“All done, Morgan,” he heard his mother say. “We had a good long talk, but she’s gone home now. I invited them for dinner next week.”
Stunned, he turned at the sound of her voice. “Them?”
“Yes. Irene and Baxter.”
For dinner? Morgan felt like he’d been hit with a two-by-four. He struggled to speak, but nothing came out except an inarticulate splutter.
Just then Mavis caught sight of Grandma. “My goodness, Wilma!” she exclaimed. “I’m surprised to see you up!”
She hurried into the room, the breath of her perfume wafting over Morgan as she passed. Crossing to the rocker beside the hearth, she laid a gentle hand on Grandma’s shoulder and leaned down to get a better look at her face. “Are you feeling better?” she asked.
“Better?” The old lady frowned and swung around to face the wall. “Not much! Just wait till you’re my age. You don’t know the first thing about aches and pains.”
Mavis smoothed Grandma’s hair and adjusted her afghan.
“Chicken broth,” Grandma said briefly.
“As soon as I can,” Mavis answered with a patient smile. “I had an unexpected visitor this afternoon, so I’m a little late getting dinner, and—”
She was interrupted by a commotion at the front door—first a rapid pounding, then a frantic jiggling of the handle. Morgan looked at Mavis. Mavis stared back.
“I’ll go and see who it is?” she said, stepping out into the hallway. “You wait here with your Grandma.”
She hurried to the door. Fishing another cookie out of his pocket, Morgan glanced sheepishly in Grandma’s direction and took a small bite.
“I saw a woman,” he heard her faintly say.
She blew her nose and glared at him fiercely. “A woman!”
“Morgan!” His mother’s voice again. She was coming rapidly back down the hallway, calling as she came. It sounded as if someone was following close behind. He made a move to find out who it was, but Wilma caught hold of his sleeve.
“A woman. In purple and scarlet. Decked with gold and gems and pearls.”
He shook his arm free. “What woman?”
Grandma nodded. “Scarlet and purple. And eyes like I never seen before. Green. Green and glowing. Like a cat’s.”
Green eyes? Morgan caught his breath and stumbled back, colliding heavily with his mother who was at that moment rushing in from the hall. She caught him in her arms. He in turn shot her questioning glance. By way of answer, she nodded back over her shoulder. Behind her stood George Ariello and the Reverend Peter Alcuin.
“What’s the matter with you George?” said Morgan, trying to force a laugh. “Now you’re the one who looks like he’s seen a ghost!”
Rev. Alcuin was solemn as an undertaker. “I’m afraid we’ve had some very bad news,” he said, his eyes fixed on George’s face, which was pale and working with emotion. “From Moira.”
A strange and foreboding coldness crept up Morgan’s spine as he searched the minister’s face,
“It’s Eny. She’s disappeared.”
* * * * *