As Colonel Sanders leads Hoshino into the woods behind the shrine, he reveals that he’s not really Colonel Sanders but a formless entity who decided to take on the shape of a capitalist icon. His job is to ensure that time continues to flow normally, and that the boundary between different worlds is maintained. They arrive at a smaller shrine in the woods, and the Colonel instructs Hoshino to open it and remove the entrance stone from inside. Hoshino is reluctant, afraid of transgressing against God by desecrating a shrine. Hoshino points out that God is a pretty flexible concept, anyway, and talks Hoshino into it.
The apparent presence of supernatural forces and boundaries between different worlds in the novel might help explain why so many characters feel unsettled.
Hoshino picks up the entrance stone, which is round and white like Nakata described. It seems to be heavier than it should be. With the Colonel’s help, he lugs it back to the street and takes a taxi back to the hotel. He places the stone next to Nakata’s pillow.
Again, Nakata’s extremely specific and odd prediction proves to be true, heightening the sense that something like fate does exist and Nakata has the ability to predict the future.