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Maddox’s and Bookworm’s faces both fell. “Arnold, it’s Maddox. Do you remember? You’re my f– You’re my best friend.”
Arnold just looked at them blankly, and then nodded to Momoe and to Mrs. Prichard. “They tell me that’s my name.” He paused for a moment to study Maddox intently. “You… do look… a little familiar, but I don’t know who you are.”
“You will,” she assured him, softly. “Don’t worry, it will come to you…. I’m so happy that you’re awake!”
“Yes, that’s the important thing,” Bookworm agreed.
“I have an important question to ask you. Is Id still with you?” He just looked at her, confused, and asked who Id was. She sighed heavily. “Never mind that right now, I suppose. How do you feel?”
His head hurt, but he felt fine otherwise, he assured them. Maddox continued, trying to help him in his time of need. “Miss Book is the nice woman who lent you her home to stay in until danger was past.”
Arnold felt a grimace cross his face. “I’m not sure….”
“I know. It’s a lot to take in at once. Don’t worry. Miss Foxhouse did say your memory would come back relatively soon.” At yet another look of confusion from her familiar she waved her hand. “I met her recently. She helped me see the light on a few subjects and she said with everything that’s happened, it would take a bit for you to regain your memory.”
Momoe quietly added, “I read somewhere once, that some personal objects and smells can help recover memory…”
It was true that Arnold had never been in Mariah’s room, so Bookworm looked at Dr. Maddox. “Do you think more familiar surroundings would help?”
“It is possible,” Maddox said expertly. She had studied this kind of injury, and though it had hit close to home, she was starting to remember what they should do for the patient. “As long as that damnable bird is no longer a threat, I’d be fine with moving him back.”
Bookworm assured her once again, “I’m quite sure Aessesser is gone.”
“I wish I could be as sure about Henri… but Henri is harmless by now. He has no bird to roam around in.”
Bookworm smiled grimly. “He can still do much without a body.”
“I will talk to Kristos about that soon,” Maddox promised as Miss Prichard was sent to the new hospital for a wheelchair. “As well as Miss Foxhouse. Don’t you worry….and thank you for letting him stay.”
Momoe nodded as she sat back down in the chair. “Thank you for letting me stay over too, Ms. Bookworm.”
Bookworm nodded. “Mariah will be glad to get her bedroom back, though,” she said with a hint of a laugh.
Welcome quiet had descended on the asylum. Even the inmates were silent, as if they’d been stunned by the events taking place above them and the drifting laughter of the Metier spirit. Miss Hienrichs had stopped by and told Lisa briefly what had happened. She seemed quite glad that the raven, at least, was gone, and so was Lisa. Once everyone had left, she had let her cat friends out, thanking them for their willingness to help, then went back upstairs to continue sitting with Dr. Solsen, who had managed to sleep through the whole thing.
She was half-dozing in the chair by Dr. Solsen’s bed when a nearby step snapped her to full alertness. She looked up in time to see Mr. Canergak step into the doorway. Scrambling out of the chair, she bobbed a curtsy. “Sir.”
At his gesture, she followed him into the outer room of Dr. Solsen’s suite. “What do you know about the commotion upstairs in the bell tower?” he asked her.
She looked at him steadily, trying to figure out how much he knew of recent events. “It was a trap, sir. For the raven that was threatening many, including Arnold. It was done with Dr. Lionheart’s approval,” she hurriedly added, wondering if that was the problem.
But he waved that away impatiently. “I already knew what they were trying to do. Do you know if they caught the specimen?”
‘So that’s the way of it,’ Lisa thought, both amused and disgusted with him. “It was caught, sir. And destroyed.”
Canergak sighed. “That is a shame. Experimentation could have taught us how to better fight them.”
Lisa kept her automatic reaction to the word ‘experiment’ well under wraps, and merely said, “Yes, sir.”
Canergak shrugged. “It is unimportant now. At least it is dead.” He paused, and Lisa thought she saw a light in his metal eye’s that unsettled her. “I have my sights set on a new specimen now.”
Lisa felt her eyes narrow a bit, and quickly schooled her expression. “May I ask who, sir?”
“There was a spirit which passed which possessed a very distinctive laugh. I will be hunting that one I believe. It may be very….enlightening.” He looked at her keenly. “Whatever you learn of it, tell me.”
“I understand, sir.” Lisa’s understanding of the nuances of human language had been growing by leaps and bounds lately. She knew that to say she understood his order didn’t necessarily mean she would obey it–and she rather suspected she would be very selective about anything she told Canergak.
“That is all I require of you at the moment, besides a few letters sent to City Hall.” He handed a bundle of letters to her and went downstairs; Lisa followed close behind.
((To be continued…))