake? Jake, please don’t. I gotta –”

“Have to.”

“What did I do? What did I do, I don’t –”

He cut at her, peeled away the skin of her thumb. She screamed.

“Now listen.”

She clawed at him, sobbing.

“No, now shut – Chelsea, shut the fuck up. Shut the fuck up!”

“Please stop. Please, Jake, please stop –”

He kissed her on the lips, forced his tongue into her mouth, grabbed her wrist, held her down. Behind him, her cell phone buzzed.

“I saw you today. I saw all three of you talking about me, Chelsea. I saw you and those two laughing, okay? I saw it. You’re gonna stop, alright? I’m gonna make you stop, now. You can’t go talking about me that way.”

He hit her again.

“Jake, I don’t – listen to me, I don’t know. I don’t know. Please don’t.”

“I saw you. I fucking saw you do it! You’re not gonna laugh at me again, okay?”

“Yes! I promise! Jake, please, I won’t! I didn’t, Jake! I didn’t laugh at you.”

Jake sat down across from her and held her tight against him.

“You love me, right? Chelsea? You love me, right?”

“Yes! Jake, yes! Please.”

“Alright. Alright. Listen, I gotta do this. I know you’re sorry, but I have to.”

“Jake, no. Please don’t. I love you. I love you, please.”

He took her hand, cupped it in his.

“I know it. I love you too. It’ll be alright. I love you too. Just close your eyes. I’ve got you. I’ll get you home after I’m done.”

“Jake –”

“I’m so tired.”

He walked over to the bench in the back of the garage, left her quivering there, and turned the radio up. Her phone buzzed again. She glanced at it. It was from Izzy. I’m at the wall. We need to talk, come on.

Then he undid his belt and knelt down beside her again.

When he was finished, he brought her home, just like he promised. She went to bed without talking much to anybody except to tell her mom that she wasn’t feeling well and that she would be skipping dinner. She heard Matt and Charles come home maybe fifteen minutes later. She slept that night shaking, with a pillow to her stomach.

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Chapter 8

6. Izzy

Chapter 5

Izzy

Izzy watched Charles and Matt walk home and pulled her coat tighter around herself. Not every night was as cold as this one. She had misjudged and worn a coat that was too light. The skies in the west were just now separating into bands of pink and orange, dotted with tall clouds.

She wiped her hair from her eyes and took maybe one or two more looks behind her to make sure that her friends hadn’t turned around. She got to the corner, took Wake Street and went down the hill to the little wall by the school. She hopped up and leaned back; the rock was frigid and damp. She dangled her feet over and looked down into the yards of the houses below her. She checked her phone, noticed the time, and diligently sent a text to her mom to tell her that she’d be late. Then she texted Chelsea.

Mar 18, 2013 6:56 pm:

Where are you?

She got no response. She flicked a rock from the top of the wall and rubbed her head. She hadn’t had dinner yet. Message two.

Mar 18, 2013 6:59 pm:

I’m at the wall. We need to talk, come on.

No they didn’t. They didn’t need to talk.

“Dammit,” Izzy said. She sighed.

She typed out another message: Matt and Charles were asking about you, but I didn’t tell them anything. She deleted the text without sending it. I’m going to tell Matt and Charles everything. Delete delete. She put her phone away. What was wrong with her?

She should, though. It was important, and Chelsea didn’t know what she was talking about anyway. She should tell somebody. It wasn’t fair to hide it. Izzy didn’t know what Chelsea’s plan was – it’s not like they wouldn’t find out.

When she swallowed, she found it hard. Maybe she was getting sick. She tried a few times, and it went away.

Her phone buzzed, knocking her out of her thoughts. It was her mom.

Mar 18, 2013 7:05 pm:

Did you check in with grandpa? I’m at work.

No, she hadn’t. She rubbed her eyes. There were a few reasons not to stick around. Homework and dinner and grandpa, and it was cold and getting darker and Chelsea wasn’t going to show up anyway. She was off and out of reach. With Jake. Probably listening to that song he liked to play so much. The one that was always playing on his stereo, whatever it was called.

On her way home Izzy cut through the corn field. She kicked a stalk down and whipped the others with it. She and her friends used to do that. She and Chelsea and Charles and Matt. Wait. No, that wasn’t right. Matt wasn’t born yet. That was – wow. That was more than seven years ago that they had started playing in the field. Izzy felt old. Almost thirteen was getting up there in years, she reasoned. She was Matt’s age when they had gone out there. It had been Chelsea’s idea, because of course it was. It was – was it November? She remembered cold, and the stalks of corn were dead and crackly – they snapped when you slashed at them.

They had been playing Star Wars. That was it. Jedi Knights fighting the droid army. The trailer for the last episode had been released, and it was the greatest thing in the world. Charles and Chelsea were Anakin and Obi-Wan, and she had been … somebody. There was a time when she could remember the duel at the end move for move. She had practiced. Oh, she had been Shaak-Ti.

