Now that I was following my little guide through the pipes with only a crystal light to guide me, I was no longer afraid of being lost under the streets. We walked for a mile or more, then stopped. “Here, above you, is the home where your woman lives.” Woman? I thought. What woman? He took me through a doorway that led to a ladder, where we came to a manhole. I climbed up. With one hand he gestured that I should push it up. I discovered that manholes are incredibly heavy, especially when you are pushing with one hand and holding on to a rickety metal ladder with the other.

When I was able to raise the manhole an inch or two, I looked out: there was the house with a 1962 Buick Imperial in the driveway and debris piled in the yard. It was unquestionably the home of the young woman I had met on the train.

A car came down the street; I let the manhole cover down hurriedly and it bumped me on the head. “Ow!” I hurried down the ladder again.

“Come,” said Farkus. He took me on a much longer journey: we went to the home of the blond-haired girl I used to date. We went to a wooded place by the river: “This is where the dark ones lived, the ones that lived here before you,” he said. “They never cut any roots.” We got on a car and took the upside-down train to my grandmother’s house in the city.

“How do you find your way around?” I asked him. “Do you have a map?”

“It is here,” he said, pointing to his head, his huge eyes looking up at me like those of a Basset hound.

“How do you know that all these places are important to me?”

He looked down and shook his head. “You do not ask the right questions. You are too young. You do not understand.”

“What is it you’re trying to show me?”

“All are connected. All are here. You worry that you will not find us. You destroy the roots to try to find us. You do not have to find us. We are here already. Here.”

He reached up and tapped me on the forehead. “Here. You are here,” I said stupidly.

“Yes. Everything. Stop looking and you will find what you seek,” he said. He waved his arms, which bumped against the sides of the car in which we were riding.

We passed other Rootweavers, who glared at me as we went by. I heard them mutter the word Rootcutter as I went by. Apparently this term was a high insult to the people under the ground.

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