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It’s when you smell that smell that you know that you’re back. Then you hear the whirr and the clank and that omnipresent hum, and you realize that the nightmare factories are operating again, an endless shift with an unchanging workforce. And then you see. You see the nightmare factories from your regular perspective on the ground, dimly lit with jaundiced yellow phosphor, and then somehow you are above them, almost, but this quickly becomes inside them. And you see the things that work the machines, and what they make with the machines, and then you see the other things that scuttle out to trim off the waste. And they throw the waste into little gutters that run down the sides of the nightmare factory floor where a tide of filth sweeps the scraps along and through a grate and into the pipes that lead to the outside.
And then you are outside, and you are before the bad house, isolated in the spotlight in its strange alcove surrounded by the nightmare factories. And you see the pipes that rise from the ground and into the bad house, and you make the connection. And you don’t go into the bad house, any more than you went into the nightmare factory, but nonetheless you are there. And you see the irrigation system that waters a monstrous garden with the runoff from the factory floor, and you see the tanks filled with that same murky substance and the things that swim in it and live in it, and then, further back in the bad house you see the shadows. Three shades flit back and forth impatiently inside the bad house, and behind them another shadow, vaguer, larger, subsumes the other three in its darkness when it rises. And you can feel the impatience, and you can feel the anticipation, and you can feel the joy in the knowledge that a time of waiting is finally over.
Then you wake up, oddly suffused with that vicarious joy, and when it slowly dawns on you why that joy exists you begin to shake and you can’t stop.
Go to Chapter Ten