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One Other


Up on Hark Mountain I climbed all alone, by a trail like a ladder. Under my old brogans was sometimes mud, sometimes rock, sometimes rolling gravel. I laid hold on laurel and oak scrub and sourwood and dogwood to help me up the steepest places. Sweat soaked the back of my hickory shirt and under the band of my old hat. Even my silver-strung guitar, bouncing behind me, felt weighty as an anvil. Hark Mountain's not the highest in the South, but it's one of the steepiest.

I reckoned I was close to the top, for I heard a murmuring voice up there, a young-sounding woman's voice. All at once she like to yelled out a name, and it was my name.

"John!" she said, and murmured again, and then, "John. . ."

Gentlemen, you can wager I sailed up the last stretch, on hands and knees, to the very top.

On top of Hark Mountain's tipmost top was a pool. Hush, gentlemen, without a stream or a draw or a branch to feed it, where no pool could by nature be expected, was a clear blue pool, bright but not exactly sweet-looking. That highest point of Hark Mountain wasn't bigger, much, than a well-sized farmyard, and it had room for hardly the pool and its rim of tight rocks. And the trees that grew between those tight rocks at its rim looked leafless and gnarled, but alive. Their branch-twigs crooked like claw nails.

Almost in reach of me, by the pool's edge, burned a fire, and tending it knelt a girl.

She was tall, but not strong-built like a country girl. She was slim-built, like a town girl, and she wore town clothes—a white blouse-shirt, and blue jeans fold-rolled high up on her long legs, and soft slipper-shoes on her feet. Her arms and legs and neck were brown as nutmeat, the way fashiony girls seek to be brown. She put a tweak of stuff in the fire, and I saw her long, sharp, red fingernails. My name rose in her speech as she sang, almost:

". . . it is the bones of JOHN that I trouble. I for JOHN burn his laurel."

She put in some laurel leaves. "Even as it crackles and burns, even thus may the flesh of JOHN burn for me."

In went something else. "Even as I melt this wax, with ONE OTHER to aid, so speedily may JOHN for love of me be melted."

From a little clay pot she dripped something. Drip, the fire danced. Drip, it danced again, jumping up. Drip, a third jumpup dance.

"Thrice I pour libation. Thrice, by ONE OTHER, I say the spell. Be it with a friend he tarries, a woman he lingers, may JOHN utterly forget them."

Standing up, she held out something red and wavy that I knew.

"This from JOHN I took, and now I cast it into—"

But quietly I was beside her, and snatched the red scarf away.

"I've been wondering where I lost that," I said, and she turned and faced me.

Slightly I knew her from somewhere. She was yellow-haired, blue-eyed, brown-faced. She had a little bitty nose and a red mouth. Her blue eyes widened almost as wide as the blue pool itself, and she smiled, with big, even white teeth.

"John," she sang, halfway, "I was saying it for the third time, and you came to my call." She licked her red lips. "The way Mr. Howsen promised you would."

I didn't let on to know Mr. Howsen. I stuffed the red scarf into the hip pocket of my blue duckins. "Why were you witch-spelling me? What did I ever do to you? I disremember even where I've met you."

"You don't remember me? Remember Enderby lodge, John."

Of course. A month ago I'd strolled through with my guitar. Old Major Enderby bid me rest my hat awhile. He was having a dance, and to pleasure him I sang for his guests.

"You must have been there," I said. "But what did I do to you?"

Her lips tightened, red and hard and sharp as her nails. "Nothing at all, John. You did nothing, you ignored me. Doesn't it make you furious to be ignored?"

"Ignored? I never notice such a thing."

"I do. I don't often look at a man twice, and usually they look at me at least once. I don't forgive being ignored." Again she licked her mouth, like a cat. "I'd been told a charm can be said three times, beside Bottomless Pool on Hark Mountain, to burn a man's soul with love. And you came when I called. Don't shake your head, John, you're in love with me."

"Sorry. I beg your pardon. I'm not in love with you."

She smiled in pride and scorn, like at a liar. "But you climbed Hark Mountain."

"Reckoned I'd like to see the Bottomless Pool."

"Only people like Mr. Howsen know about the Bottomless Pool. Bottomless pools usually mean the ones near Lake Lure, on Highway 74."

