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Timmy hears things that no one else hears. Is he going crazy or is there something out there? If something is out there why doesn't anyone else hear it?

All work herein is Copyrighted and may not be distributed or published without the prior consent of the author. Copyright 2006, 2007. Kim Bentz. All rights reserved.

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Kim Bentz, Writer and Photographer, living in Viriginia (Washington, D.C. metro area). Graduate of Colorado Springs Christian School, Student at American Military University. Government contractor by day. 

Kim lives with her husband of 30+ years, nearly 2000 books, a great collection of jazz records, and thousands of photographs taken all over.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Chapter Thirty-Two

Magda followed Benedict up the stairs into his suite. The room was dark, as the night had fallen without their noticing. Lights flickered then turned on at the touch of the switch. Sinking deep into the sofa, they faced each other. Magda tucked her feet beneath her skirt up on the sofa.

“Okay, what is it?”

“I’m sure I heard a duck. It was deep, but it seemed like it wasn’t just a duck. You didn’t hear it?”

“No. Is it significant?”

“I don’t know. I can’t figure out what I really heard or what it means. Now that I found it, I will be studying it.” He sighed and leaned back.

“Were they always this fragmented?”

Magda laughed. “Always? They’re doing well, right now. You’ve spent so much time at the North Pole you haven’t been around them.”

They sat in companionable silence for a while.

“Sam will be here tomorrow.” He broke the silence.

“Do you suppose we should try again with her?” Magda waited, intent on his reply.

He paused, not wanting to answer without careful deliberation. Finally he spoke. Pain wove through his strained voice. “I think it’s too late, but if you want to spend some time with her and tell me what you think, I would like to hear it.”

“Okay. Back to Timmy. I think we should select a few people to be around him, and maybe even bring his family here for a time. We need to prevent what happened today, so I think we need to team up mature listers with older students who can assist them. We need teams of three, and I think you and I need to be there as much as possible, watching and listening.”

Magda nodded as he went on, “I particularly want you to listen for what I heard. It is buried, but I think it is significant.”

Magda hugged herself tightly. “Why is it so cold in here?”

Benedict looked around with a puzzled expression on his face. “I guess I hadn’t noticed. Let me light the fire.”

After a few minutes a fire was burning brightly and crackling merrily on the grate. Magda settled herself on a chair pulled close to the fire. Leaning her chin on the arm of the chair, she stared deeply into the fire.

“It’s been a long time Benny.”

There was no answer. Benedict settled into another chair and both sat for a while staring into the fire.

“Is something else going on here?” Magda’s voice broke the silence.

He looked at her in puzzlement. “What do you mean?”

“It sounds kind of nuts…but do you think someone is working against us?”

Her expression was too serious for him to take her question lightly. He leaned back into the chair, considering the question.

“What makes you ask that?”

“Oh, I don’t know. It just seems odd that we are having such a hard time getting through to him. He seems to be fine when I’m with him, starting to come out of it, but then when I come back…” her voice trailed off into silence.

“What are you thinking?”

“I don’t know. It’s probably nothing, but what if something is going on outside of Timmy?”

“Like what?”

“I don’t know, I’m just speaking my fear out loud. Sounds dumb when I say it.”

“Actually, I’m not so sure.” He looked at her seriously. “I’m not saying there is something else happening here, but what if there were?” He thought for a moment. “I want to talk to Gerard and the professor about this.”

After sending for them with a carefully worded invitation designed not to raise anyone’s interest or suspicion, he called the kitchen for some food and wine. “We need to eat, and I want this to look like a friendly evening, not a private pow-wow.”

“…and he said he vas just svimming.” The professor finished a story that had the two men laughing when they came in the room.

“B-r-r-r.” Gerard mock shivered. “Do you miss the frozen north so much you had to bring it with you?”

The group talked for a bit, though the professor gave Benedict and Magda a coolly-assessing, watchful look, and Gerard kept sending puzzled silent questions to his wife which she casually, smilingly ignored.

After a few minutes, the sound of footsteps on the stairs alerted them to the presence of two students carrying trays of meats, cheeses, pickled crabapples, fruit and a basket with plates and flatware. They were followed by the heavily limping gait and smiling face of Edna, bearing a basket of wine and glasses, which she readily handed over to Benedict who rushed to take it from her.

“You should not be carrying such a heavy load up these stairs!” he chided her.

“Psshh. The day has not yet come that I can’t climb these steps, young man.” She nodded toward the two students, their curious eyes looking from beneath matching sets of curly brown hair. “Ken and Kyle here are not to be carrying wine about the place until they get a bit older, wouldn’t you say?” She smiled at them. “Off you go.” She shooed them back down the stairs with a teasing flip of her apron. They raced down the stairs in mock terror, pausing to flash a grin over their shoulders before disappearing from view. “Ah, they’re good boys.”

She quickly went about setting up the food on a side table, pulling a corkscrew from her pocket for the wine, she handed it ceremoniously to the professor, who took it with a smile.

“Bill is bringing up another load of firewood shortly, as the boiler for this tower quit working this afternoon and he cannot get the part he needs until tomorrow.”

Ben smiled at the older woman and gestured her to take a seat close to the fire. “If Bill is coming, that’ll make it a party for sure!”

Edna made as if to stand and go, but Benedict wouldn’t hear of it. “Sit right there and put your feet up,” he ordered as the professor placed a footstool in front of her chair. With a happy sigh, she did as instructed and put her feet on the stool and settled back into the comfortable chair.

Magda poured a glass of wine for herself and for Edna before seating herself back down before the fireplace.

After Bill arrived, carrying a very large armload of firewood, he joined them, surprised but obviously pleased to be invited.

When all had prepared plates and had a glass of wine in hand, a companionable silence fell. Benedict quietly closed the door with a snap which brought all eyes to his face, which had grown serious once again.

“I must ask you all to remain as calm as can be and to cloak your songs in merriment and mirth as much as possible, for what we need to discuss must not leave this room.” No one dared laugh at his term, but he heard Bill repeat “Merriment and mirth?” with rolled eyes.

Benedict laughed. “Is that what I said? I only mean that I want you to deliberately put out a cheerful, party type song out so that anyone who might listen in would not get suspicious.”

“Uh, Ben?” Bill’s hand went in the air as if he were a student.

“Yes, Bill.”

“Well, three of us aren’t Listers and can’t do anything like that.”

“Magda, Gerard and I will take care of that for you, but it will help if you will be as cheerful as possible and stay as positive as you can.”

The three non-listers nodded.

“I’m afraid someone is working against us with Timmy,” he began in a somber voice.

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