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A Bad Idea 19

Anne lay in bed, staring up at the white ceiling. The noise coming from the microphone at the Owls’s base filtered in through her microphone receiver, which sat on her bedside table.

Not much had come through. The television had been on, but that had been turned off. A long span of silence was interrupted by David, “I’m worried about Ricky.”

“Don’t be,” Mud said. “Probably got called into space, for something or other.”

“Usually he lets us know when he has to go,” David said.

“Space,” Mud said. “Who the hell knows. I’m more worried about Marja.”

A long silence — so long it made Anna wonder if her transmitter wasn’t working. She’d had to make a lot of modifications to make it work at this long a distance, after all.

Finally, Dave said, “She’ll figure this out. She has to.”

Silence reigned again, which led Anne to fall into a terrible sleep. She dreamed of eldritch creatures with long capes and judging fists. They pummeled her into oblivion, demons intent on doing the right thing.

A ringing sound shattered the dream.

She woke up at noon. As always, she forgot the nightmares of the night before.

The cell phone rang for the eighth time on her bedside table. She picked it up.

“Shade?” Anne said. She could hear the TV from the Owls’s base through her radio transmitter, so she turned it off.

“You have anywhere you have to be today?” Shade asked.

“Class at two,” Anne said, “but the teacher doesn’t take attendance, so no. Why?”

“I’m at your front door.”

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