The pathways diverge in several different directions at once, and then several more after that, and so on, until when you split up in an attempt to follow each of them in turn you find that there are never enough members of your party to complete the job. Attrition is the official term for this phenomenon but it is lacking in color and makes one think of the pencils they used to hand out in school. The dull yellow paint on the outside, no doubt heavy with lead, and the irresistible taste of them on your tongue. The slight give beneath your teeth. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to find yourself in the old haunts again, shimmying up poles cold to the touch and with feathers tied to the tops of them like otherworldly war bonnets? Like decoys set out to distract the real thing? When I come to again, there is blood everywhere, the floor is slick with it and I slip in my instinctual attempts to get away, to place some distance between me and the offending liquid. There is a sound like screaming, only too shrill to qualify, more like an extended animal squawk -- so long as that animal is diminutive in stature and prone to flights of terror. I look around for a moment trying to figure out which direction it is coming from, confused by the fact that it seems to be coming from all directions at once, and it takes me another moment or two to realize what this means. The center of all phenomena is the place from which all phenomena seem to radiate and to which they return. If you were standing at precisely this point, I suspect you would experience a void. One composed of the incoming and the outgoing cancelling one another out. You would think perhaps you had stumbled into some other dimension and did not possess the perceptual or cognitive tools necessary to make any sense of it. In this, of course, as in most things, you would be mistaken. The sound, I realize, escapes my throat and at the moment of realization it stops, as if it has merely been trying to call attention to itself. Once this has been accomplished, there is no more need of its presence. It is free to continue its activities elsewhere. I see Anda standing in the corner of the room, partially lit now by a torch on the wall. She is standing over what looks at first glance to be a rumpled sack of some sort of grain or produce, the shape of it suggesting it has been dumped here unceremoniously and its contents have begun to spill out on the floor where they will certainly go to waste unless someone comes along shortly with a hose and a bucket and twenty minutes or more of spare time to see to a systematic clean up. A sanitation and cataloging. A transporting from one place to another and then another after that, all of it accompanied, one would imagine, by a continual and distracted muttering under the breath.