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Sept. 26 – Word from Inside

As they came toward the gate, they saw Mr. Wright standing guard, while behind him, Lisa was approaching the gate with a bag of trash for the rag-and-bone man. “Good day, Mr. Davis, Lisa,” Bookworm called, as Tepic waved to Lisa.

The girl looked at Mr. Davis. “Is it all right if I come out for a little?”

He nodded. “I don’t see anyone who’ll cause harm.”

She opened the gate and went straight to Bookworm, stepping urgently. “I just talked to Freya.”

“You did? Did you get anywhere with her?” Bookworm had asked the girl to try talking with Freya, in the hopes that the fox would connect better with someone who wasn’t an authority figure. And, more especially, wasn’t the one who had put her in the asylum in the first place.

“A little. She’s… not happy about being here.”

Bookworm sighed. “I know. But there really isn’t anywhere else I could take her.”

“Nowhere as safe as behind these walls,” Mr. Wright put in, “and no guard as vigilant.”

“Yep,” added Tepic. “Been workin’ at it fer *months* an’ ain’t found a way in… yet…”

Bookworm turned an admonishing eye on the fox. “Tepic, you’re not supposed to be doing that.”

“I weren’t supposed ter *get* in.” His gaze was completely innocent, and didn’t fool her a bit. “An’ I ain’t been able to, so that’s all right.”

Mr. Wright chuckled. “Me and my friends used to do the same sort of thing, growing up. Broke into a Union army supply depot once and drank a bottle of whiskey. When the colonel in charge caught us, well, he joined in.”

Lisa, who had been shifting from foot to foot impatiently, broke in. “She’s still very focused on her family, and trying to get them all back together. Just like the rest of them. But she does also want to help us. At least somewhat.”

“What do you mean, Lisa?” asked Bookworm.

“She said Prometheus will be back, and he’ll attack with dynamite, or even something worse.”

“Ha!” Tepic was scornful. “Miss Beatrixe made that place. Dynamite ain’t got a chance, an’ I should know!”

“What about nitroglycerin? I’ve seen that take down a mountainside.” Mr. Wright stroked his chin thoughtfully.

“And it could still cause a lot of collateral damage, Tepic,” Bookworm added.

“Dunno about the collaterals, but no real worries. The Militia HQ ain’t here no more.”

“No, but other people *are* here.” Bookworm couldn’t help but smile a bit.

“There’s one more thing she told me. Something you really need to hear,” urged Lisa. “She wouldn’t – or couldn’t – tell me what their weakness is. But she *did* say that we should have torches and kerosene ready.”

Mr. Wright’s ears perked up at that. “Sounds like fire. If you can spray ‘em down with kerosene, then we can ignite ‘em.”

“I suppose that makes sense,” Bookworm mused. “Maybe thorough burning is the only way to prevent them from healing. Not that I *want* to do that…” She sighed, then caught Tepic looking at her like she was mad. “I don’t like killing *anyone*, Tepic.”

“Them as ain’t gonna be stopped elsewise, yer best knockin’ ‘em off sharpish,” he replied stoutly.

“Did Freya say anything else?” Mr. Wright asked Lisa. “Like where the attack would come from?”

“No, she didn’t say anything about where or when.” The maid looked around a bit nervously. “I should go back inside, I think.”

Bookworm nodded. “Lisa, can you let Mr. Canergak or Professor Vartanian know that I want to talk to them soon? Tepic had a good idea about trying to use Myn’s blood to save Beryl.”

Lisa’s expression was a combination of confusion and hope as she replied, “Yes, Captain. I”ll tell them.” She scurried back across the courtyard.

“Who’s this Myn?” asked Mr. Wright curiously.

“Myn is another patient in the asylum. She’s… like Beryl.” Bookworm hoped that Mr. Wright wouldn’t ask anything more specific about her. “I’m hoping a blood transfusion from her might save Beryl’s life.” She looked at the haze in the west, where the sun was lowering. “I should get back to the hospital, in case Dr. Sonnerstein comes there.”

Tepic nodded. “Best I get back ter the Vole.”

They each departed, taking their shared hopes with them.

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