Bookworm let out a gust of breath, and looked at the others, feeling a bit confused. Kasa looked around warily. “Was that… another like that cougar?”
Nodding in reply, Bookworm gave the others a brief account of what had happened.
“What do they want with Lilith?” Dr. Sonnerstein asked.
“I’m not sure,” said Bookworm, “but I do know she does not want to go with them.”
Kasa brought up the medicine that Lilith took, and how she was comparing it with that the cougar had dropped. Bookworm listened, learning that Dr. Sonnerstein had been working to manage Lilith’s condition, while searching for a solution to the degeneration she suffered without her medication. Kasa told him that the medicine from the cougar was similar, but stronger. What she thought she needed, though, was a blood sample directly from one of the “brothers.”
“No easy task,” commented Bookworm. She glanced back toward the asylum. “Lilith’s in there. We should let her know Prometheus is gone now.” She led them to the door and, stepping inside the foyer, called out, “Lilith?” She noticed that Dr. Sonnerstein held back, grimacing, though Beryl and Kasa followed her in.
The sound of a lock clicking grabbed her attention. She saw the left-hand door open slowly, and Lisa peeked around it. “Is it safe?”
“He’s gone,” Bookworm replied reassuringly, seeing Lilith timidly peeking around the corner. As the two girls entered the foyer, Beryl added, “For now.”
Bookworm grimaced at that. “Well, yes, for now.”
Lilith, still trembling, sat down on one of the benches. “I… I should not have come out of hiding. I have should have stayed hidden. But I needed air…” Her voice rose, still carrying a freight of panic.
“How is she?” Dr. Sonnerstein called through the open front door.
“She’s frightened, understandably,” replied Bookworm.
“Calm down,” Beryl said soothingly. “It’s hot, and this likely to happen.”
Kasa looked back out the door nervously. “I’m going to head back to the hospital. I have a bad feeling…”
“I do, too,” added Beryl. “Be careful out there.”
“Don’t go alone,” Bookworm warned.
Dr. Sonnerstein turned his head toward Kasa. “You think that bear will attack?”
“I do not know,” Kasa replied. “But I am linked to Lilith, and that cougar, if he is around, knows my scent.”
“So does Prometheus,” asid Beryl grimly. “He was the one who broke your tower.”
“If you don’t mind waiting a moment, I’ll accompany you.” The doctor turned his attention to Bookworm. “Ms. Book, have you been keeping track of Lilith’s hiding places, or has that been a total secret?”
“It’s been a secret to me.”
“I know them,” Beryl put in. “But I have been avoiding them on purpose.”
“Ah, good. Beryl, I can give you her medicine to deliver when it’s safe?”
“I have a system to get it to her. I can get it to the start, at the least.”
Dr. Sonnerstein nodded. “I do have some more for her at the house. I’ll give it to you later to get to her. I’m sure she’s running low by now.”
Kasa nodded. “We should get back. If the bear gets upset, who knows who might get hurt?”
Bookworm frowned as she accompanied them back toward the gate. “I hate to let you go without an escort, but I’m not sure I should leave the asylum yet.” Glancing back, she saw Lisa and Lilith standing in the open doorway.
“Not to worry, Book.” The doctor smiled. “I can take care of things.” Putting his arm around the girl’s shoulder, they started back to the hospital.
“Dr. Sonnerstein is capable of protecting Kasa,” Beryl said, pausing at the gate. “He should be at least as able to as Dr. Viper was.” At Bookworm’s raised eyebrow, he added, “He did save Kasa.”
“At the cost of his own life!”
“Yes. Dr. Sonnerstein can manage at least as much.” Suddenly, Beryl stiffened. “Umm… Book. Trouble is here.” Bookworm turned just in time to see the cougar, Kuga, smirk and charge for the open gate.
((To be continued…))