“Detour” Chapter 11a in the Panooksa Saga

Idea by Tom Austin                                                         Written by Tom Austin

Revised by Tom Austin

Milly and Brad were at the end of their short stay. After all, it was an unplanned exploratory stay. Their clothes, which had been lived in for three days, were given a thorough wash. Milly’s mother had seen to that.

“No daughter or son of mine is going to travel between dimensions looking like a stray dog.”

And she made sandwiches for the journey. Milly tried to explain to her the entire journey would take ten minutes at most. She tried to explain they didn’t need the sandwiches. It didn’t work.

“I’m a mother, and a mother takes care of her little ones…even if they’re tall.”

The second half of that comment was meant for Brad. If Milly stood in front of him Brad could rest his chin on top of her head. Tyler, Milly’s father, gave Brad strict orders to take care of his daughter.

“Have no fear. That’s something I look forward to doing for the rest of my life. And on behalf of Milly, we are very, very, grateful for the house. Thank you very, very, very much.”

Milly started biting her nails which usually was an indicator that she wanted to say something that could prove to be unpopular.

“Now, I know we’ve got to say goodbye to Merlin. But I was wondering if we could say goodbye to Sirena too.?”

She cringed waiting for an explosion of temper. It never came. Brad thought about the request.

“Alright. But please, and I’m pleading here, don’t lose you’re cool if she plays with my hair.”

Milly frowned and crossed her arms when Brad mentioned the possibility of Sirena playing with his hair.

“No promises.”

Tyler and Tilly watched walked Milly and Brad walk to the road.

“I’m going to miss those two. They made me feel young again, especially when the bed broke. I’m glad a family tradition is being carried on. You have no idea how hard it was keeping a straight face when I mentioned “sexual shenanigans” to Milly.” said Tyler.

Tilly had tears in her eyes.

“I’m so glad we have our daughter back.” “And we finally have a son” added Tyler.

Milly and Brad faced the house and waved till their arms almost fell off. Then came a seemingly endless chorus of “bye”, “thank you”, and of course the almost obligatory “I love you”. Brad handed Milly a handkerchief. With watery eyes, the chorus went quiet. For a moment Milly and Brad simply stood in the middle of the road, and then they vanished. The last thing Tyler and Tilly heard was Milly blowing her nose.

A second passed and they found themselves at Merlin’s house. He was puttering about in his garden. He was wearing lightweight headphones as he watered his garden. The headphones were connected to a gigantic cassette player. They tried yelling up to him but it didn’t work. Merlin simply couldn’t hear them. Then Brad ran towards Merlin’s legs, jumped up, and landed on his pant leg. He tugged really strongly on the legs on Merlin’s pants and he finally got the giant Trolls attention. Merlin looked around near his feet and saw Milly and Brad. Merlin took off the headphones and put them around his neck and looked down.

“Well if it isn’t the perty lady and Brad”.

Milly was about to say something then thought better of it. One name out of two wasn’t bad. They explained they going home, but only for a short time. Merlin put his hand on the ground, and the two of them stood in his palm as Merlin raised his hand to be level with his face. “So you two are going home. Do ya think you’ll come back?” Milly did all the talking. “We’ll be back in about two weeks. Brad asked me to be his wife. We’re going to get married, so the next time you see us you can put both of us in one pocket. Then when we come back we’re going to get married here. We now have a house, and thanks to you I found my mother and father too.”

Milly stopped talking, but Brad nudged her and she said something else. “Brad just reminded me to tell you that when we come back to get re-married the ceremony will be outside so you’re invited! And we’d like you to be the ring bearer. Merlin, can I kiss you?”.

“Gee, nobodies has ever done that before. Is there anything I have to do?”

“Could you raise us up just a little bit further?”

Merlin did as he was asked. When they were level with his bulbous nose Milly planted a kiss on it. Then she hugged his nose. Merlin started to blush. After the hug, Milly said they have to go to Sirena Telford’s house to say goodbye.

“Who is Sirena? Some sort of sorceress?”

Before Milly could explain Brad suddenly spoke up.

“You don’t know how close you are” . Milly shot Brad a dirty look.

Afterward, they teleported to Sirena’s house. Sirena was on the porch when they materialized.

“Oh goody. The brat has come back to play. And she brought the hunk with her. Well, what do you want you pair of dim bulbs.”

“We’re going home, but we’ll be back in about two weeks.”

Sirena flicked Brad’s hair. Milly put her hands behind her back. Brad couldn’t help but notice both of her hands were clenched.

“We just wanted to say goodbye before we left.”

Before Sirena had a chance to make the situation worse the two de-materialized, and soon found themselves beside the doorway. But unknown to them Sirena had wished them well and used their first names.

“I just want you to know how proud I am of you. It must have taken great restraint when Sirena flicked my hair,” said Brad.

“More than you know buster, more than you know.”

Her nails dug into her palms and were now bleeding a bit from when she clenched her fists.

“We better hurry. I forgot all about poor Quincy.”

Brad stayed silent as his feelings towards the cat hadn’t changed. But his feelings got considerably darker when they returned to the apartment. The old man from 14 Rillington Place, also known as Messenger was waiting for them.

But color had not returned. Everything was still like a black and white photo.

“How did you like your first foray into The Second Realm?”

Milly said the trip had been very enjoyable, and extremely illuminating. She very skilfully laid out what information they had learned about Messenger.

“It seems you’re a bit of a screw-up. You take Sirena Telford from her mansion a second before she blows her head off. Only you botch the job. You didn’t have enough time to teleport all of her to the Second Realm. Her feet are disfigured.”

“Then when you transferred my father from a car about to crash into the ground you gave him heart problems. Problems he didn’t have before he met you. Sounds like another botched job.”

Emotion crept into her voice.

“And when you met Brad for the first time you damn near kill him by messing with his mind. Sounds like yet another screw-up to me!”.

“I think I’ll return when you aren’t quite so emotional,” said Messenger. Brad stepped up and offered his two cents.

“Listen, Messenger. I don’t like you at all, and I’m pretty sure I never will. But I suggest you remember this. You are no longer welcome at any time in this apartment. I never ever want to see you again. You are persona non grata here. You’ve screwed around with us and this family for the last time. If you even attempt to come near any of us again I’ll introduce you to a wall so quickly it will make your head swim.”

“Well, if that is how you feel I’ll take my leave of you”.

He stood, leaned over to scratch Quincy’s head, and started walking towards the closet.

“Well, at least Quincy likes my company”.

That was too much for Milly or Brad.

“Milly, get the doorway ready. This creep is going back express!” barked Brad. Milly touched the molding on the wall.

“All ready at this end. Fire!” she said.

Brad grabbed Messenger by his shirt collar, and the seat of his pants. Messenger tried to protest, but things were clearly beyond his control. Milly activated the doorway then got out of the way. With a mighty heave, Brad tossed Messenger towards the wall. Messenger went through the doorway. Before Milly deactivated the doorway both she and Brad heard a satisfying yowl of discomfort as Messenger hit the ground.

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