"Those aren't rightly bottomless," I said. "Anyway, I heard about this one, the real one, in a country song. Slinging my guitar forward, I strummed and sang:


Way up on Hark Mountain
I climb all alone,
Where the trail is untravelled
The top is unknown.

Way up on Hark Mountain
Is the Bottomless Pool.
You look in its waters
And they mirror a fool.  


"You're making that up," she charged me.

"No, it was made up before my daddy's daddy was born. Most country songs have truth in them. The song brought me here, not your witch-spell."

She laughed, short and sharp, almost a yelp. "Call it the long arm of coincidence, John. You're here, anyway. Look in the water and see whether it mirrors a fool."

Plainly she didn't know the next verse, so I sang that


You can boast of your learning
And brag of your sense,
It won't make no difference
A hundred years hence.  


Stepping one foot on a poolside rock, I looked in.

It mirrored neither a fool nor a wise man. I could see down forever and ever, and I recollected all I'd ever heard norrated about the Bottomless Pool. How it was blue as the sky, but with a special light of its own; how no water ran into it, excusing some rain, but it stayed full; how you couldn't measure it, you could let down a sinker till the line broke of its own weight.

Though I couldn't spy out the bottom, it wasn't rightly dark down there. Like looking up into blue sky, I looked down into blue water, and in the blue was a many-color shine, like deep lights.

"I didn't need to use the stolen scarf," she said at my elbow. "You're lying about why you came. The spell brought you."

"I'm sorry to say, ma'am," I replied, "I don't even call your name to my mind."

"Do names make a difference if you love me? Call me Annalinda. I'm rich. I've been loved for that alone, and for myself alone."

"I'm plain and poor," I told her. "I was raised hard and put up wet. I don't have more than 60 cents in my old clothes. It wonders me, Miss Annalinda, why you need to bother."

"Because I'm not used to being ignored," she said again.

Down in the Bottomless Pool's blueness wasn't a fish, or a weed of grass. Only that deep-away sparkly flash of lights, changing as you spy changes on a bubble of soap blown by a little child.

Somebody cleared his throat and spoke, "I see the spell I gave you worked, ma'am."

I knew Mr. Howsen as he came up the trail to Hark Mountain's top.

He was purely ugly. I'd been knowing him ten years, and he looked as ugly that minute as the first time I'd seen him, with his mean face and his big hungry nose and the black patch over one eye. When he'd had both his eyes, they were so close together you'd swear he could look through a keyhole with the two of them at once.

"Yes," said Miss Annalinda. "I want to pay you what I owe you.

"No, you pay One Other," said Mr. Howsen, his hands in the pockets of the long black coat he wore summer and winter. "For value received, ma'am. I only passed his word along to you."

He tightened his lips at me, in what wasn't any smile. "John," he said, "you relish journeying. You've relished it since you were just a chap, going what way you felt like. You've seen a right much of this world. But she tolled you to her, and you'll stay with her, and you're obliged to One Other."

"One other what?" I asked him.

Though that was just a defy. Of course, hearing of Hark Mountain and the Bottomless Pool, I'd heard of One Other. That mountain folks say he's got the one arm and the one leg, that he runs on the one leg and grabs with the one arm and what he grabs goes with him into the Bottomless Pool; that it's One Other's power and knowledge that lets witches do their spells next to Bottomless Pool.

"Be here with the lady when One Other asks payment," he said. "That spell was good a many years before Theocritus written it down in Greek. It'll be good when English is as old as Greek is now. It tolled you here."

For the life of me, I couldn't remember seeing Miss Annalinda at Major Enderby's. "My will brought me, not hers," I said. "I wanted to see the Bottomless Pool. I wonder at the soap bubble color in it."

"Ain't any soap in there, John," said Mr. Howsen. "Soap bubbles don't get so big as to have that much color."

"You're rightly sure how big soap bubbles get, Mr. Howsen? Once I heard a science doctor say this whole life of ours, the heaven and the earth, the sun and moon and stars, hold a shape like a big soap bubble. He said it stretched and spread like a soap bubble, all the suns and stars and worlds getting farther apart as time passed."

"Both of you stay where you are," said Mr. Howsen. "One Other will want to find the both of you here."

"But—" Miss Annalinda made out to begin.

"Both of you stay," Mr. Howsen said again, and with his shoe toe he scuffed a mark across the trail. He hawked, and spit on the mark. "Don't cross that line. It would be worse for you than if fire burned you behind and before, inside and out."

