The terrain was rocky, grass spread across some scattered hills, a few sporadic, clearly empty buildings dotting the landscape. Billy turned to examine the rest of the area around them, and saw more of the same. Rocks, patches of grass, buildings, nothing.

Then, a quiet buzzing noise in the distance, in no particular direction.

"There it is again," Billy said. "The hell is that?"

"23.5 horsepower Kawasaki engine is what you're hearing," Pete said, to his left. "I'd recognize that anywhere. Wright Stander X. Damper up, deck at or near top height. Transport ready, not yet deployable. New or nearly new; casters don't have that signature rattle in them yet. Never touched turf."

Billy and Effy turned to look at Pete. Billy just shook his head.

"What the unspeakable fuck did you just say?" Effy asked.

"Lawnmower, Fatimah," Pete said. "It's a very nice lawnmower. Several of them, I'd guess. How many buzzes you hear, Noah?"

Noah kept staring into the distance.


"Hmm? Oh, sorry," he said, shaking his head. "Damn jet lag. Eight buzzing sounds, boss."

"Might be the same one," Billy said. "You always overestimate the size of the turd before it hits the fan, Pete."

"You always underestimate it," Pete said, grinning. "All the shit looks rabbit-sized from your altitude."

"It all feels the same under your feet," Noah said absently.

Pete, Billy, and Effy slowly turned toward him, staring.

Noah gulped. "I mean, you…you know, right? It's all —"

"No, dude, we get it," Effy said. "It's real deep."

"All the way deep," Pete said.

"You out of your goddamn mind, boy," Billy said, "but that ain't news."

A buzzing sound again. "Nine," Noah said.

"A fleet of lawnmowers. In an abandoned Turkish hamlet. It's weird, but I don't know if it's relevant, Pete," Billy said. "Could be false information."

"Doubt it, either way. This is a scene being set up for us," Pete replied, "one way or the other. The lawnmowers have to be important. Look around, Billy. There's no fucking grass here. The sound hasn't come from the same direction twice. We can't possibly ignore —"

Effy laughed. "You fuckers are just about simple, you know that?"

Both men turned to Effy.

"All that 'where there's smoke, there's fire' bullshit. 'Common sense' bullshit. You deal with the end of logic, the end of rationality, and you still can't stop yourself from jumping to conclusions. How many lawnmowers have you heard, Noah?"

"Nine so far, Effy."

"No. You have heard nine buzzing sounds. You have heard Pete over here shitting all over your objective opinion with fifteen trivia details about lawnmowers. You have seen zero lawnmowers. You have encountered zero lawnmowers. Stop planning to fight lawnmowers based on buzzing."

"You said they had none with Sight," Faruhar said, frowning.



2. Genetically engineered Wal-Mart greeter
6. Drewbear sez use the line "The lion shines and its roar blinds"
7. Sigh. Must you be so difficult. Let it be tiny little pebbles in the shape of mountain goats wearing fashionable turtlenecks, in blizzard form.
8. Thanksgiving?
10. A night that lasts forever. Part of a larger phenomenon?
11. Regenerating turkey as a thanksgiving prank — turkey comes back to life and tries to eat other food to regrow missing parts



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