Saturday, July 24, 2010

Dark World: Friend or Foe?

Owing to an ISP crash, I'm posting almost a day late and back-dating. Sorry. As usual, mousing over a foreign word or phrase will provide a gloss.

(The story begins here.)
(The last recap is here.)

Darren relieved Lassiter at the wheel and brought the company to the grounds of a small mansion outside Boston. The house was not enormous—it was a three-story building (effectively two where it was built partly into a hill) with probably no more than thirty rooms. Still it sat solid as a castle, and the grounds sloped gently down to the common earth around it, including the road where Darren parked.

“We don’t drive inside?” Dr. Fleming inquired from the back as he changed to a seated position and grabbed his pack.

“There’s the little matter of the front gate,” Darren replied. “I’m sure the car could push through it, but we would likely make a better impression by opening it. Besides, we aren’t here as guests—at least not yet—so I see no reason to turn up at the front door like an expedition. I’ll go first; you and Lassiter can follow.”

“That may be a good idea if our bad luck continues and they start shooting,” Lassiter muttered.

Darren smiled. “Nothing to worry about; the professor hasn’t used a blowgun on anyone in ages, and I’m sure his daughter Clio no longer carries her bow and quiver around.”

The other two glanced at him as if to determine how serious he was, but he turned serenely and walked to the gate. It was locked, but he reached through and did something to release it. Then he sauntered through, followed by the others, and Dr. Fletcher pushed it back in place with a click.

The driveway led almost directly to the front door, though it bent slightly with the curvature of the ground. Darren walked up the steps to the door and knocked with a confidence he hoped was believable.

The door opened, revealing a young woman almost Darren’s height, with a strong, plain face completely eclipsed by beautiful, lively eyes. “Darren! Canti!” Her smile flared and faded. “Satya, yu canti lai, ya?

Darren was clearly nonplussed, and Dr. Fleming fumed. “Excellent—gibberish again. I’m beginning to believe in curses.”

Darren scowled and guessed. “Satya.”

The woman smiled—almost laughed—and beckoned as she opened the door wide and said, “Pintu open. Mintan lai.

Darren bowed slightly and entered, followed by his friends.

Next: The Name of the Game

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