Lloyd has been awake for a just few moments without moving from the tangle of sleeping bags a Scouts of Mthyuh brigade had donated to the clothing drive bin that the beast had lifted from its cement moorings and dumped here in its cliff nest.
He fears that if he moves he will lose the beautiful light scent of jasmine? Monster poinsettia? It's very early in spring yet, and how would flowers grow this high up against a rock? He even imagines he can follow light, pensive plucking on a mandolin.
Then young Jan, sweet Jan, is walking toward him in gentle rays of light, with the massive and hideous silhouette of her mother resting behind her against the moon and clouds. The beast's subsiding breaths after flight create the lilting music as her lungs contract with a melodic metal popping perhaps more similar to a steel guitar.
In this new place, with his confidence dashed for once, Lloyd sees Jan's daughter Jan anew. He is prostrate and broken; she represents a future, a woman who can change his life for once, powerful in a sleeveless chintz chrysanthemum-print frock, even while barefoot and picking her way toward him through the soft debris.
He waits until she has climbed up beside him in the heap of torn, shiny viscose lining, fluffy polyfill and plastic zippers, her red-dark face only inches from his own.
Shush. [She places a finger across his lips.] Just listen. And breathe.
He draws in another chestful of her cologne, which is Dire Cricket, by Pharmsupply.
I'm here to take you away. It's... you know that's my mother, right?
Lloyd nods, slack-mouthed.
Well she never wanted to hurt you. Only that you'd understand. To stop being such a shit.
Lloyd stares up into Jan's shadowed eyes, at the impossible sparkling there.
She wants... and it's not really up for discussion, you know? She wants to take us through The Crack.