As usual, mousing over non-English text will reveal a translation.
(The story begins here.)
(The last recap is here.)
The first two weeks were the worst. Both Darren and Lassiter had roving habits, while Dr. Fleming preferred to stay at home—alone. But they couldn’t leave Lassiter on his own, and the fact that they lacked a fourth person to make two groups of two effectively confined them to the doctor’s lab regardless. Lassiter claimed to have seen Shafer lurking around, but Dr. Fleming said he was merely being paranoid. Darren thought he saw a short man on one occasion, but he didn’t think it was either Shafer or a member of Mantong’s group. Dr. Fleming suggested settling the matter by putting up a sign inviting any hidden watchers in for tea.
As the third week arrived, the thought of finally resolving the question of the full moon and just getting on with life buoyed them somewhat. Darren considered trying to summon up the priest again, but he didn’t want to risk getting someone else instead. The door was better left as shut as possible.
However, as the moon waxed, Dr. Fleming began watching Lassiter more closely, which was not well received. “Do you feel anything?” he asked one night as the moon looked especially large, just a few days before it would be full.
“No. I never felt anything unusual until the full moon rose.”
The doctor turned away, muttering, but Lassiter casually looked out the window—not up at the moon, but toward the ground, which was already well lighted by the pale, cold orb. “Darren, come quick!” he called stiffly. As Darren approached, followed closely by Dr. Fleming, Lassiter continued, “Just Darren. It’s Shafer again, and I don’t want him to know I’ve seen him.”
“I don’t know why not,” Darren said. “From what I’ve seen of him, Victor’s plan to put out an invitation to tea would probably work.” Still, Darren meandered over to Lassiter and strained his peripheral vision. “I think there is someone out there, but I’m not sure it’s Shafer.”
“Who else could it be? The height and build are right; it’s not stocky enough for Mantong’s people, and I can’t think of anyone else who fits the description.”
“Neither can I, but this man is furtive; Shafer isn’t. You have secured the place, haven’t you, Victor?”
“Not only secured, but defended with some painfully discouraging traps. I hope it is Shafer, and he’s in an inquisitive mood. I am in dormose mood, and I intend to indulge it. Shutter the window when you’re through gawking.”
With that, the doctor retired to his room. He swiftly changed his clothes, but the pajamas he chose, though comfortable, could also take a fair amount of abuse, and his robe and shoes were handy in case he needed to spring out of bed and into action. Then he lay down and shut his eyes.
Unlike many people of that time, Dr. Fleming never wore a sleep mask; he deplored sensory deprivation of any kind. He did have the window shuttered, however, and the only light source was from the door he had left cracked open.
So when a steady light shone in his face, he at first assumed the door had come further open. He could have slept anyway, but a wide-open door implied unacceptable potential noise. He opened his eyes and found the light came not from an open door but a full moon shining down on the ground where he was lying. He knew what or whom he would see when he looked at the hilltop, but he could not help looking anyway.
“Yo ha venit por te, amico,” the dark woman said.
“This is a dream,” the doctor stated, trying desperately to believe it.
“To ne fa nequo,” she replied. “Tu desir ha advocat me, e tu va sequer me.”
Dr. Fleming found himself standing up, and he knew walking toward her was next. He could think of only one chance: by a supreme effort of will, he drew his gun and fired.
1 year ago