Beatrice, Kerans, and Dr. Bodkin walk the streets a half hour later. Strangeman and his crew dart off ahead, some of the crew chanting "Mistah Bones" at Kerans. Bodkin mutters that he hopes Strangeman finds something that will satisfy him as they watch the group charge through the streets. After several hours of wandering, Kerans and Bodkin walk to Beatrice's apartment building before continuing their tour.
The characters are truly walking through the bones of a once-great city, as it's devoid of the human residents that gave it life before the floods and the aquatic animals gave it life underwater. Further, if Strangeman is only looking to loot, he won't be returning life to the city—he'll just be depriving it some of its more beautiful “bones.”
Kerans notices some of the silt, which creates the dams around the lagoon, piled up on the streets. Kerans, Beatrice, and Bodkin approach the planetarium. Kerans is almost afraid to approach it. When they reach its doors, Kerans peers in cautiously. The floors are covered in thick mud, and Kerans thinks it now looks more like a sewer than a womb. He says that the magic is gone.
The water was the only thing that made the planetarium appear womb-like, which reinforces the amniotic, life-giving qualities of the water. This in turn reinforces the way Kerans sees the city as lifeless now that the water is gone. In Kerans’s mind, the water was a vehicle for change.
On their way back, the group gets lost and stumbles upon a small caiman. It pursues them onto an open street. Beatrice slips as the angry caiman approaches, but Strangeman appears with the Admiral and Big Caesar and shoots it. Strangeman pulls an algae-covered rhinestone necklace out of his pocket and offers it to Beatrice. He fastens it around her neck and rushes off again.
Strangeman's offering shows that he'd like to use these forgotten treasures to bring Beatrice to his side. However, rhinestones are a manmade stone, unlike real diamonds, which are made by the earth. This detail shows again that Strangeman values the manmade over the natural.
Over the next several days, Kerans feels increasingly disoriented. He wanders at night, unable to escape the memories of the lagoon but entranced by the empty city. He realizes that the lagoon was essential to his neuronic journey, and begins to feel like he's lost in the time sea. The beating in his mind is almost loud enough to mask the sounds of looting and shots fired by Strangeman's crew. Kerans doesn't try to return to the Ritz, as he finds it safer to remain close to Strangeman.
Kerans finds himself in a situation that mirrors Bodkin's before the lagoon was drained. Kerans is caught between his lived memories and the new world before him, and it's becoming apparent that the two worlds cannot truly exist together. Further, the dreams and the distant past almost seem to be protecting Kerans by masking the sounds of the shots—or, alternately, blurring his perception of reality.
Kerans visits Bodkin after a few days, and Bodkin seems similarly distraught and isolated. He can't remember Beatrice's name, but tells Kerans to take her away to another lagoon. Kerans tells Bodkin he's right, but insists that he can't bring himself to leave yet. Bodkin says ominously that time doesn't exist in the lagoon now.
The city surely isn't what Bodkin remembers, which suggests that draining the lagoon hasn't truly allowed him to revisit his memories. The draining of the lagoon, then, leaves Bodkin completely stranded in time: he doesn't have the watery lagoon as a reminder of his ancient memories, nor does he have the London of his past.
Strangeman's crew discovers a shop full of eveningwear preserved in airtight tins, and they all dress in tuxedoes and bowties. Strangeman is only interested in art objects and soon identifies a museum, but is disappointed when he finds it empty except for a single mosaic. Strangeman's lack of success makes Kerans nervous. He tries to warn Bodkin, but finds that Bodkin has abandoned his hideout in the testing station. Beatrice spends her days in a reverie similar to the one that consumes Kerans, but joins Strangeman in the evenings. He drapes her in jewelry and tiaras, and though he seems to respect her, he also seems to dislike her. Kerans asks Beatrice if she saw Bodkin before he left, but she replies by asking Kerans how many suns he thinks are drumming.
London isn't able to satisfy either Bodkin or Strangeman, as it doesn't contain the treasures that either desires. The clothing and jewels that the crew and Beatrice wear create the effect that this all a show or a performance—one that places humans above the natural world. It seems that Kerans is drifting farther away each day from his friends, which is signified by Bodkin’s sudden unreachability and Beatrice’s answer the Kerans’s question (which is not really an answer at all).
One night, Strangeman confides in Kerans that his crew fears him because they think he's dead. Strangeman laughs, and when Big Caesar approaches wearing an alligator head, he encourages Big Caesar to sing "The Ballad of Mistah Bones" to Kerans. Big Caesar does, dancing and gesturing wildly. Suddenly, Strangeman interrupts him and points at the wall of the lagoon, where Bodkin can be seen carrying a small box with a fizzling wire—a bomb. Strangeman sends the Admiral and Big Caesar to stop Bodkin from exploding the dam. Everyone except for Kerans and Beatrice runs after them. Kerans watches Bodkin leave the bomb in the middle of a dam and then make his way back.
Bodkin's bomb is an attempt to return the lagoon to its watery state and bury the recent past again. This is proof that Bodkin's memories of the city weren't enough for him. He's willing to die to recreate the watery future he sees in his dreams. It’s worth noting that Bodkin’s behavior is, from an outside perspective, entirely irrational—since the city is much more hospitable to life when it’s drained than when it’s a lagoon. However, Bodkin’s neuronic dreams have made him prize nature over civilization.
Kerans finally runs after Strangeman's crew and watches Strangeman kick the bomb into the neighboring lagoon. The crew then chases after Bodkin, and Kerans can hear shots being fired. He wanders back to Beatrice and hears footsteps behind him. Strangeman, Big Caesar, and the Admiral are there, and the rest of the crew fans out behind them. Strangeman says that Bodkin was stupid, and that he can't trust "mad biologists."
Bodkin’s attempt to destroy the dam that keeps water out of the city has made Strangeman and his crew suspicious of Kerans, too—since Bodkin and Kerans seem to be losing their minds in similar ways. Strangeman’s distrust of Kerans indicates that perhaps Kerans himself will try to destroy the dam.
Beatrice throws herself at Strangeman and promises that she and Kerans won't hurt him. She tears her jewels off, throws them to him, and asks him to leave them alone. Strangeman is about to gesture for Big Caesar when a tremor moves through his cheek. He can't control the tremor for a moment but when he gains control, he nods at Beatrice. The crew abruptly descends upon Kerans. Kerans tries to evade them, but someone shoves a cushion in his mouth and begins to drum on the back of his neck.
The uncontrollable tremor shows that Strangeman isn't entirely in control over natural occurrences and processes, since his body is, at times, beyond his control. However, he is still in control of the people around him. The beating on Kerans's neck mimics the pulsing sun of his dreams, which suggests that what's to come is something entirely outside Kerans's control.