For a class of people who typically do most of their work by dark of night, this game involved some really early mornings. The sky was still a damp blue grey, that would probably grow into an even damper blank white, when the door received another good knocking.

Jane and Marius were on duty, though Jane still wore her sleep suit. The cowl completely hid her face, so that she might be a druid wannabe, or a more brightly colored member of Mrs. Hillary’s cult if one ignored the way the figured torso flowed into a pair of footed trousers instead of loose skirts.

Speak of the devil, and all that; Jane’s shuffling progress slowed even more when the knocking shifted to kicking. Mrs. Hillary’s screeching penetrated the door easily enough, but if any sense started out within the noise, it stayed outside.

Jane leaned one shoulder against the wall and crossed her arms while Marius perched on the other. It was impolite to leave a caller beating the door unanswered like that, but Jane had no interest in fighting with the woman.  Plus, someone would need a bull horn or maybe a microphone and some high powered amplifiers to be heard over all the noise.

Eventually, the screaming harridan stopped for breath, and Jane got in a few words. “Who in their right minds would open their door and invite that type of temper tantrum into their home? Especially so early.”

As one might expect, Mrs. Hillary’s response was unprintable where it was not incoherent. “If only the Village Council could see her now,” Jane laughed to Marius.

During the next lull, Jane dearly wanted to say, “I hope you realize we will expect you to pay for any damage you do that door,” but she had better things to do than to stand in the hall all day.

Instead she asked, with what tolerant patience she could find before breakfast, “Did you want anything in particular, or is this a new exercise regime you decided to try out on our front porch?”
“Give them back!” Mrs. Hillary demanded, at last.

Jane considered pretending not to know what, or rather who, ‘them’ referred to, just to further irritate the woman, but Jane still had better things to do.

“I don’t have any ‘them’ to give. Your husband and his daughter are not here.” Jane shifted so her back rested against the wall, careful of Marius.

“Don’t give me that!” Mrs. Hillary half shrieked.

“I know they came here after that interfering mongrel drugged me and snuck them out of the house!”

“So they did,” Jane agreed easily, momentarily disarming the would-be intruder. “They did not stay long, however.”

“They have not set foot on the ground outside your house since entering it,” Mrs. Hillary insisted, “and none of my divinations can find any trace of them after entering here.”

“You will just have to take my word that they are not here,” Jane said, and she smiled as she imagined how Mrs. Hillary would react to that.

“Let me in or send them out right now, or I will summon the police!” Mrs. Hillary screamed.

“But you can’t do that, can you? As far as they know, your husband had every right to leave you without notice if he chose. You can’t exactly tell the police that he was only the animated corpse of your husband that served as a cross between your slave and your puppet, can you?

“You can’t even accuse him of kidnapping Lynne. You are only her step-mother, and you never adopted her.

“Now run along home before I report you for disturbing the peace. You have some recalculating to do, unless you want to just chuck in the sponge and take up knitting. Then I could give you some very good patterns.”

Mrs. Hillary took up yelling and kicking again, and Jane left her to it. Before too very long, Mrs. Hillary went away.

As twilight dripped its way into night, a polite, faintly digital voice echoed through Magnar’s private tunnel once again. “I say, is there anyone home within there?”

Maximus trotted through the kitchen to the empty sun room, “Please come through, D/OG. It is rather soggy out there, and there is a good fire going in the living room.”

When both dog forms lay before the blaze, D/OG spoke again. “I thank you for the courtesy. I did not expect to stay, but the warmth is welcome.”

“You are welcome to stay as long as you like,” Maximus assured his guest. “One of the ladies should be down to start dinner soon, and we would be pleased to have you stay,” his soft voice preceded Marius into the room. Magnar hopped in not far behind.

“I only meant to inform you that this planet will have no further troubles from the Crying Seraphim, at least not from those particular Crying Seraphim. My master and his companions have uprooted the last of them and departed,” D/OG said.

“Departed?” Maximus asked. “You mean he has taken his box and moved on?”

“That is correct,” D/OG responded.

“But what about you?” Magnar asked.

“As I informed you upon the occasion of our first encounter, my Master has tasked me with assisting the closers, such as yourselves, in your tasks. I shall be retrieved after month’s end.”

“So, with the Good Doctor vanished from the scene, do you think the remaining players will figure out he was never a player soon?” Magnar asked. He lay with his eyes closed, but one ear turned from person to person, like an elongated radar dish seeking out a signal.

“I certainly hope so,” Marius said with unwonted feeling. “I am thoroughly tired of trying to calculate what silly ideas they have had for the center.”

“Just the one more,” Maximus soothed. “We are almost done.”

Magnar let his ear relax, pinning D/OG with one eye, instead. “You better stay with us, at least until the first. Neither Mr. Yates, nor Mrs. Hillary are going to be safe to be around. They have both suffered too many setbacks of late.”

D/OG started to demur, but the three hard stares aimed his way led him to say, instead, “If your ladies repeat the invitation, I will stay.”

Dinner was very good, as usual. Before the meal was half over, the spot before the fire was ceded to the new resident. Things were coming together.


2 thoughts on “Another Night in the Lonesome October: October 27th

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