Outside, the moon is low and animals are making a racket in the hedges. The sound of it, the sound of anything really, is soothing now and reminds me of a time when sound itself was enchanting, something to cause wonder and awe. It was the ingredient most likely to be missing and when it showed up eventually, everyone in the area spoke of its appearance in whispers. They agreed with one another for the first time in weeks, setting aside differences that had haunted them for generations. Usually these originated in what to outsiders might have seemed inconsequential quarrels and barely noticeable differences in physiology. Eyes set a millimeter too far apart. Lips with indentions in them. I suggest we take the river again, but of course the johnboat is long since washed away or destroyed and, as Anda says, civilized human beings can not rely upon the whims of the river. It will turn them into beasts by and by, assuming it hasn’t already done so. I like the way she talks, the firm resolve she exhibits even in the face of hopeless situations or those situations with qualities one can’t exactly quantify or describe – situations that don’t really seem like situations at all because they come and go with almost no one else noticing. They adopt the timbre of old photographs, meaning they stand still for extended periods of time, and when they do decide to move – or to incorporate movement within themselves by sending their fundamental elements scurrying about from one place to another like arachnids – they almost always make it seem as if they haven’t decided anything at all but have merely been acted upon by exterior forces. What these forces could possibly consist of no one is sure because whenever someone tries to write up the paper that would identify them, he is poisoned mysteriously in his sleep or he loses his reason, sometimes precipitously, sometimes overnight. Anda beckons me to follow her into the woods and at first it seems as if she is making things up as she goes along, stumbling blindly through the thistle and the mulberry that is still surprisingly thick in the vicinity, surprising given what has been going on in the house at any rate, but who knows? Maybe the concept of quantity is one that is just destined to remain forever alien to me, something the pursuit of which I should abandon so as not to make myself look any more ridiculous than I already do, especially to those who watch my progress on occasion from the tops of nearby cliffs. Who signal to me, try to communicate some message to me I have as yet to decipher, by flashing sunlight in my direction, by reflecting it off hand mirrors or spectacles or pieces of broken bottle or whatever else they might have discovered along the way that is possessed of a highly polished surface.