“My roof?” you ask, but WILL, PETER, and OTTO are already walking out the front door of the DAM BAR. You take a deep breath and follow them into the darkness of LIME SPRINGS.
Outside, the FOG has thickened. A STREETLIGHT flickers.
“Gettin’ pretty LYNCHIAN out here,” mutters WILL, squatting as he digs in a pannier.
“The GRAIN ELEVATOR will be our best bet,” says PETER.
“I was thinking the same thing,” replies WILL, standing up. “Why don’t we bike out there?”
“You can take GARY’s bike!” says OTTO, presenting you with an ’80s FUJI mountain bike with the words “SAND BLASTER” painted on the side.
You mount the bicycle and follow the three CYCLISTS through LIME SPRINGS to the GRAIN ELEVATORS.
“Up we go,” says WILL, dismounting near a LADDER that leads up the side of the GRAIN ELEVATOR.
The four of you climb the LADDER, its rungs chilly and damp from the swirling FOG.
“God. GRAIN ENTRAPMENT has got to be one of the freakiest things,” you hear WILL remark as you climb.
At the top, WILL produces a thin plastic package from his back pocket and hands it to you. “Open this,” he says.
The package features an illustration of a PANDA wearing sunglasses. Through the packaging, you can see the bristles of a toothbrush. You open the package. Indeed, it’s a toothbrush, made of bamboo with bluish green bristles. Etched into the handle are the words “PRAIRIE CLAMOR • THE TOOTHBRUSH.”
“And take this,” adds OTTO, handing you a small white tube whose only markings are the words “MAGIC TOOTHPASTE - GREAT REGULAR FLAVOR.”
You look at the dental hygiene products in your hands, to the swirling fog over LIME SPRINGS, and to the three faces in front of you.
“Is this some kind of joke?” you say.
PETER and WILL exchange another one of their looks. Even OTTO’s face is serious.
“Trust us.” says WILL. “We want you to get home safe. And time is of the essence.” Will glances at his watch, which, conveniently, glows in the dark. “Now, on your way home, you’re going to see... well... you’re going to see some things.” Says WILL, cryptically.
“It’s extremely important that you do everything they tell you to do,” adds PETER.
“...or the CURSE will return,” continues WILL. “We cannot emphasize how important it is to follow the instructions you’ll be given. Now, apply the toothpaste to the brush, start brushing, and get ready to repeat after me.”