pApers foun""“d',

Sean Yen

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The following files were found in an abandoned office building in Ovine Loc 87. One of the cleanup crew found a thumb drive on a desk during their preliminary inspections prior to the building’s demolition.

The archive was collectively called “pApers foun""“d',” according to a text file stored alongside the archive. The stories in the file were reportedly discovered by a sheep rummaging through a cabinet—the specific methods were not made clear—and then entered into the database of the company that owned the building. Evidently, the sheep accountant had difficulties using the human English keyboard, resulting in the odd formatting and characters.

The crew sent the flash drive to the local library, who forwarded it to the Official Governing Group of Ovine Loc 87. Despite the stories being written in English, the local government posted an announcement in Ovinish on the Ovine Loc’s public bulletin wall asking for their author. Reasonably, the government received no response within three business days, so the works were put into the public domain in hopes that their author could be identified by other beings in the world.

Nonetheless, due to strict guidelines set by the Department of Ovine English Terms, because the archive itself is considered an ovine work, its name must preserve its casing, spelling, specific Unicode codepoints, and bold/italic formatting. Thus, this site will aim to respect these terms and hopes others will too. Please note that the first two quotation marks and the apostrophe are ambidextrous, while the third quotation mark is an opening/left double quotation mark.

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Reflection letter

Dear Ms. Wilson,

Coming into this class, since I had many worldbuilding ideas, I wanted to be able to present them with a story. The stories I wrote in sixth grade dragged on for too long without any ending and character development, and I wanted to learn how I could improve on that in this class. Now, I am armed with the knowledge of the defining characteristics of stories, and I’m now more familiar with the process of forming one. I knew making a satisfying ending for my stories wouldn’t be easy, but this class has allowed me to practice making endings, and although there is still room for improvement, I think I will get it in the future. Learning about the importance of scenes in writing was also quite helpful. From the course goals, I’ve grown most greatly in discovering how I can access interesting ideas through freewriting, and I’ve also become more familiar with the frustrations of the writing class and overcoming them. I am most proud of developing the skill of describing scenes, and I discovered that starting a story with a scene is usually more interesting than with a description.

My journals reveal that I was already excited by freewriting when the semester began because I can spill out all the thoughts that are locked in my head and have them physically in front of me when I am searching for ideas. When the school closed due to the coronavirus, however, I found it hard to stay motivated in maintaining a daily journal I had created. I believe that my main source of motivation is having someone to write to; I subconsciously feel no need to write if I don’t believe anyone will read it. I highly doubt this letter would have been more than a paragraph long if it wasn’t addressed to anyone. I had many opportunities to figure out what the best times are for me for writing during the closure; sometimes, it seems like writing and ideas flow smoothly for me at a certain time, but writing at the same time on the following day immediately disproves the hypothesis. This is to be expected though; I doubt my ease of writing is solely dependent on the time of the day.

I generally dislike reflecting on myself when I write; the line between self-deprecation and self-aggrandizement is thin, and my interpretation skews away from the latter. However, my writing has revealed to me that, in addition to sheep, careless aristocratic governments and levitation are common themes. I also evidently enjoy trying to incorporate many random details into a single story, such as from the specific detail or the card characters activity; I think it is because this leads to more bizarre but interesting characters and stories.

Saluting the People’s Flag of Northeast Narnia wasn’t particularly important to me, but it is my favourite piece because its world is interesting and bizarre, and I think the mix of different literary styles was rather clever. Its ending was also tolerable in quality. I only regret its length, which has discouraged my friends from giving feedback on it.

I’ve also learned about the importance of positive feedback. It may seem useless on the surface level because it pushes away or dilutes actionable negative feedback, but positive feedback helps encourage the writer to continue with their piece and highlights exemplary areas that the writer does not need to focus on. The feedback that helped me the most was about the parts of my piece that confused the reader. With this feedback, I was able to clarify moments in my story; for example, in my piece about sheep, one peer reviewer noted that it was hard to tell whether a character was a human or a sheep, so I focused on making the distinction as clear as I could throughout the piece.

The most memorable moments in our class were the collaborative moments when we passed card characters and creatures around the classroom and developed story ideas together. In the future, I could freewrite specific scenes that could be in a story when I have a story idea. I’ll likely continue employing creativity for my programming projects, but I would also like to write some stories with my newly developed skills over the summer; maybe there’ll be a rewritten version of my sixth grade Minecraft story?

Saluting the People’s Flag of Northeast Narnia,
Sean Yen

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I think so, that is, we have Ms. Vernesty on Wednesday.

