As it happened, a significant enough proportion of readers decided that Willis should boldly march up and introduce himself to whoever or whatever was around the corner, and that he should have Isaac stay back in case there's trouble, and so this is what the unseen Buzzers relayed to the child from between the veils. Huh? You thought the readers WERE the Buzzers? Well, you can go ahead and think of it that way if you prefer, but it's a little more complicated than that. Nobody told you? Really? Hm...forget it was me, then.

Funny enough, Willis had no idea that anyone was influencing his decision at all. Bet THAT raises questions for some of you, too. Heh heh.

~AND SO, someone's unsupervised child, under a naive pretense of free will, acted upon specifically YOUR consensus to approach a total stranger, fearlessly following the sound to its unknown source: a being his perception sphere actually struggled for a moment to process, unsteadily, as though it would not have been able to do so at all if the being was not preoccupied. By what, Willis neither comprehended nor particularly cared.

This being reminded him of someone he knew, except that the bland, sort of damp and starchy scent of the Grey Zone was practically smothered to death beneath the roiling chromatovibrational chemosignatures of countless other, sometimes dreadfully unfamiliar zones. It was the otherworldly miasma of one who has plumbed darker realities than should even rightfully exist to be plumbed. The cacophonious aura of that which roams the most blasphemous catacombs of being with spiteful disregard for the impermanence of whatever we may dare define as one's sanity.

That, and a little dash of the funk you might expect from someone who puts out a lot of cigarettes in a lot of half-finished plastic cups of gas station wine.


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