“I’d understood you were gone for good,” the Captain says, “for the life of me, I’d hoped I’d never come across you again.”

“I was never gone.”

“I rejoiced once it became clear you wouldn’t be back.”

“Never left the ship.”

“Are you real, ghost or universal trick of the eye?”

“The rope you saw descending from the net below the ship was flexible,” Chloroph explains, “it gained in transparency over time so that you could no longer see it.  It was useful.  It served the purpose of prodding the bottom of the universe.”

“There’s no bottom, only an abyss.  Where is the pole now?”

“We cut it off.”


“Spinostress and I.  It was a shared decision.  The pole’s intent and purpose had gone beyond its usefulness and it was safer to release it.  It was also heavy.”

“Heavy fishing, huh?”


“Like a hook?”

“How did—”

“—I don’t like your seedy malefic tricks.  Shaman by day and Devil by night, you’re no good.  Too dangerous for your own sake.”

“There is a bottom,” Chloroph insists, “I experienced it.”

“Couldn’t release the hook from it?  What makes you think it was the lowest of all bottoms?”

“I was there.”


“—Couldn’t get back up.  Something to do with gravity.  My days were numbered.”

“So you reverted to your old tricks: another hook, huh?”

“I summoned a seed off the ground to grow from the bottom pit of all bottoms.  I had none left but I’m a gardener by birth and by trade.  I know what lies beneath.”

To be continued…

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