“Apology” Chapter 10C in the Panooksa Saga

Idea by Tom Austin                                               Written by Tom Austin

                                         Revised by Tom Austin

The two men sat in chairs looking at the red folder on the coffee table. They both felt embarrassed and tired. Tyler spoke first.

“In the vernacular of my generation I think we are well and truly screwed.” Brad felt free to speak up as well.

“That’s the way my generation would sum things up as well,” said Brad.

Tyler got up started talking, gesticulating all the time.

“If only my daughter “The Diplomat” hadn’t lost her temper we might have stood a chance. But after that revolting display, I don’t think we’d stand a snowball’s chance in hell of salvaging any kind of deal.”

“I’ve never encountered such hate before. Sirena has nothing but blind, furious hatred. Can one person really hate so many people without knowing them at all?

“That, my boy, is the sixty-four million dollar question. I fear Sirena hates because she simply can’t do anything else. She figures life gave her a raw deal, and now doesn’t want anything to do with people.”

Meanwhile, Tilly stood outside the shower. Milly was still sitting on the tiled floor of the shower, the icy cold water was still pummeling her clothes, and she was still sobbing. All of a sudden Milly heard the knob to the cold water being turned and looked upwards. Tilly held a blanket in her arms. Her mother looked down at her. “Mildred Shine. I have never been so ashamed of you than I am this very instant. I never thought I’d say this but right now I’m actually embarrassed to call you my daughter. I demand you to go to that Sirena woman and apologize. Now get out the shower, take off those wet clothes, wrap yourself in this blanket, and hand the clothes to me. I’ll pop them in the dryer. Then when they’re dry you’re going to put them back on, and you are going over to that horrible woman’s house and apologize. Don’t even think of talking to me. Just strip!”.

When her clothes were dry she put back on and left by the back door. She couldn’t face her father or Brad. She was going to do exactly what her mother said. When she was sitting on the floor in the shower she heard her father say ‘I think we are well and truly screwed’ and she heard the disappointment in his voice. Then she went and messed things up. And she wondered if Brad was still in love with her after that child-like display. As she walked towards a small clearing Milly looked at the door at the rear of the house. Her mother was at the door, and she pointed right at Milly.

Milly turned away from the house, took a cleansing breath, cleared her mind, and thought about Sirena Telford. Soon all color faded along with the image of her mother at the door. It was soon replaced by the twisted contorted face of Sirena Telford.  When she fully formed she was bombarded with insults and shrieks immediately.

“So the brat has come back. Where’s that man of yours? Well, speak up you spineless little twit!”

This time she knew Sirena was trying to push her buttons, and she was determined not to let Sirena get to her. She spoke very calmly.

“I would simply like to apologize for my behavior of earlier today. I also want to say that if I upset you in any way it truly was not intended.”

“So the brat has come to apologize. How touching. Well, you aren’t forgiven you little bitch! You couldn’t upset me if your life depended on it you useless bag of excrement!”

Milly wanted to say something to her. But she didn’t know if she should call her Miss or Mrs. She didn’t think any man in his right mind would want her for a spouse so she settled on Miss.

“May I tell you something, Miss Telford?”

“What could you possibly say to me that would be of the slightest interest to me?”

“I saw a film you did a few years back and I liked your performance. It was much better than that other actress.”

“I was?”

“You were much better than Gene Tierney too.”

Milly was now lying through her teeth. But it worked. There was a small but noticeable dent in super bitches armor. Milly had discovered Sirena’s Kryptonite. Vanity! She was as vain as the sun is bright.

“Your house looks just like one at Gull cottage. It’s no wonder you were so upset when my family and my fiancée showed up in it unannounced. If I promised to keep the house the way it looks now would you consider selling it?”

“What does the brat want my house for?”

“To live in with my fiancée, my soon to be husband”

Sirena weighed the pros and cons. It was true no one else was interested in the house. And if she sold it the new hunk would be close by. Besides, she needed the money.

“Do you plan on having any ankle biters? I just had the place painted.”

“Well, Brad and I have talked about having children but not for a few years”.

“If you’re going to live in The Second Realm don’t trust Messenger whatever you do. Let’s do the deal.”

“My dad will want to know the details. So we’ll have to go there.”

“If the brat wants my house we’ll finalize the details here.” Milly thought that the arms talks between the two major super powers in her own dimension must have been like this.