Non-fiction: Slice of life

Ka-bam! We hear the door to our physics classroom forced open. The long-awaited ceremonious grand opening has come. Ms. Vernesty, dressed today in pink yoga attire, props the door open and eyes us over her pink glasses as she struts back inside.

I am usually one of the first people to dare to enter Ms. Vernesty’s premises because the others prefer minimizing their exposure to her. When I enter, Ms. Vernesty has already returned to her stool, idling on her computer. The other students file in individually and head to their assigned seats. White two-person tables covered in pencil markings and eraser bits are pushed together forming table groups surrounded by small pink chairs, which are disconnected from the desks, a rarity in our school. Unoccupied black lab tables are arranged in rows in the back, and the teacher stands behind a long black lab bench that also serves as a desk, covered in notebooks, miscellaneous papers, and other fun memorabilia from the other teacher who co-uses the classroom. A projector screen is pulled down over sliding whiteboards on the wall, and windows face outside the school showing cars endlessly zooming by.

The bell rings. Ms. Vernesty stands up and with her clear voice declares, “Good afternoon, students.” She points a controller with intense precision at the projector, turning it on. She then makes the first of many reminders to put our phones in the phone holder, then switches to the warm-up slide of her slide presentation. Peering at her computer screen, she reads the problem off the slides, then faces us expectantly.

Our table group produces a whiteboard from under our tables, and we messily work out the problem while trying to recall what we have learned in the previous class. Vernesty paces around, scrutinizing the activities at each table. Whenever someone—namely, Kai—is caught visiting a different table, she calls out, “Kai, please return to your seat.”

With our whiteboard now colourfully decorated in numbers and formulas, Ms. Vernesty decides to join our group. She plomps herself in a seat beside me and examines our work, comparing it with the work in her notebook. “I do not have the answer to this problem,” she admits, referring to the warm-up answers typically left by the other teacher in the presentation notes. She gestures to her notebook. “I, that is, did this problem before school started.” She appears dissatisfied upon finding that our answers do not match, but we convince her that her answer is merely in an alternative form. She rearranges the variables in her head, then promptly pats the whiteboard, approving it with an “Okay.” Now satisfied, she ambles up to the front of the room. Her voice pierces through the classroom, and the ambient chatter calms to silence.

She produces her trusty Expo marker pen and rapidly solves the problem on the whiteboard beside her projected presentation, scribbling equations and citing numerous principles, equations, and theorems to justify her derivations. Most of the class is lost after her first equation, but fortunately, our group’s answer has already been accepted by her divine wisdom.

Afterwards, Ms. Vernesty taps on her keyboard. Her arm moves like a frog’s tongue as it snatches the space key. She tilts her head up proudly and glances under her glasses at the screen, recalling what she has to say. She then paces around.

“What is torque?” she asks rhetorically to the class, with the same words repeated on the slides. She pauses as if she expects the class to answer, but before anyone can muster up the courage, she answers herself. “It is a twisting force that causes rotation.” Her posh, non-rhotic accent makes the word sound like “tog.” Then, she deviates from her slide presentation to her preferred mode of lecturing: the whiteboard. She paints it in barely legible variables, right angles, and curved arrows, explaining examples and force diagrams involving torque. Occasionally, she pauses to dramatically face the students; her eyes reveal a bored expression. Upon finishing her explanations, she continues to the next slide, which repeats all the information she just stated, so just as the students begin copying down the slide, she skips to the slide after.

“Ms. Vernesty, can you go back?” a student calls out. Nodding, Ms. Vernesty returns to the previous slide and stares at her screen for half a minute before resuming her lecture.

Halfway through, Kai’s table group unexpectedly breaks into laughter. Ms. Vernesty immediately turns towards them.

“Kai, please go to the back,” she orders. Kai asks why. “You were laughing,” she reasons. “You are, that is, distracting your table.” Under the influence of her grand power, Kai marches to the tables in the back and sits on a stool, isolated from the rest of the class. Ms. Vernesty continues her lecture as if nothing has happened.

To conclude her lecture for the day, Ms. Vernesty clicks to the next slide. “Do workbook pages 134 to 135, 137 to 138, and 168 to 170,” she reads. “Please do,” she repeats forcefully to emphasize her instruction. By her command, we automatically crowd around the cabinet in which our AP workbooks, mixed with those from other classes, are stacked haphazardly on top of each other. Members from some tables all go to pick out their notebooks from the haystack, while others offer to get the books for the rest of their group. Despite the lack of organization, everyone manages to start working within a few minutes.

