It is 1995.
Just inside the Underworld, there’s a toucan-shaped clock. Its beak is a rainbow. It makes a raucous sound. “Your dreams are nothing more than dust,” it says.
It says that every hour, on the hour, except at 6 o’clock pm.
At 6 o’clock, it tells Martin, cleanly and lucidly, “You’re an evil kind of boy.”
He can’t hide from it. Not there.
“I’m letting her suffer,” Martin says. “I think maybe it’s good. I think maybe there’s something she can get from it. But I’m letting her suffer.”
It’s twenty-three hours, fifty-seven minutes, and thirty-eight seconds before he gets to hear it tell him again, “You’re an evil kind of boy.”
He stays there for seven days.
Once, he says, “If I give you Froot Loops, will that make me good?”
He’s timed it right.
“You’re an evil kind of boy,” says the clock.
So he goes downwards.
“Note to self,” Martin says. “Froot Loops morally neutral.”
His footsteps echo in the hallways of the dead.