They began to come upon from time to time small cairns of rock by the roadside. They were signs in gypsy language, lost patterans. The first he'd seen in some while, common in the north, leading out of the looted and exhausted cities, hopeless messages to loved ones lost and dead. By then all stores of food had given out and murder was everywhere upon the land. The world soon to be largely populated by men who would eat your children in front of your eyes and the cities themselves held by cores of blackened looters who tunneled among the ruins and crawled from the rubble white of tooth and eye carrying charred and anonymous tins of food in nylon nets like shoppers in the commissaries of hell. [. . . ]Out on the roads the pilgrims sank down and fell over and died and the bleak and shrouded earth went trundling past the sun and returned again as trackless and as unremarked as the path of any nameless sisterworld in the ancient dark beyond. (250.1)
Standing at the edge of a winter field among rough men. The boy's age. A little older. Watching while they opened up the rocky hillside ground with pick and mattock and brought to light a great bolus of serpents perhaps a hundred in number. Collected there for a common warmth. The dull tubes of them beginning to move sluggishly in the cold hard light. Like the bowels of some great beast exposed to the day. The men poured gasoline on them and burned them alive, having no remedy for evil but only for the image of it as they conceived it to be. The burning snakes twisted horribly and some crawled burning across the floor of the grotto to illuminate its darker recesses. As they were mute there were no screams of pain and the men watched them burn and writhe and blacken in just such silence themselves and they disbanded in silence in the winter dusk each with his own thoughts to go home to their suppers. (261.1)
[The Boy:] Do you remember that little boy, Papa?
[The Man:] Yes. I remember him.
[The Boy:] Do you think that he's all right that little boy?
[The Man:] Oh yes. I think he's all right.
[The Boy:] Do you think he was lost?
[The Man:] No. I dont think he was lost.
[The Boy:] I'm scared that he was lost.
[The Man:] I think he's all right.
[The Boy:] But who will find him if he's lost? Who will find the little boy?
[The Man:] Goodness will find the little boy. It always has. It will again. (384.1-384.10)