Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dark World: The Homing Signal

“That’s Darren’s signal,” Dr. Fleming told Lassiter. “Our new friend is somewhere just outside. All going well, he will give up and go home, and Darren can track him. Then we can pay him a visit. I hope he’ll be in a talkative mood.”

“Why doesn’t Darren grab him here and save us a trip?” Lassiter asked.

“First, because the quarry will be on his guard here and thus will be harder to catch. Second, there may be items of interest wherever he’s staying, and I’ll want to examine them.”

“And third, he may have friends who will be watching for him.”

“Unlikely. I admit, however, that I’d like to know in advance whether he really is Edward Henry. That would tell me a lot—and puzzle me even more.”

“Who is Edward Henry?”

“He was a weasel desperately trying to be a successful quack, armed with several unorthodox ideas and a perverse desire to turn them to his advantage. I always suspected his medical degree was a fake, which is why I never called him ‘doctor.’ I knew him briefly when I was making my first discoveries some years ago and a relative of one of his patients called me in to undo some damage. He left town in a hurry, and I didn’t see him again for some years. I almost didn’t recognize him when I did: he had undergone several physical changes, to say nothing of changing his name. But the changes hadn’t gone nearly as far as they have since, and close scrutiny enabled me to identify him. He admitted the truth, though not happily, but I decided to let bygones be bygones, especially as he seemed to have reformed. He still had the same bizarre ideas, but he had somehow made them work—at least for himself. And he was beginning to have some undeniable success with some other people—cases no one else could cure.”

“He sounds like Dr. Newman. Is that how you met him—through Henry?”

“In a manner of speaking,” Dr. Fleming replied, turning away to gaze out the window into the gloom. “I mentioned a name change. When we met the second time, Edward Henry called himself Dr. Adam Newman.”

Another ding.

“And that means Darren is ready for us to follow him and his quarry.”

Next: At Loose Ends

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