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The clock ticked on the tens, and the free path lashed around, snaking Seven through Five and running a ribbony Spiral West around the stabby logical machines. The man didn't use words like "Five" or "Spiral" of course. They were simply patterns pressing on his mind, which he could follow like water pulled by gravity, trickling down the route of least resistance. He had made the pattern, the product of a thousand dreams tunneling through the building, blind worms tunneling throwing electrons instead of dirt behind them. An entire universe, planet, ecosystem that only he could sense and touch and feel. His world.

The clock ticked on the tens, and the free path plunged downward, only a broken limb on top now, for escape to the sun. Sometimes he went to the very top, during the Day which gently rained on the building like a slow tide. The Sun could be felt at the top then, although he never dared to go out lest the energy club him unconscious. Acid rain, lovely delicious acid.

The clock ticked on the tens, and the free path meandered on Eleven, with a slide down to Fourteen. Jarod's home, although he slept in a different tunnel in a different time. The collection of objects and projectors and occasional stabby machine and whiny fluorescent lights together known as the sim lab, they all missed Jarod. Sydney just wasn't an adequate substitute, somehow, although the legos liked him best. The notebooks constantly bitched to be let out of their closet, just once again, pleeeeease. He never really liked Fourteen.

The clock ticked on the tens, and the free path formed a spider with many tentacles. A nexus point, an opportunity to go North or South, Up or Down, many ways to roll down the stream. He could sink down to the pit levels, where the ghosts and demons lived buried in sediment smashed into a thin viscous oil, oozing, permanent. Some then were even still alive. He opted to stay on Eleven for this nexus, it was quieter, and the guys next door were hilarious, for guys that were doomed to get eaten.

Since it was quiet he opted to try the Words again, although honestly it didn't seem worth the effort most of time. He opened up his personal Stabby and let the pinprick flow through him, then summoned up the magical word-pictures to check his account. Another note from Jarod, something about meeting in the acid for some strange people he kept calling "family." The people who birthed Timmy, one of the ghosts in the pit. He tried not to remember them but the image of Martha's quasi-human had smashed on his mind for hours before he could lock it away again. Jarod was going to drop into the building, too blind to see the path, so the razors were going to come out. He would have to think about yet more Words to rescue Jarod, again.

The clock ticked on the tens, and the path wound round and round. The man noted the change, but stayed in his safe place, painstakingly trying to remember his Words.

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