Bob also had much to take in. He immediately flew back to the U.S. when he read the news about Sarah. So she had not been kidnapped after all? But surely something extreme had happened to her, or was this weirdness ensuing from the spiritual change that she was already in the process of undergoing at the hands of Donald? And if that was the case, who was Johnny? Perhaps he should not rule out kidnapping after all. Regardless, she was safe now; he would make sure of that. And now Rota Fracta could be destroyed.
"Hello, Bob." The two exchanged a very firm handshake.
"Sarah, I heard you were missing."
"From who did you hear I was missing?" Sarah half-giggled, not sure that she was remembering this question correctly. It sounded so awkward.
Bob was certain that something about Sarah had changed. She was drugged, perhaps. "From Donald."
"So why are you talking to Donald?" Bob noted that she showed no surprise when she said this.
"I'm his manager now."
Sarah laughed. "Isn't that funny?" she asked Johnny, but Johnny wasn't laughing. He was trying to figure out what such a thing signified.
Bob had planned some of this conversation and he went ahead, even though Sarah didn't seem to be fully participating in it. "I know it's odd, but after hearing you talk about him, and after he became so famous, I basically figured he could use my help."
"That makes sense."
Bob considered her answer. She was trying the strategy of agreeing too quickly, before she could really be convinced. There was no time to counter it now, but he would keep it in mind.
"So, Sarah, why are you here? What are you doing?"
"I'm just going with the flow."
"Donald doesn't even know where you are. He's so worried."
"Donald?" she asked. "Oh, I forgot about that." What she meant, of course, is she forgot that Bob would bring up Donald. "Well, I talked to him. But he's still worried about me."
"You did? Why is he worried?"
"You're worried, too. Aren't you? Don't you think I'm strange?"
At this point the reader should remember that these people are standing on a road next to a cemetery in Newark, not because of the symbolism of cemeteries, but because they are surrounded by pilgrims and other tourists, probably some discreet journalists as well, and everything they're saying is being listened to by anyone who's close enough to hear.
"You're not yourself."
"That's right. I'm just my memory."
"What does that mean?"
"I'm not really living. I'm just remembering."
"Sarah, I think you may be drugged."
"No, not any more."
Bob immediately looked at Johnny. "Who is this man?"
"That's Johnny. He kidnapped me."
"I can help you," said Bob. Johnny felt a terrible fear. He was ready to act.
"No, no," said Sarah. "I escaped already."
"Then why is he still with you?"
"He's escorting me. I'm safe now, Bob. I know where I'm going."
"Where are you going?"
"To a birthday party."
Isabel again. Bob felt himself relax. So she was behind this. Of course. She was the big variable here. Not Rota Fracta.
"Why did you kidnap her?" he asked Johnny.
"In service to prophesy."
So Rota Fracta had indeed kidnapped Sarah. And now Isabel had rescued her, or kidnapped her in some more profound way.
"I've got to keep moving, Bob," said Sarah. "And don't worry about Donald. I'm about to talk to him, too." She walked away. Bob felt as though he were anchored to where he stood.
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