Voting for episode 3 ended October 11th, 2013. The majority of readers voted: The goat man becomes Abby’s lover.
Just now, the goat-man was grinning from the forest. Just now, he was here: behind Abby, before her, above her, around her, within her. She filled with orange, he filled with red, they began to fill with a third color, something next. He spoke within her, like Ball but in a different tone—a high tenor, so high it was almost her voice but definitely, seductively male. As he sang, he tapped one hoof. “In silence are seven sounds for you and me. With the applestick we can make three.” He took the applestick from Abby. She now saw that the stick had three holes on its top surface and that as he blew into one end and, with a finger, covered the hole closest his mouth, a note sounded. He covered a second hole and produced a second, higher sound; and covered a third to produce a third. “Now close your eyes.” Again, he fit the melody on the applestick to the next verse of his song: “Where the brook breaks into the lake Tumbled by rocks is a round white stone. See it now. Bring it now.” Abby opened her eyes. A white stone was on the white boulder. “In white are seven colors for you and me. With the applestick we can make three.’ He bent down over two small hollows in the boulder and blew orange into one and red into the other. “Us.” Into a slit at the end of the applestick, he wedged hairs plucked from his beard. Dipping it into red, he painted her image on the boulder and dipping it into orange, he painted himself with her. They were making impossible love. Rinsing the brush in the lake, he bent over a third hollow in the boulder. “And baby makes three. Your second gift. Look. The third color. Yellow.“ A deep alto rumbled among the apple trees. Abby heard wood splintering. With a great splash, three trees fell into the lake. A tall, heavily-muscled woman stood on the lake’s bank. She wore yellow armor and carried a large, bloody animal on one of her broad shoulders. She wore its skin. “Greetings, mother. I bring gifts.” Abby knelt by the edge of the boulder, cupped water into her hands, and splashed it on her face. “What the what?”