there’s a gap here, things I have not written yet.
Late evening. The sky was dark. The full moon, partly masked by scudding clouds, illumined the silhouette of an ancient pine. Pickering, alone in his study, worked at his desk, pausing once and again to admire the baleful flicker of the moon’s reflection in his dark and wind-swept lake. Line after line of text marched across the monitor as his latest monograph acquired another chapter.
A window opened in the display, Telzey’s ever-smiling visage in its center. Guten abend, Herr Doktor Professor, she announced. A visitor has entered the west gazebo from unknown direction. At the five-sigma level, it is Miss Eclipse.
“Display visual, west gazebo, full screen.”ordered Pickering. The monograph’s prose was replaced by a television image of the porch. The outside lights were dim, but the cape and silver-white hair left little doubt as to the visitor’s identity. Eclipse was clutching the railing, leaning to support her weight. Slowly, she straightened her back. “Telzey, outside lights \ldots no, cancel, cancel. Outside pinlights, full garden, all on. Kitchen and breakfast room, lights off.” Let us not, though Pickering, alert everyone spying on me to the fact that I have a guest, one about whom they would rather not hear. That’s especially the case when the guest is dead if not buried. Nor let us call their attention to my doors, opening and closing. He skipped down the stairs.
Swinging open the side door, he met a wan, thinner Eclipse. Her smile was visibly forced.
“I came to apologize,”she said. “I promised we’d be gone days and days ago. They went; I didn’t. I would’ve gone, if I could have done it. I just couldn’t.”
“Come in! It’s cold out there. And you don’t owe apologies. Aurora told me what happened. You killed three star demons, and they seemed to have taken you with them. ” He led the unprotesting girl through his kitchen, swaddled her in a comforter, and urged her into a window seat. “The girls were convinced you’d been expanded to incandescent plasma. I could arrange for you to be hospitalized, though local clinical experience with personae is, let us say, limited.”