Charles, William, Dawn, and Ozzie came to a section of the bus-train called the smoker’s cabin. There were three men inside, real nasty guys who looked like movie gangsters. Then there was the woman, too. She wore a silver dress. Well, when Ozzie protested to being kicked out of the bus car, the woman started interrogating them, wanting to know where they were from and if the knew the “other girl” who came up from the world bellow—She had to be talking about Castatine.

Dawn lied about where they were from, William, too, but the woman in silver wasn’t having it. Then she threatened to cut off all Dawn’s hair and gouge out their eyes if they didn’t start telling the truth. All the while, Charles was drifting in and out of a trance-like state. Something about being in the smokers cabin seemed WAY familiar, but how could that be? Was Charles going crazy? When the woman in silver, “the silver witch,” saw Charles wasn’t paying attention to her, she slapped his face!

But he’d noticed something—these people, these “smokers”—something was odd about them. They didn’t look…real. They were too gray somehow and too thin, like maybe they were just tricks of the light, like illusions.

Finally, Charles had enough. Staring at the silver witch he said, “I think you’re not what you appear to be. You’re no more a woman than I am.”

Then the woman slapped him again. But frantically, his mind tried to figure out the riddle—why was this place so familiar?


Twitter: @josephmazerac




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