“Ok. But I was wondering if you could call me Milly. After all, I call you by your first name.”

Milly said she had to talk with father, and her betrothed. She vanished from Sirena’s house and appeared in the middle of her parents living room.

“I can’t be very long but super bitch is still willing to sell us the house. But you have to come to her house or she won’t do the deal.”

She also revealed Sirena’s weakness.

“She’s as vain as hell. Lie like a rug and blow smoke up her butt.’

Tyler, Tilly, and Brad appeared within minutes in Sirena’s living room. Sirena was pacing the floor and holding a long cigarette holder. Milly couldn’t help but think Sirena resembled Cruella De Vil from a film she once saw.

“Let’s get this over with. I’ll sell you the house as long you guarantee this won’t be any exterior alterations, and the only thing that will be done on the exterior are repairs.”

This condition was almost a deal breaker for Tyler. He looked at Brad and Milly.

“Can you two live with this because ultimately it will be up to the both of you?”

Brad was the first to speak up.

“Happy wife happy life.” Milly nodded vigorously and almost hugged Brad into unconsciousness.

Signatures and checks were passed at a furious rate.

“Fine. I believe that concludes things. Milly can stay but as for the rest of you nitwits GET THE HELL OUT!”

Sirena wanted to hear more from Milly. “How did I look in that film you saw?” Milly pretended to cough, turned around, pretended to stick a finger down her throat, then turned around. “You were magnificent. Even gorgeous”

After Milly and Sirena stopped talking Milly teleported back to her parent’s house. Brad, Tyler, and Tilly were waiting anxiously for her return. They wanted to know how Milly had changed Sirena’s mind. When she materialized in the living room Brad lunged at her, picked her up, and hugged her.

“How did you do it? How did you get Battle-Axe Galactica to sell us the house?” asked Brad. When he put her down Milly moved towards the couch. She sat down then sat beside Brad, her arm hooked in his.

“It was really very simple. In all the time she’s been here she hasn’t heard one single solitary compliment from anybody.”

Her father coughed and spoke up. “You seem to forget she’s the most unfriendly person on the face of the earth. She’s done nothing, zilch, to deserve a compliment of any kind. She once asked me to look at her feet to see if anything could be done. When I told her I couldn’t do anything for her feet she simply insulted me and walk out of the examining room. She hasn’t even bothered to pay her bill.”

Milly tried to explain a few things to her father.

“She feels hostility for you because you couldn’t do anything for her. But have you once complimented her on anything? A woman likes to be noticed, even complimented. Have you ever done that?”

“I think your daughters on to something,” said Tilly

“You’ve got be kidding. The woman’s about friendly as the Bubonic Plague. Are you saying is all she wants is to recognized as a woman?” said her father.

“Yup. It’s that simple. Next time you pass her in the street say something nice about her. Even if it’s a white lie the only person who will know is you. Next time you see her say she looks radiant or something. Say something nice to break the ice. It’s really that simple.”

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11041548_1132690643427165_7322152620158047212_n My inspiration for Sirena Telford.

             Cruella de Vil

“Inspection” Chapter 10B in the Panooksa Saga

Idea by Tom Austin                                                       Written by Tom Austin           

Revised by Tom Austin

“I suppose we can take a look at it right now if you want to. But remember you’re in the Second Realm now. You can’t hop in a car or hail a cab.”

Brad risked Tyler’s wrath and interrupted.

“That’s what I would like to know. The entire time we’ve been here we haven’t seen a single car, cab, or even a horse. How you folks  get around here?”

Milly closed her eyes and winced. Surprisingly her father’s temper did not explode as she fully expected. Instead, her father praised Brad for noticing the lack of transport.

“Brad raises an excellent question. If a person, or in this case persons are going to live in this realm they are going to find out sooner or later. This isn’t science fiction or an episode of The Twilight Zone Brad. We get around via telepathy. Some people prefer to walk, and that’s fine if you’re going short distances like we did when we first met. But if a person wants to go to a specific place like we do we go via telepathy. You stand still, you clear your mind and think of where you want to go. If your mind isn’t clear you could find yourself halfway up a tree. That’s what happened to me shortly after Tilly and I came here. It’s also handy if you want to find a specific person. Say you wanted to see that Merlin fellow but you didn’t know where he was. Travel by telepathy would take you to with ten feet of him.”