While we puzzle through the workbook’s ambiguous wording, Ms. Vernesty again idles at her computer, this time in a standing stance. At times, she shakes her head in frustration, carelessly tossing and flinging her messy ponytail from side to side. Other times, she glances up from her laptop and scans the room, commanding students back to their seats and phones to their pockets. Occasionally, courageous students approach Vernesty with questions.

Kai approaches Ms. Vernesty with his workbook in hand. She looks up and smiles at him, bracing herself for a bombardment of questions.

“Ms. Vernesty, what does this question mean here?” he asks. Ms. Vernesty slobbers over her fingers for better grip and forcefully flips the pages back and forth, reading the problem set for context. Now familiar with the problem, she reads the question out loud to him word for word, then pauses, looking at him expectantly. Upon receiving no immediate reaction from Kai, she restates the question in different words, but Kai remains confused. After several more attempts, she grows impatient and slaps Kai’s workbook away. “Go, do it now,” she says, smiling, and sends him back to his seat.

Ms. Vernesty then squints at the clock and realizes the end of the day is approaching. “All right class,” she declares, her voice again piercing through the air. “You may pack up now.” She reminds everyone to stack the equation sheets and marker boxes at the centre of the table and put the chairs up.

We pack up more quickly than she anticipated, so while we crowd near the door waiting for the bell, some students sneak out the door while Ms. Vernesty is talking with a student. Ms. Vernesty’s supernatural senses kick in, and she is immediately alerted to the students’ sudden absence. She goes to the crowd gathered near the door to guard the exit and begins her interrogations.

“Who just left?” she asks several students, but each one denies knowing who had left. She scans the classroom, mentally iterating through the roll sheet. The bell sounds, so Ms. Vernesty stands by the door, allowing her students to leave with graceful motions of her arm.

Already in the parking lot, Kai is able to drive away in his Tesla before the traffic.

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Saluting the People’s Flag of Northeast Narnia

Fiction piece: Alternative universe

The following government document contains classified information. Such information is not to be released without authorization. All salute the People’s Flag of Northeast Narnia.

Corusent Lark

Veteran of the People’s Free Navy of Northeast Narnia
Preferred form of address: Commander Lark

Mr. Lark comes from a wealthy family of yacht sellers who has notably always tried to side with the current leaders in politics[1] which has allowed them to stay unprosecuted throughout the People’s Republic of Northeast Narnia’s ever-changing politics. He now serves his family by also selling yachts. During his free time, he is often observed reclining on his lounge chair out on the deck of his personal yacht, reading the latest issue of the National People’s Times, and drinking from a cup of grape soda kept full by his servants.

[1] Currently the People’s Free Party, which is funded majorly by the family’s yacht profits.

Opposition Party On The Rise

NEW PEOPLE’S CITY — The People’s Democratic Party (PDP), a minority political party in our national government, continues to rapidly gain widespread support throughout Northeast Narnia, especially in the barbaric southern regions. The PDP is currently the largest opposition party to the People’s Free Party (PFP) and is under the strong financial influence of a family of immigrants from East Narnia. The family, headed by Leuf Munkler, profits from cruise sales internationally, including East Narnia, the Northeastern Narnian Islands, and recently the People’s Republic of Northeast Narnia. The PDP has recently been promoting its advertising campaign throughout the nation, but they have made multiple false claims about the government which our federal agencies have recently disproved. Our independent newspaper would like to remind our readers, whom we know to be intelligent and informed citizens, to doubt and distrust false rumours about the PDP, and notify local law enforcement of people involved in this disinformation movement. Indeed, photos have been taken of misinformed citizens from southern cities entering complimentary cruise ship rides offered by the PDP as part of their campaign. CONTINUED ON PAGE 10

Twenty-seventh day of Argose’s Cycle, Year 283

To all members of the Lark family,

The daily polls yesterday have shown a 10% jump in support for the Democratic Party, and it is still increasing rapidly as I write. A rival political party only brings political instability, economic failure for the country, a threat to our family and the country’s safety, and a risk to our company’s profits. I call for immediate action from all Larks and request a meeting this Thursday at our headquarters in New People’s City.

Saluting the People’s Flag of Northeast Narnia,
Heldephere Lark
Head of the Lark Family Yacht Company.