Like a lizard he had bobbed over the edge and down the trail.

"Let's go, too," I said to Miss Annalinda, but she stared at the mark of Mr. Howsen's shoe toe, and the healthy blood had paled out from under the tan on her face.

"Pay him no mind," I said. "Let's start, it's toward evening."

"He said not to cross the mark," she reminded me, scared.

"I don't care a shuck for his saying. Come on, Miss Annalinda," and I took her by the arm.

That quick she was fighting me. Holding her arm was like holding the spoke of a runaway wheel. Her other hand racked hide and blood from my cheek, and she tried to bite. I couldn't hang on without hitting her, so I let her go, and she sat on a rock by the poolside and cried into her hands.

"Then I'll have to go alone," I said, and took a step.

"John!" she called, loud and shaky as a horse's whinny. "If you cross that mark, I'll throw myself into this Bottomless Pool!"

Sometimes you can tell a woman means her words. This was such a time. I walked back, and she looked to where the down-sunk sun made the sky's edge red and fiery. It would be cold and dark when the sun went. With trembling brown hands she rolled the blue jeans down her long legs.

"I'll build up the fire," I said, and tried to break a branch from a claw-looking tree.

But it was tough and had thorny stickers. So I went to the edge of the clearing, away from where Mr. Howsen had drawn his mark on us, and found an armful of dead-fallen wood to freshen the fire she'd made for her witching. It blazed up, the color of the setting sun. High in the sky, that grew pale before it would grow dark, slid a big buzzard. Its wings flopped, slow and heavy, spreading their feathers like long fingers.

"You don't believe all this, John," said Miss Annalinda, in a voice that sounded as if she was just before freezing with cold. "But the spell was true. The rest of it's true, too—about One Other. He must have been here since the beginning of time."

"There's one thing peculiar enough to the truth," I answered her. "Nothing's been norrated about One Other until the last year or so. Nothing about his being here at the Bottomless Pool, or about folks being able to do witch stuff, or how he aids the witches and takes payment for his aid. It's no old country tale, it's right new and recent."

"Payment," she said after me. "What kind of payment?"

I poked the fire. "That depends. Sometimes one thing, sometimes another. You notice Mr. Howsen goes around with only one eye. I've heard it sworn that One Other took an eye from him. Maybe he won't want an eye from you, but he'll want something. Something for nothing."

"What do you mean?" and she frowned her brows.

"You witched me to love you, but you don't love me. It was done for spite, not love."


Nothing flurries a woman like being caught in the truth. She laid hold on a poolside rock next to her.

"That will smash my head or either my guitar," I gave her warning. "Smash my head, you're up here alone with a dead corpse. Smash my guitar, I'll go down the trail."

"And I'll jump into the pool."

"All right, jump. I won't stay where people throw rocks at me. Fair warning's as good as a promise."

She let go the rock. She was ready to cry again. My foot at the edge, I looked down in the water.

The sky was getting purely dark, but low and away down was that soap bubble shiny light. I remembered an old tale they say came from the Indians that owned the mountains before white folks came. It was about people living above the sky and thinking their world was the only one, till somebody pulled up a big long root, and through the hole they could see another world below, where people lived. Then Miss Annalinda began to talk.

She was talking for company, and she talked about herself. About her rich father and her rich mother, and her rich aunts and uncles, the money and automobiles and land and horses she owned, the big chance of men who wanted to marry her. One was the son of folks as rich as hers. One was the governor of a state, who'd put his wife away if Miss Annalinda said the word. One was a nobleborn man from a foreign country. "And you'd marry me too, John," she said.

"I'm sorry," I said. "Sorry to death. But I wouldn't."

"You're lying, John."

"I never lie, Miss Annahnda."

"Well, talk to me, anyway. This is no place for silence."

I talked in my turn. How I'd been born next to Drowning Creek and baptized in its waters. How my folks had died in two days of each other, how an old teacher lady taught me to read and write, and I taught myself to play the guitar. How I'd roamed and rambled. How I'd fought in the war, and a thousand fell at my side and ten thousand at my right hand, but it hadn't come nigh me. I left out things like meeting up with the Ugly Bird or visiting the desrick on Yandro. I said that though I'd never had anything and never rightly expected to have anything, I'd always made out for bread to eat and sometimes butter on it.

