Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dark World: Open and Shut

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

“I hoped we were through with that whole business,” Dr. Fleming muttered as he shakily rose to his feet.

“I think we were,” Darren said. “Remember what happened at Better Angel? The door wasn’t opening; it was closing. But apparently all the desire to open it again reversed that.” He turned to Dr. FitzHugh and helped him up. “Now do you see where you would be going? It’s an evil place!”

“The Dark Lady there, Nazis here—I see no great difference. Is this world so good—a world where an innocent woman can die for no reason at all? I would have left here years ago if I could.”

“You leave the country, but you always come back. If you go there, you probably couldn’t come back.”

“Enough of this! Mantong, we must begin while the opening is still fresh.”

The elder, who had been hustled outside with the rest of them, began gesturing rhythmically and muttering words Darren couldn’t quite hear. A few men who had attended him followed him to Dr. FitzHugh’s side, though a couple held back and even began edging toward the woods.

“Pathetic,” Dr. Fleming said. “Your friends were going to kill Lassiter, but now they need him to make their getaway. Have a nice chat with the witch.”

Dr. FitzHugh scowled back. “Mantong would not have—”

But Mantong smiled. “Fire die, start fire.”

Dr. FitzHugh turned to him, aghast. “You mean you would have mortally wounded him and then opened the door even as he lay dying? This is…”

His voice died away as his hair moved in a breeze Darren couldn’t feel.

“I suppose I can’t simply drag you away,” Darren said.

“You could try. I believe you would come too. The process has already begun.”

A woman cried, “Father!” They turned and saw Clio running toward them.

“Clio—Daughter—I am sorry to leave you, but—”

“Take me with you!”

“Clio! No!” Darren shouted, reaching for her.

“Then take my hand, Daughter! Come with me!”

She shoved Darren aside with all her might and rushed past him, reaching out her hand to her father’s hand, closing hers over his—but clasping air.

Next: Left Behind

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