Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Dark World: Fool's Errand

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

Dr. Fleming made no comment; he simply followed as Darren left the driveway and headed toward some trees. “Lassiter is still wearing shoes he probably bought in Germany,” Darren said. “Their tracks are rather distinctive if you look at them. He evidently saw something more interesting than anything at the back of the house—the screams and other noises would have ended by the time he got here anyway.”

He stopped suddenly, and Dr. Fleming almost ran into him. “I assumed you would continue your explanation, Victor. What did you find that reveals Dr. FitzHugh’s location?”

“A word—part of a word—scrawled on the back of one page. I think he meant to leave a clue in case something happened, but then he changed his mind. From what I’ve seen of your friend, she would not honor a signed request to stay away.”

“Certainly not now. She is rather headstrong.” Darren resumed his trailing, and Dr. Fleming followed in expository mode.

“So the clue had to be removed by stealth. I suspect the intruder was holding the papers because he was looking for the right one to tear: the word was written in one corner, and he may well have meant only to tear it off and leave the papers themselves behind. The change probably would have gone unnoticed or at least been considered unimportant. But when he was interrupted, he had to act as though he wanted the notes as a whole.”

“And the magic word is?”

“Look for yourself.” The doctor handed him a tiny scrap of paper that read LANTIS.

“‘Atlantis’?” Darren asked.

“I think so. See the faint hint of a crossbar to the left—the top of the T?”

“Yes. And that leads to the question of whether it’s the legendary Atlantis, which might be hard to find, or our Atlantis, which is relatively close by.”

Dr. Fleming began to reply, but just then Lassiter burst upon them. “It is you! You wouldn’t believe…” A glance at their faces deflated his elation, and he asked, “Is she all right?”

“Yes,” Dr. Fleming muttered, “and the fact you didn’t need much prompting to ask keeps me from trying to beat you into a semblance of a gentleman. Where did you go?”

“After a madman—and I think he’d have a lot to tell us if I could get him to talk coherently for a few moments.”

Next: The Madman and Atlantis

[I'll break off here for a few days; the next arc will probably be a bit disturbing, and I thought I'd relate a personal adventure from the last week or so. Also, I do need to get in a few more reviews. I suppose I ought to intersperse reviews and stories.]

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