Those lonely roads are lonely indeed. They’re cold, winding, and as long as a piece of string sailing down a stream unseen. There’s such a stream that flows through the veins of this town, mainly underground, but sometimes over, too. It’s home to all kinds of rubbish that spends its time floating around without so much as a reason why. Where it reveals itself to the sky is one of Gretchen’s favourite places to visit, on account that nobody else goes there. On its shore a stone’s throw from a shopping arcade, it allows her to be part of life while safely at arm’s length. During the summer, she spends hour after hour throwing sticks at the choppy surface with the sun on her face like the flower she is. From pieces of string to soda cans to shoes and traffic cones, objects bob in the water far removed from the lives to which they were once tethered. The history of those lives is known only to them, and yet, it’s still tangible, like the light of long-dead stars. As she rests on her belly with blue paint on her teeth beneath a blinking fluorescent light, she too is one of these objects—out of place and out of time—yet existing all the same. Lifting herself up, she scuttles around on her hands and feet like the girl in The Exorcist darting down the stairs with blood in her mouth. It’s decidedly freaky, and if someone sees her, she’s liable to give them a heart attack. She doesn’t much care, however. At least I won’t have to look at any more of their shit paintings, she says to herself and no one else. Zigzagging around leaving handprints on the paint-splattered floor, she moves along the corridors sniffing out the hidden scent of alcohol awaiting her filthy lips.