Bonus page this week!

I’m particularly fond of the sound effects in today’s comic. Like many of you, I’m sure, I grew up reading Bill Watterson’s fine Calvin & Hobbes. (I’m looking for any excuse to put birch trees into Eleanor’s story, just so I can try to draw them the way he did.) I remember a particularly fine Texas day, taking a fifth-grade field trip with my classmates to the Johnson Space Center. My classmates were busy leaning out of the open bus windows, finger-snapping quarters at passing cars on the highway, while my friend and I hungrily devoured a backpack full of Calvin & Hobbes collections.

The sound of Eleanor hissing through space-time, in other words, is inspired by the memory of Hobbes, describing the fireworks-like sounds of autumn. My fifth-grade self remembers the actual words differently, but here is the strip that I mean.

Back to Eleanor.

What you’re looking at is the final moment of a conversation that will haunt Eleanor for the rest of her life.

She feels like a guest being thrown out of the party for insulting the host. Her body is dragged down at sudden, enormous speed. She flails her arms uselessly; her fingers knife through the colors like water now. The pulse of light moves so rapidly now that the colors blur into one guttural band of white. Eleanor is desperate to stop her fall, shoves her arms and shoulders into the colors, tries bracing her feet against them, but she falls only ever faster. She feels as heavy as granite.

I have more questions! she thinks fiercely.

She is afraid.

There comes the brush of lips against the skin of her cheek, and then she comes to a startling stop.

She will dream time and time and time again of her terrible fall into the sea. And for the rest of her life, she will strain to hear the voice speak to her again. But will it?

Enjoy the extra page this week! And don’t be greedy — share with your friends!