to the stars. Spiral Town could have taken that step, and had not. Speckles-shy for a year or less, they'd recovered; but they'd never reached farther.

No more whining about birthrights, then, or what the mainland owed to the towns along the Crab.

Jemmy Bloocher would steal the stars.

When children passed them on the Road, Jeremy gave them festivity. A growing entourage of children followed them through Spiral Town.

'One each,' he told them. They didn't believe him. Maybe they just liked following a man and a woman walking together. It might have struck them-it would have struck young Jemmy Bloocher-as just a bit obscene.

At the gate that led to the graveyard, the children stopped. He gave them another piece each and escorted Harlow through the wrought iron gate.

He saw newer graves marked not with holograms but with blocks of carved stone. The marker gun must have failed.

'People are staring at us,' Harlow said. 'Isn't that dangerous?'

'Nobody's ever going to recognize Jemmy Bloocher talking with a lovely woman.'

'They might tumble if you don't stop acting like you've seen it all before!'

'I'll gawk a little then. How's this?'

He could guess where Carolyn Hope Hearst must be, from the date she'd died. Yes: here she was in the pecan grove, with a fading hologram to mark the trunk.

'Poor woman. The whole train was sick from malnutrition, and she was the one who died. The crops hadn't grown in yet, I guess. Jeremy pulled two thumbs of festivity out of his special pocket along with a smattering of seeds, and offered one to Harlow.

She said, 'Is this respectful?'

'Sure. Collect some nuts too. There are lifegivers under those fruit trees: see the girls eating plums?'

They ate the candy. Seeds fluttered over Carolyn Hope Hearst's grave. Jeremy plucked two handfuls of pecans and pocketed them.

He chose a way out that led past a line of Bloocher graves. He didn't point out the names; he let Harlow discover them.

He noticed a boy and girl watching him, and offered them festivity. If he spoke to the girl she'd run, so he didn't speak to either. They both looked like... well, Bloochers.

So he didn't look up at their mother. She might know him. He watched them eat the festivity, and watched the seeds fall.

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