Thirtieth day of Argose’s Cycle, Year 283

Dear Commander Corusent Lark,

After careful consideration of your request, taking into account the feasibility of your request, our current political situation, and your offered financial compensation, we are thrilled to grant you permission to borrow one of our retired battleships indefinitely and offer guidance on restoring it to what you called in your letter “a part-battleship part-luxury yacht.” Please schedule an appointment with me sometime this week so we can discuss more options for the “top military technology” you specified.

Saluting the People’s Flag of Northeast Narnia,
General Anquen Lorriou
Supreme Head of the People’s Free Navy of Northeast Narnia.



ARG. 34, 283 — Fitted appropriately for the occasion, the great Commander Lark stood proudly last night on the bow end of his newly repurposed ship, The People’s Yacht. To either side, weaponized yachts followed behind him forming a V shape. Ahead, they had spotted a lone cruise ship drifting in the ocean waters with its bright yellow lights inside shining out of its windows like a frozen explosion of sparks. All lights on board the yachts had been strategically turned off to blend in with the darkness of the cloudy night.

With a short red signalling flare on the aft end of The People’s Yacht, the lateral yachts broke off from their V formation, silently cutting through the water, circling around the cruise ship. After Commander Lark felt comfortable with their arrangement, he yanked out his speaker horn from his holster. Everyone on board his yacht instinctively covered their ears when they saw this, and as Commander Lark began speaking, the sound blast was reportedly indistinguishable from an earthquake.

“May I have your attention, please! May I have your attention, please!” he shrieked into the microphone. “Your nautical vehicle has been deemed suspicious by the government of the People’s Republic of Northeast Narnia—after all, you can’t call yourself a man without a yacht. Please remain calm and do not resist as we tow your ship to shore to detain you indefinitely.”

The ship feebly resisted. Spotting a large enough gap between the yachts, the ship suddenly accelerated at an unprecedented rate, drenching the yachts in seawater as it spun around. The commotion on board was chaotic, even from afar: passengers on board screamed and crashed into each other and furniture. Plates shattered on the floor as the ship started tilting at a steeper angle.

However, the yachts were faster. The People’s Yacht shot a torpedo at the rudders of the ship while the other yachts moved in front of and around the ship, preventing its escape. To assert dominance, The People’s Yacht also fired into the ship’s windows with its machine gun. Commander Lark himself complemented this by lifting his arms, forming right angles with his body. Finally, a large white flag was hastily flung over the railing on one side, indicating their surrender. The soldiers in the yachts cheered, and they victoriously led the captured cruise ship towards the ports of New Aldenbreau.

Lorienne Vutanie is a writer and journalist for The Independent Times.

Argos 34, 283

Dear Mr. Leuf Munkler,

I am writing to you now from the Holinois Prison in New Aldenbreau, Northeast Narnia, less than three kilometres from the East Narnian border. I sit before a large window facing the Northeast Narnian coast where our cruise ship now lies under the control of the Northeast Narnian authorities after an unfortunate turn of events the night before.

Our ship had been cruising safely, more than several kilometres from the disputed waters between our country and Northeast Narnia. At least that was what we believed, for we were soon intercepted by the Northeast Narnian Navy armed with missiles and guns. We were forced to surrender, and upon docking, we were all promptly detained. One of their generals told us of their intent to convert our cruise into a yacht. It seems that this is not an isolated incident either; several other East Narnian cruise ships are lined up covered in construction scaffolding along the dock. There’s a stream of people being forced out of one as I write.

I request that you investigate this sudden act of aggression and seek to somehow have our cruises returned.

Captain Argein L. Gutensloch

Munkler Family Cruise Ships Co. v. Lark Family Yacht Co.

Contents in this court record are confidential and should not be released without prior authorization.

The Munkler Family Cruise Ships Company had sued the Lark Family Yacht Company on the thirty-fifth day of Argose’s Cycle, year 283, and the case was raised to the national courts on the thirty-sixth day of that Cycle.

People’s Supreme Court Justices:

  • Chief Justice Mark Go
  • Justice Orisene Heleon
  • Justice Guruso Varenteie

Plaintiff: Leuf Munkler of Munkler Family Cruise Ships Company
Defendant: Corusent Lark of Lark Family Yacht Company

Place: New People’s City
Date: Thirty-seventh day of Argose’s Cycle, year 283

The hearing begins with the People’s Just Gong being hit, a custom in many Northeastern Narnian cultures. As the loud ring fades, the three People’s Supreme Court Justices of Northeast Narnia march into the courtroom in a single file towards their assigned seats. Synchronously, they all face the large portrait of the People’s President George Erningstein at the opposite end of the room and salute. The two side Justices sit down while the Chief Justice in the middle remains standing.

