Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dark World: New Nemesis or Old

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

“Who's Edward Henry?” Darren whispered. “Not a friend, presumably.”

“Probably not,” Dr. Fleming muttered. “He looks like Edward... But it can't be—not now. I haven't seen him like this for years...” He paused. “He's definitely watching us, though, and that makes him irresistibly interesting to me. I'd rather follow him to see where he goes, but we may be forced to capture him instead. Let's break up the meeting; I'll go out to the car, and Darren can follow. I think he is one of Lassiter's many admirers, so Lassiter and Miss FitzHugh should linger at the table and follow us out after about two minutes.”

Without waiting for a response, he got up from the table and left, paying the bill with a somewhat larger bill and telling the cashier to keep the change. Darren pursued him almost immediately with the air of a man impatient to discuss something, and Lassiter and Clio collected their gear, tidied up the table slightly, and glared after their companions with unfeigned annoyance.

Nonetheless they were evidently in no hurry to leave. Indeed, they seemed to dawdle almost out of spite as they worked their way out of the room. Clio started to leave the building as well, but Lassiter pointed out that she had a room there and it was getting too late for her to wander about outside inconspicuously.

Dr. Fleming entered, interrupting the budding argument. “Come on, Lassiter; we're ready to leave. Miss FitzHugh, I bid you good night. Lock your door and window, and keep your gun handy. We shall call for you at eight.”

Clio scowled but retreated up the stairs, and Lassiter smiled. “She already dislikes you, and you're making it worse.”

“I haven't time to care.”

“You will. She believes in revenge. Just because we had to work together to defeat the Shiny One doesn't excuse you.”

“I'll take my chances. Now let's get out to the car. Darren's waiting.”

Lassiter followed the doctor outside, and he took his usual position in the back. He started briefly when he realized that Darren wasn't all there, but then he settled back as the car set out toward the doctor's lab.

“We can talk, I think,” Dr. Fleming said. “Just not loudly, perhaps. I suspect Edward, or whoever he is, is acting alone.”

“And Darren?”

“Darren has plenty of hunting experience. He's probably a better tracker than you are, and anyway, our new friend seems interested in you, so you can't very well follow him. We'll head for home and make a show of retiring early—I wish I could actually do so, but I'll have to wait. Then we'll see what Darren discovers.”

“I wonder if Rick Shafer knows the guy,” Lassiter mused. “If Darren's right, the two of them were practically taking turns watching us.”

“Kindly refrain from mentioning your lunatic friend. I suppose I owe him my life for bringing you to help me, but I'd rather not think about him just now. I'm likely to have nightmares as it is.”

They made the rest of the trip in silence. The doctor sped up near the end to make sure any pursuers weren't close enough to see them remove the coat and hat that substituted for Darren. They were barely inside when a package the doctor was carrying dinged.

Next: The Homing Signal

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