Following a clue that states, “Everything ends at the beginning,” Violet and her best friend, Iris, locate another hidden message, this time carved into a cornerstone of the Willey Envelope factory which claims: “Time can be fixed. Seek the music.” The next day, Violet rushes out to The Void, believing that the clue refers to the strange, repetitive music The Void seems to be emitting and interviews Dr. Amodeus Harrington-Willey. She learns about the spiral-model of time, in which certain questions, certain events recur again and again.
Riding home, she spots a strange figure in a golden spacesuit standing behind Tanner Pratt’s house and wonders about the figure’s connection to the ongoing disappearances in town.
Days later, Violet has a strange encounter when the stereo in her living room begins to play certain songs, one after the other. Believing it to be a message from her deceased mother, Violet is unsure how to proceed until she receives a second series of songs on her phone. Hurrying to her father’s music store, Bookman’s Music, she learns how her parents met and discovers the deep sense of loss her father has also been facing. While there, she listens to a song her father’s band recorded in the 1990s and finds another clue from her mother, urging her to: “go to the place where everything changed for me.”
Meanwhile, Officer Ron struggles with the many changes occurring in his personal life: from his uncertain relationship with Ms. Holly Peterson–who has begun applying to teaching jobs in other parts of Ohio–to his daughter, Lindsay,–who seems to be growing up much too fast–to his son, Gary–who seems to prefer the company of technology over human friends. Even Judah Towns, a young ex-convict who Ron has befriended and who informs Ron about the existence of Spotify, seems to reinforce the feeling that everything Ron has known and has loved is susceptible to change.
After spending time at her dad’s music store, Violet finally finds the courage to ask her dad about her mother and discovers that her mom used to hang out at a cavern in the woods nicknamed the Ghost Gap as a teenager. Violet explores the Ghost Gap and thinks she spots the strange purple light creature before it disappears. Searching the cavern, she finds an old lockbox containing photos of her mother as a teen and a newspaper article from the high school paper written by her mother.
What might this latest clue from Violet’s mom mean? How does it connect to the appearance of the golden figure? And who else in town might be in search of the source of the hidden music?