"How about girls, John?" she asked me. "You must have had regiments of them."

"None to mention," I said, for it wouldn't be proper to name them, or the like of that. "Miss Annalinda, it's full dark."

"And the moon's up," she said.

"No, that's the soap bubble light from down in the pool."

"'You make me shiver!" she scolded, and drew up her shoulders. "What do you mean with that stuff about soap bubbles?"

"Only what I told Mr. Howsen. The science man said our whole life, what he called our universe, was swelling and stretching out, so that suns and moons and stars pull farther apart all the time. He said our world and all the other worlds are inside that stretching skin of suds that makes the bubble. We can't study out what's out side the bubble, or either inside, just the suds part. It sounds crazyish, but when he talked it sounded true."

"It's not a new idea, John. James Jeans wrote a book The Expanding Universe. But where does the soap bubble come from?'

"I reckon Whoever made things must have blown it from a bubble pipe too big for us to figure about.

She snickered, so she must be feeling better. "You believe in a God Who blew only one lone soap bubble." Then she didn't snicker. "How long must we wait here?"

"No time. We can go."

"No, we have to stay."

"Then we'll wait till One Other comes. He'll come. Mr. Howsen's a despicable man, but he knows about One Other."

"Oh!" she cried out. "I wish he'd come and get it over with."

And her wish came true.

The firelight had risen high, and as she spoke something hiked up behind the rocks on the pool's edge. It hiked up like a wet black leech, but much bigger by a thousand times. It slid and oozed to the top of a rock and as it waited a second, wet and shiny in the firelight, it looked as if somebody had flung down a wet coat. Then it hunched and swelled, and its edges came apart.

It was a hand, as broad in the back as a shovel, with fingers as long as a hayfork's tines.

"Get up and start down trail," I said to Miss Annalinda, as quiet and calm as I could make out to be. "Don't argue, just start."

"Why?" she snapped, without moving, and by then she saw, too, and any chance for escape was gone.

The hayfork fingers grabbed the rock, and a head and shoulder heaved up where we could see them.

The shoulder was a cypress root humping out of water, and the head was a dark pumpkin, round and smooth and bald, with no face, only two eyes. They were green, not bright green like cat eyes or dog eyes in the night. They were stale rotten green, like something spoiled.

Miss Annalinda's shriek was like a train at a crossing. She jumped up, but she didn't run. Maybe she couldn't. Then a big knee lifted into sight, and all of One Other came out of the water and rose straight up above us.

Miss Annalinda wilted down on her knees, almost in the fire. I dropped the guitar and jumped to pull her clear. She mumbled a holy name—not a prayer or either a curse, just the tag end of a habit most of us almost lose, the reminding of Someone that we're hurting for a little help. I stood, holding her sagging slim body against me, and looked high up at where One Other loomed.

One Other was twice as tall as a tall man, and it was sure enough true that he had only one arm and one leg. The arm would be his left arm, and the leg his left leg. Maybe that's why the mountain folks named him One Other. But his stale green eyes were two, and both of them looked down at us. He made a sure hop toward us on his big single foot, big and flat as a table top, and he put out his hand to touch or to grab.

I dragged Miss Annalinda clear around the fire. I reckon she'd fainted, or near to. Her feet didn't work under her, she only moaned, and she was double heavy, the way a limp weight can be. My strength was under tax to pull her toward where I'd dropped the guitar. I wanted to get my hands on that guitar. It might be a weapon—its music or its silver strings might be a distaste to an unchancey thing like One Other.

But One Other had circled the fire the opposite way, so that we came almost in touch again. He stood on his one big foot, between me and my guitar. It might be ill or well to him, but I couldn't reach it and find out.

Even then, I never thought of running across Mr. Howsen's mark and down the mountain in the night. I stood still, holding Miss Annalinda on her feet that were so limp her shoes were like to drop off, and looked up twice my height into what wasn't a face save for the two green eyes.

"What have you got in mind?" I asked One Other, as if he could understand my talk; and the words, almost in Miss Annalinda's ear, brought back her strength and wits. She stood alone, still shoving herself close against me. She looked up at One Other and said the holy name again.

One Other bent his big lumpy knee, and sank his bladdery dark body down and put out that big splay paw of his. The firelight showed his open palm, slate gray, with things dribbling out in a clinking, jangling little strew at our feet. He straightened up again.