What a shit movie, though. She grinned at the memory. Even her mom had thought so, and her mom had an Episode IV poster hanging in the living room, signed by … Drew Strutzman? Struzan? The illustrator. Her grandpa knew him. He and her mom had been there when Struzan or whoever won a Saturn award back around the time Izzy was born.

Her mother had told her the proper way to hold a lightsaber to keep the grip right. Apparently her hands had been too close together, and that could hurt her wrist, especially because the blade part was so light that she could twist too much accidentally. And it was so sharp that it didn’t take much force to cut, so it was more important to be stable than to be strong. Izzy didn’t have it in her to tell her mom that the sword was made of plastic.

Nerd.

When Izzy had been really little she had wanted to be a police officer like her mom. She had dressed up as one for Halloween the year Matt was born. Chelsea had gone as a statue and Charles had gone as a dragon. Her mom’s advice for pretending to be a cop was as accurate and careful as her advice on imaginary swordfighting.

Izzy made her way home. She hadn’t forgotten about Chelsea, but other things were on her mind. And her phone didn’t buzz for the rest of the night, either way.

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Chapter 7

5. Matt

Chapter 4

Matt

The spring before around this time there had been a fire in one of the houses nearby. Matt remembered because it was the day he had lost two teeth, but Chelsea and Izzy and Charles all said that that had been the year before. They all said that they watched the fire from the tree house, but Matt remembered his mom putting gauze in his mouth while the news was on and the lady on TV was talking about it.

This March was colder than that one had been, so they couldn’t play investigator as late without mom calling them home. Izzy got to stay out later than him or his brother and sister because Izzy’s grandpa was just visiting for the summer. Once or twice Chelsea got to stay out late with her, but mostly they came home by 8:00 or 8:30 before it got too cold.

It was 6:30 now, and Chelsea hadn’t even shown up yet, and Charles and Izzy were getting tired of waiting, so they went on a top secret mission together to find where she had gone.

So down they went, up and down Orchid, hiding in bushes and spying on the neighbors. Izzy got to be Spymaster because Chelsea wasn’t there and she was oldest, and Charles let Matt be the weapons expert and even helped him pick out a good Nerf gun from his collection. Charles said that he would be mission control and went to get walkie-talkies.

Right away they ruled out their parents because they were out to dinner together, and it couldn’t be Luke because Luke was sick. Matt said that maybe he was faking it, but Charles said that he had seen him in the nurse’s office at lunch, so they all agreed he had to be innocent.

Around then Charles asked if maybe Jake had done it, and Izzy got real quiet and told him to shut up because he didn’t know what he was talking about.

This confused Matt a little bit, because normally Izzy was very nice to Charles, who Matt usually figured didn’t deserve it because he wouldn’t share at all even when mom told him to. Today he said that Matt could be the weapons expert though, so it wasn’t very fair that Izzy told him to shut up. Friends should be nice to each other. Everyone said so.

Usually Matt would try his best to be cool like Izzy and Charles and Chelsea and he would always make sure that he wouldn’t annoy them and that he wouldn’t get in the way or anything. His mom said that every once in a while he should thank the big kids for letting him play with them. Chelsea and Izzy were always very nice to him, so he liked them. Charles could be mean, but today Matt got to be the weapons expert.

“All I was saying is that she might be over there, you know?” Charles said.

“I’m serious,” Izzy said. “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Then Izzy called Jake a bad word, and she didn’t even apologize afterward. She sounded very angry to Matt, and Izzy was usually nice to everybody, especially when they were playing investigator. She must not like Jake very much to say such mean things about him. Jake was Matt and Charles and Chelsea’s neighbor, and he always gave Matt a high five when he saw him. He was really cool. He even had his own car that he was fixing up. He let Matt see it once. And he had a guitar that he would play songs on. One time he had showed everybody an album that he said was Let it Bleed. It sounded pretty cool. They would hear those songs a lot from Jake’s garage.

“She’s been spending a lot of time over there,” Charles said. He looked over at Izzy.

Izzy didn’t say anything at all, and Matt couldn’t tell what she was thinking about.

She said another bad word and started to talk, but this time she glanced over at Matt and didn’t say anything else.

Sometimes they did that. Sometimes the big kids would say things that Matt didn’t understand like he wasn’t there, and then they would notice him and start whispering to one another.

“I’ve seen her over there,” Matt said. “They were –”

He stopped talking when he saw Izzy looking at him. He looked down at his Nerf gun. They had been naked, but he wasn’t allowed to say it.

“Come on, let’s go and find her,” Izzy said. She took off walking fast, and didn’t wait for the boys to catch up. They didn’t find her that night, and after a little while of playing investigator Charles said that it was time to go home. Izzy stayed out a little while longer.

When Matt and Charles got home mom told them that Chelsea had already gone to bed, and that she wasn’t feeling very well. But a few hours later, Matt woke to the noise of the door opening. It must have been Chelsea.

That night, Matt had a dream about monsters. It was a very good dream – he rushed to get back to sleep.

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Chapter 6