“What if he was a busy, or otherwise engaged daddy,” asked Milly.

“You’d see a large red busy signal sign.”

Brad leaned over to Milly and quietly said “I’m pretty sure I don’t want that image in my mind ever. Just the idea of seeing Merlin getting busy is rather unsettling.”

Tyler asked everybody to stand.

“Milly, hold Brad’s hand. I’ll hold your mother’s hand. And Tilly, hold on to Brads other hand. We’re about to go to the road just outside the house.”

Everybody held hands. “How come I feel like I’m at some of revival meeting,” said Brad.

All color suddenly disappeared, they vanished, and all four found themselves on the road outside the house. Absolutely nothing went wrong in the transport. Except for some reason Brad ended with a wooden bucket over his head.

“Hey! Who turned out the lights?”

Milly turned her head, looked at Brad, and started to laugh. Tilly snickered a bit too.

Tyler helped Brad get the bucket off his head.

“That, my boy, is probably because of that revival comment.”

“The groom-to-be is not amused.”

Their next attempt at getting to the house in the picture was far more successful.

Milly ran up the stairs at the front and ran to the porch swing. She was so happy. Her dream was coming true. Then she inspected the wood trim on the front windows by tapping on it with her fingernails. If the wood was old and in need of repair her fingernails would leave an impression in the trim. They were alright. She opened the front door and spun in the hall. The wood paneling was perfect. She went from the living room to the front hall to the dining room.

“Everything is perfect!” she squealed.

When she inspected the kitchen she was struck by its sheer enormity. “It’s almost as big as the apartment back in the city” she exclaimed. Then she darted upstairs. She decided the wooden floors in the main bedroom might need some work. Brad, Tilly, and Tyler were coming up the staircase when Milly suddenly darted through the hall going from the main bedroom to the guest bedroom.

“I love it, I love, I love it” she said

Brad inspected the electrical and plumbing work. He was surprised to find circuit breakers. He couldn’t help but notice the screws were still shiny. And they still had the marks of the screwdriver that put them there. “I cant find a thing wrong. Are you telling me you didn’t have anybody do any work here ?”. Tyler said they couldn’t have and they didn’t own the house. While Tyler was talking with Brad Tilly thought she heard a noise downstairs. She went to inspect. When she got to the main floor she found Sirena Telford.

“What are you nitwits doing in my house,” said Sirena.

Tilly explained that they thought the property was for sale.

“It is ! she bellowed. “It’s my house, I’m selling it. Now get out!”.

Tyler now appeared, and patiently explained what he and Tilly wanted to do. It didn’t do any good. Then Milly appeared.

“What’s all the racket? Who is making enough noise to shake the rafters?”

“And I suppose you’re their brat”. Brad now came downstairs, and just in time to restrain Milly from knocking Sirena into next the next county.

“Who’s the hunk? I haven’t seen you before. You must be new in The Town.” and she flicked a lock of Brad’s hair.

Milly went berserk when she saw that. “He’s my fiancé you bitter old witch,” said Milly who tried to claw at Sirena. Brad held Milly arms with one hand. He put his other arm around Milly’s waist and took one step back to prevent Milly from clawing or kicking Sirena. “Let me at her. I’ll put super bitch in the hospital.”

Tyler took over. “I apologize for my daughter’s behavior. We’ll leave. But I suspect you just alienated the only potential buyer.”

Tyler, Tilly, and Brad went to the road. Brad, who still had an arm around Milly’s waist while the other held her arms tried to clear their minds so they could teleport back to the house. However, with Milly squirming and swearing teleporting wasn’t easy. When they finally were outside the  Shine house Tyler suggested to Brad it might a good idea if he could put her in the shower when they got home. In the living room, Milly’s behavior became more annoying. She collapsed on the floor like a small child having a tantrum. He picked her up at the waist of her pants and hauled her into the shower. He then turned on the cold water. Screams came from the shower. Then crying.

Brad and Tyler sat in chairs situated in the living room and took stock of recent events. “Well, that was an interesting little jaunt. Just who the heck was that?” asked Brad.

Tyler leaned forward, rested his elbows on his legs, and massaged the rapidly tensing muscles in the neck.