"Oh!" And Miss Annalinda dropped down to grab. "Look—he's giving us—"

Tugging my eyes from One Other's, I looked at what she held out. It shone and lighted up, like a hailstone by lantern light. It was the size of a hen egg, and it had a many little edges and flat faces, all full of fire, pale and blue outside and innerly many-colored like the soap bubble light in the Bottomless Pool. She shoved it into my hand, and it felt sticky and slippery, like soap. I let it fall on the ground again.

"You fool, that's a diamond!" she squeaked at me. "It's bigger than the Orloff! Bigger than the Koh-i-noor!"

She scrabbled with both hands for more of the shiny things, that lighted up with every color you could call for. "Here's an emerald," she yipped, "and here's a ruby! John, he's our friend, he likes us, he's giving us things worth more money than—"

On her knees before One Other, she gathered two fistfuls of those things he'd flung down for her to pick up. But I had my eyes back on him. He looked at me—not at her, he was sure of her. He knew human-kind's greed for shiny stones. About me he wasn't sure yet. He studied me as I've seen folks study an animal, to see where to hit with a stick or slice with a skinning knife. The shiny stones didn't fetch me. He'd find something that would.

I know how like a crazy tale to scare young ones this sounds. But there and then, One Other was so plain to see and make out, the way you'd see him if I was to make a clay image of him and stand it up on one leg in your sight, and it grew till it was twice as tall as you, with stale green eyes and one hayfork paw and one tabletop foot. In a moment with no sound, he and I looked at each other. Miss Annalinda, down on the ground between us, gopped and goggled at the stones she gathered in her hands. Then the silence broke. A drip of water fell. Another. Drip, drip, drip, like what Miss Annalinda had dripped into the fire—water from the Bottomless Pool, dripping off of One Other's body and head and his one arm and one leg.

Then he turned his eyes and mind back to Miss Annalinda, for long enough to spare me for a jump past him at my guitar.

He turned quick and swung down at me with his paw, but I had it and was running backward, I got the guitar across me, my left hand on the frets, and my right hand clawing the silver strings. They sang out, and One Other teetered on his broad sole, cocked his head to listen.

I started the Last Judgment Song, that in my boyhood old Uncle T. P. Hinnard had said was good against evil things:


Three holy kings, four holy saints,
At heaven's high gate that stand,
Speak out and bid all evil wait,
And stir no foot or hand . . . .  


But he came at me. The charm didn't serve against One Other, as I'd been vowed to it'd serve against any evil in the world. One Other wasn't of this world, though just now he was in it. He was from the Bottomless Pool, and from whatever was beyond, below, behind where its bottom should be.

I ran around the fire and around Miss Annalinda still crouched down among those jewels. After me he hopped, like the almightiest big one-legged rabbit in song or story. He had me almost headed off, coming alongside me, and I ran right through the fire that was less fear to face than he was. My shoes spurned its coals as I ran through, On the far side I made myself stop and look back. I still had to face him somehow. I couldn't just run from him and leave Miss Annalinda to pay, all alone for her foolishness.

He'd stopped, too, in his one track. The fire, scattered by my feet, blazed up in scattered chunks, and he was sort of pulling himself together, back away from it. Drip, drip, the water fell from him. I felt I couldn't stand that dripping noise, and I sang another verse of the Last judgment Song:


The fire from heaven will fall at last
On wealth and pride and power,
We will not know the minute, and
We will not know the hour . . . .  


One Other hopped a long hop back, away from the fire and from me and from the song.

Something whispered me what I'd needed to know.

From out of the water he'd come. If I didn't want him to get me, to make me sell out at a price I'd never redeem—as jewels beyond all reckoning could buy Miss Annalinda—I'd have to fight him like any water-thing.

Fight fire with water, the wise folks say for a saying. Fire and water are enemies. Fight water with fire.

He circled around again, and I didn't flee this time. I grabbed toward the scattered fire. One Other's flat hand slapped me spinning away, but my own fist had snatched a burning chunk. When I staggered back onto my feet, I still held my guitar in one hand, and the chunk in the other.

I whipped that fire around my head, and it blazed up like pure lightwood. As One Other stooped for me again, I rushed to meet him and shoved the fire at him.