GO: Today, on the thirty-seventh day of Argose’s Cycle, year 283, we present the case between the Munkler Family Cruise Ships Company, represented by Leuf Munkler, and the Lark Family Yacht Company, represented by Corusent Lark. Per Article 6 of the People’s National Constitution, all people and companies are guaranteed the right to a free trial. As is the norm, we will let the plaintiff present their case for sixty seconds, and then we will allow the defendant to speak for sixty seconds. Afterwards, we will present our decision within 24 hours.

The Chief Justice sits down, and a buzzer rings with a green light lighting up in front of the plaintiffs’ section of the room, indicating that it is their turn to speak. Leuf Munkler, president of the Munkler Family Cruise Ships Company, steps on the podium to the microphone. He is dressed formally in a tie and has messy grey hair and a large bushy mustache framing his face. He speaks slowly and awkwardly in his thick East Narnian accent.

MUNKLER: We believe that the unsolicited capture of our products is a clear instance of theft and should not be tolerated. We also believe that the unauthorized modification of our products is in violation of anti-tampering laws in your country. And, it should be obvious to you his unethical intentions: his eyes are red and black, the colours of evil!

The buzzer sounds, marking the end of his allotted sixty-second interval. Mr. Munkler sighs and leaves the podium. The buzzer then sounds in front of Commander Lark.

Commander Lark begins by facing the portrait of President Erningstein and saluting, holding his salute for a full ten seconds, during which the Justices nod, impressed. He scratches his head, surrounding himself in a cloud of dandruff.

LARK: You can’t call yourself a man without a yacht.

He smiles at the Justices, and they nodded back. He returns to his seat. ADDENDUM FROM MOU. 5, 284: Later investigations reveal he knew that the Justices, as members elected by the PFP and paid by his family’s company, had already sided with him.

HELEON: Is that all, Mr. Lark?

LARK: Yes.

The Justices stand up together and file out of the room.

Seemingly preparing for a long wait, shuffling and murmurs can be heard on the other side of the room as they pull out their entertainment devices and blankets to sleep on. However, almost as soon as the Justices have left, the Justices begin to file back in.

The People’s Just Gong is hit once more, and Justices salute the portrait of President Erningstein.

GO: The People’s Supreme Court has determined that the defendant’s actions have not been unlawful. The plaintiff will be fined fifteen thousand pounds for court fees. Case dismissed.

An uproar immediately arises from the plaintiff’s side of the courtroom, but they are immediately silenced by guards and led out of the room. Chief Justice Go is seen approaching Commander Lark personally but forgets to mute his microphone.

GO: We will expect extra payment for this decision.

Commander Lark shrugs and makes an inaudible remark before leaving the room.

New Legislation Promoting Domestic Products

NEW PEOPLE’S CITY — On the second day of Mounion’s Cycle, only a few hours after the Mounion’s Cycle celebrations, the People’s National Democratic Representative Legislature convened and unanimously passed Proposition 783. The bill chiefly prohibits the purchase of foreign products such as cruise ships, but it also announces lowered yacht fares to attract more passengers for intercity yacht rides. In addition, heavy tariffs have been placed on most East Narnia imports to support local industries. CONTINUED ON PAGE 34

Commander Lark sat comfortably in his air-conditioned office, sipping from a celebratory cup of grape soda. Opposite him, a large board was affixed to the wall with his favourite catchphrase written in traditional Northeast Narnian script by a professional calligrapher: “You can’t call yourself a man without a yacht.” Outside, his nephews screamed as they played and splashed around in his on-deck pool; their parents were in a company meeting downstairs.

Lark twirled a pen around in his fingers, contemplating his recent successes against the PDP. About a dozen dropped pens littered the ground beside him. Of course, he believed all his acts were undoubtedly justifiable; his father, with his infinite wisdom, had told him to always treat himself first, for as a member of the hardworking Lark family, he deserved the respect and higher treatment.

Someone else was in his yacht, but Lark was completely oblivious to it. The hallway was surprisingly empty and unguarded. As Commander Lark rested his head on the back of his chair and closed his eyes, dropping his final pen, the door opened slowly and soundlessly, and someone slipped inside. As he thought, a doubt started forming in his mind about his recent actions.

Suddenly, it hit him.


Leuf Munkler Proclaimed New Supreme Representative of Northeast Narnia

NEW ALDENBREAU / MOU. 5, 283 — This morning, Supreme Representative Leuf Munkler stood before a roaring crowd in the central plaza of New Aldenbreau, the new capital of Northeast Narnia. He held up a hand, and the crowd quickly hushed.

