This is the third chapter of the Hours audiobook. It focuses on Seth's introduction of their game and the miracle machine.


Early in the morning, Seth walks out the entrance of Bethel Woods orphanage into the woods. He believes he hears Olive. He finds her sitting against a tree, blood draining from her arms. When he reaches out to her she wakes up. Her face is pale and her lips are purple. Seth screams and wakes up.

The prior day Seth had a meeting with his hands, Olive, Fuzz, and Pete, and told them his idea about the miracle machine. Pete and Fuzz accept the idea with enthusiasim, but Olive, whom Seth knows to be a strong person, is afraid. Seth sees Pete comfort her and grows a little jealous.

Seth loved Olive, but he made a promise that he would never care about her romantically. Her finger was broken when some boys with a crush pushed her around. She got him a ring to put on her finger swearing, "I'll never like you forever." He regrets that promise.

Everyone in Bethel Woods gets to choose if they wish adoption or not. Seth wanted it. Pete was so nice he would have been chosen, but felt that he was unwanted by his parents, so he wanted no parents. Seth agreed, and they have never looked back.

After Seth woke from his nightmare, he runs to the janitor's headquarters. There, he tries to circumspectly ask about the wattage charts, gas bill, and levels for the system furnace. As he tries to leave a camera on the wall spins to follow him. Cameras are everywhere, but it's the first he has seen ever move.

Seth later tells his entire class his theory about life and death. Someone is 100% alive, then disease or damage causes them to become 100% dead. For only a few brief moments are they 51% alive, 49% dead. People who are right on the line report seeing strange sights and hearing strange sounds, but then they die shortly after.

Seth's plan is to put a human body on the exact ratio of 50/50, half alive and half dead. a single percent in either direction and the body continues. It has to be held exactly on the line, and then when they're done to bring it back up to more alive than dead.

His classmates don't understand how they will build a machine capable of such a feat, especially since they can't bring anything into the empty gym. Seth patiently explains that it will be built in the medium, and the only need to take something out of the gym. When asked what Seth replies, "Oxygen."


"I've been eating blueberries again." - Olive

"What if there were a way to recreate that scenario, but just flip it. Ride close to the edge in favor of death; turn the ratio to 50/50 but contolled, so that it's equal parts. Just as much dead as alive, and then... and then hold it. Control it. Keep it, sustaining, never teetering in favor of death just blending it. Then pull back out to 51/49 and you're back up and running." - Seth

"Oxygen." -Seth