He couldn't face it. He broke back from it. I jumped sidewise, myself, so he was between me and the fire, and sashayed the burning stick at him again. He jumped back. His foot slammed down into the fire.

I hope none of you all ever hear such a sound as he made, with no mouth to make it. Not a yell or a roar or a scream, but Hark Mountain's whole top hummed and danced to it. He flung himself out of the fire again, and I dashed my torch like a spear for where his face should be, and made a direct hit.

I tell you, he couldn't face fire, he couldn't stand it. He spun around and dived into the water from which he'd come, into the Bottomless Pool, with a splash like a wagon falling from a bridge. Running to the rocks, I saw him cleave down below there into the deep clearness like a diving one-legged frog—among the soap bubble colors, getting so small he looked a hand's size, a finger's size, a bean's size. And then light gulped him. Then I stepped back to the scattered fire.

Miss Annalinda still huddled on the ground. I question whether she'd paid any attention to what had gone on. Her hands were full of jewels, shining green, red, blue, white.

I put out my hand and pulled her to her feet. "Give those to me," I said.

Her eyes stabbed at me like fish-gigs. She couldn't believe that I'd said such words. I took her right wrist and pried open her right hand, trying not to hurt her, and got the jewels out of it. Into the Bottomless Pool I plugged them, one by one. They splashed and sank like pebbles.

"Don't!" she screamed, but I took her other hand and pried away the rest of them. Plop. I threw one after the first bunch. Plop. I threw another. Plop, plop, plop, more.

"They were a fortune," she whimpered, clawing at my arm. "The greatest fortune ever dreamed of."

"No, not a fortune," I said. "A misfortune. The greatest misfortune ever dreamed of."


I threw the rest in. Plop, plop, the rest of the jewels. What would you have given for them?" I asked her.


"You mean everything. If he paid high for us, he meant to have his worth from us. He needs folks to serve him, more folks than Mr. Howsen." I waved for her to look into the pool. "I hope he stays where things are more comfortable than what I gave him to taste."

She looked down to where the pool should have a bottom. "John, you're right," she said, as if she dreamed. "Those colors do look like soap bubble tints, stretched out, with nothing we can imagine beyond the film of suds. A great big soap bubble, like the one you say the Creator blew."

"Maybe," I said, "there's more than one soap bubble. Maybe there's a right many. Each one a life and universe strange to us."

The pain of that new thought made her silent. I went on.

"Maybe there's two soap bubbles touching. Maybe the spot where they come together is where something can leave one sort of life and come into another."

She sat down. The new thought was weight as well as pain. "Oh," she said.

"Maybe some born venturer would dare try to move into the new bubble," I said, "through whatever maybe matches the Bottomless Pool on the far side, in that other world. Maybe, I say. There's a God's plenty of maybes."

"They aren't maybes," she said all of a sudden. "You saw him. No such creature was ever born in our world. A creature looking like that must be—"

"You still don't understand," and I shook my head. "I don't reckon he looks like that in his own soap bubble. He made himself look like that, to be as much as possible like our kind, here in this world. We can't guess what he looks like naturally."

"I don't want to guess," she said, as if she was about to cry.

"A stranger like that needs friends and helpers in the strange place. Some of the things he knows from his own home are like power here, power we don't understand and think is witch stuff. But he'd pay high for helpers, like Mr. Howsen and like us."

"Will he come back?" she asked.

"Not right away." I picked up my guitar. "Let's head down trail as far as we can grope in the dark, and if he does come back he won't find us. If we can't grope all the way down, we'll build a fire somewhere below and wait for light to show us the rest of the way."

"You were right about me, John," said Miss Annalinda, starting to gabble fast. "You saw all through me, my spell was to get you up here for spite. But it's not spite any more, John, it's love, it's love—I love you, John—"

"You know," I right away changed the subject, "there's one more thing about this soap bubble idea. The soap bubble we live in keeps stretching and swelling. But a soap bubble can't last forever. Some time or other, it stretches and swells so tight, it just bursts."

That did what I was after. It stopped her flood of words. She stared up and away and all around. I saw the whites of her eyes glitter in the last of the fireglow.

"Bursts?" she said slowly. "Then what?"

"Then nothing, Miss Annalinda. When a soap bubble bursts, it's gone."

And we had silence to start our climb down Hark Mountain.


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