“Today, we lament the loss of the late Commander Corusent Lark and his family after the mysterious disappearance of their yacht three days ago,” he proclaimed. “Although we may not agree on certain issues, their contributions to our country cannot be forgotten.” He continues, “Since the dissolution of the Free Party, we, the People’s Democratic Party, announce a new representative government by the people, for the people.” The crowd erupted, chanting PDP, PDP. Supreme Representative Munkler held up a hand once more, silencing the crowd. “Today marks the first day of a new era: an era of new individual freedoms, a truly independent, uncensored press, the guarantee of human rights, economic prosperity, lowered poverty and unemployment rates.” He listed several more promises guaranteeing change to further attract the support of Northeast Narnians in the south.

None of them would ever be implemented.

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Short story

It was an otherwise normal day, interrupted by panicked shouts for help. Istinipheous Phage, a businessman from the local finances office dressed formally in a black dress shirt and bright red tie, clutched his large, brown suitcase close to his chest as he ran away from a tall, ghost-like figure.

The pursuer was another businessman, similarly in formal attire: he wore a grey fedora and had sunglasses over his eyes. However, his skin was inhumanly yellow, his arms hung limp on his sides, and he was suspended a metre into the air, casting a shadow underneath him. Levitating facilitated the chase: he could simply glide over the puddles from last night’s rain, and he could effortlessly rise above traffic while Istinipheous hastily dodged cars, edging near death every second.

None of the bystanders around Istinipheous bothered to help him. It would be poor judgement to attempt to aid one’s escape from a floating businessman, and no one wanted to be publicly shamed for being a criminal accomplice since earlier that day, carrying suitcases had been declared illegal.

Of course, Istinipheous could easily render the chase unnecessary by dropping his suitcase. However, he held a certain affection towards his suitcase, as it had once been one of his prized possessions, and he didn’t want to risk losing it again.

Despite the heated situation, he remained calm and clear-headed. He frequently glanced back, eying the businessman. Running under an overpass, he saw the being behind him drifting over it instead. A hypothesis began forming in his head.

As a former taxi driver, he knew the location of a nearby tunnel that allowed pedestrians across the busy street above it. He entered it, and glancing back, the floating businessman was nowhere to be seen.

The walls had been echoing happy chattering about the latest legalizations by the city—red paint, ice cream, and taxis—but it died away as Istinipheous stopped inside to catch his breath, casting cursory glances around him at the other passersby, who watched him wide-eyed as he examined his suitcase. Ever since the floating businessmen began toying with the city and its legal structure, people had to rely on gossip to stay up to date with the law. Nonetheless, Istinipheous’s deception seemed to have worked: the businessman hovered above the street, waiting for Istinipheous to leave. His spot was temporary—the police would come for him soon—but he had time to spare, so he took a quick lunch break and brainstormed an ideal stopping point from his mental map of the city.

With his pineapple and ham sandwich consumed, he took off back towards the end where he entered. Now, the tunnel was eerily devoid of people; the only sound was his heavy breathing ricocheting off the walls and the roar of the vehicles above. He wasn’t sure if the floating businessman would supernaturally know his location, but when he came out, he saw the floating businessman floating by the other end of the tunnel. He was a few steps ahead, albeit not by much, for the businessman immediately sensed his exit and resumed his chase.

With a route memorized, he slipped by pedestrians and cars as he ran across sidewalks and streets. He kept a constant watch on the levitating businessman, who popped in and out in the crowd.

His destination was within view: an abandoned parking garage, sporting 27 floors of parking space. Despite its disuse, it was well maintained and thus well guarded. Nonetheless, Istinipheous immediately identified a side entrance: the emergency fire exit staircases scaling up the wall. In the final stretch, he could see that the guards were actively patrolling the main entrance, but the stairs were largely neglected. Upon reaching the stairs, he leaped upwards, grasping the bars of the stairs, and pulled himself up onto the second floor. The levitating businessman quickly followed and zoomed to the top of the parking garage, hopelessly awaiting Istinipheous’s exit above.

Now relatively safe in the empty parking space, he placed his suitcase on the ground and stepped back. In an instant, the suitcase vanished, and in its place was Istinipheous’s beloved taxi, returning from the days of freedom in the past. With tremendous emotion, he hopped in the driver’s seat, seeing again the photos of his wife and children. Now that taxis were legal again, he was now free to drive away from the cursed city and back to where he hoped his family would be, still waiting for him.