Several different versions of history are overlapping, and Braxiatel is experiencing all of them at once. He tries to focus on a version of reality in which the Collection is intact and his staff are all still alive, but discovers that he’s got the wrong one when Wolsey, still alive, brings him a “gift” of a dead mouse. Braxiatel follows the cat into the gardens to kill it and put history right, but Wolsey unexpectedly speaks to him, and Doggles catches the two of them talking. The cat tells Braxiatel that one of them must die, and provokes him into killing Doggles by reminding him that Benny is the Cahlian’s lover in another timeline. Wolsey then retreats, and Braxiatel is forced to concoct an alibi. The next day, Bev is found dead in the fountain; Adrian confesses to killing her in a fit of jealousy after catching her with another lover, and then collapses with a splitting migraine and falls into a coma. However, this reminds Jason of the migraines he’s recently suffered; suspicious, he visits Braxiatel, but the mortally injured Doggles slips out of the shadows as they talk and accuses Braxiatel of trying to kill him. Braxiatel beats in Jason’s head with the nearby Purpura Pawn before Jason can reveal the truth about him, but Wolsey has seen it all and threatens to tell Bernice. Braxiatel chases the cat to Benny’s home and crushes its skull beneath his foot, telling the horrified Benny that this is for everyone’s own good. But before he dies, Wolsey reveals that he’s done all this as a last gift for his beloved mistress -- because even after history returns to normal, some part of Benny will still remember the truth about Braxiatel...
- Bernice Summerfield
- Irving Braxiatel
- Bev Tarrant
- Adrian Wall
- Jason Kane
- Doctor Wt'hlm
- Jess Carter commits suicide in this alternate timeline.
- Braxiatel beats Jason to death with the Purpura Pawn.
- Parasiel is briefly mentioned being bored.
- Peter is the only one besides Braxiatel who knows that Wolsey is supposed to be dead.
- Like most of the other stories in this anthology, this story takes place in an altered timeline created by Doggles' history machine; these timelines are (mostly) erased when Braxiatel returns things to normal.
- This is the only other story besides Oh No It Isn't! in which Wolsey speaks, although this takes place in an alternate timeline and the cat's speech is likely Braxiatel's hallucination.
- This story marks the first appearance of Doctor Wt'hlm.