“That was Sirena Telford. She is The Towns resident pain in the ass and the worlds most pathetic excuse for a human being. If The Town votes to do something she’ll vote against it. You see when then minutes from the meeting are printed  her name will be in print. She gets her jollies from that. She’s the longest living resident of the town. I think she used to be a movie star or something”

“Well I’ve never heard of her and I took the history of film class when I was at college,” said Brad. “Why is she so bitter” added Brad.

“You no doubt noticed that conical gown she wore.”

“I couldn’t help but notice. What’s the story with that?”

“The word around town is this and I’ll number the highlights for you. One. She thought she was gods gift to Hollywood. Two.  Nobody would work with her because of her temper, and her constant insults. Three. When she couldn’t get work she sulked inside her mansion and watched old movies of herself. Four. She tried to blow her brains out with a pistol. The trigger had already been pulled and the bullet was speeding down the barrel. That’s when Messenger intervened. Only he botched the job. There wasn’t enough time to fully come to this realm. Coming to this realm didn’t work out as planned. The poor woman’s head and body made it, but her feet were a shriveled mess. Messenger constructed that gown for her so she could move around or “glide” as she puts it. But all that did was make her angrier, and let all that met her know she couldn’t walk. That’s why she’s so bitter and angry with everyone she meets. Miss Personality is angry at the world, and won’t let any of us forget it. The fact that none of us in The Realm had anything to do with her accident doesn’t seem to matter. We’re all guilty by association with Messenger. Even you and Milly.”


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“Early Stages” Chap. 10 in the Panooksa Saga

Idea by Tom Austin                                                    Written by Tom Austin

                                               Revised by Tom Austin

Things were far from harmonious at the Shine house. Milly had her own ideas of how she wanted things at her wedding. And Tilly had her own. It soon became obvious that nothing was going to get done. Tyler looked at Brad and said “At this stage a wise man says nothing. Say anything and you risk getting your head handed to you.”

Tyler listened to decibel level rise. What he was hearing was almost a screaming match. When the volume reached an intolerable level he stood up, held a book with his right hand, and raised the index finger of his of his left hand. Tilly and Milly were hunched over the breakfast table looking at a very rough sketch and barking at each other. When Tilly noticed her husband standing she put her hand on top of her daughters shoulders, and told her to be quiet. Suddenly, there was silence where only moments before there had been barely controlled chaos.

“I’ve only two pieces of advice. One for Tilly and one for Milly. Milly, your mothers have been planning your wedding day since the day you were born. In fact, you weren’t a day old before she started talking about the day I’d be taking you down the aisle. Listen to her, consider her suggestions. And if you find them sound but in need of alteration don’t be afraid to do just that.”

“My next piece of sage advice is for my wife. Tilly, I know you want to do everything. And you want only the very best for our daughter. That’s only natural. But Milly is the one getting married. She has the final say. If anybody needs me, which I doubt, I’ll be in the den.”

Tyler walked across the living room, entered the room he called his ‘den’ and closed the door. Milly’s jaw fell open, watched her father walk across the room, and disappear behind a door.

“What was all that about,” she said?

Tilly motioned for her daughter to be silent and to come into the kitchen. “Since you’re about to be part of this family, you better come as well Brad.”

Tilly spoke quietly, almost whispering.”Ever since the accident, when we saw Messenger for the very first time, your father has had heart problems. He has heart arrhythmias. But for heaven’s sake, don’t let him know you know, or I told you.” Tilly went on to inform them that he retired from being a doctor because of the heart problems, but that he still teaches and lectures at The Town hospital.

Milly was puzzled. “Hold it just one second. Did daddy have these heart problems before or after meeting Messenger?”

“He started getting them when we came here,” said Tilly

Milly suddenly went silent. “That’s two. Now I want to talk to Sirena Telford”.

“What are you on about?. What does that horrible woman have to do with my Tyli-poo,” said Tilly

Milly and Brad couldn’t believe their ears. They both looked at Tilly with a mixture of horror and astonishment.

“Yuck. Mother, that name is terrible.”

“He dislikes it too. I’ve tried different variations over the years, but nothing seems to fit”.

Brad agreed. “Makes me want to hurl”.

“Let’s get back to the matter at hand. You still want to know about Sirena Telford?”

“This very instant!”

“She might be the key to something that’s been bothering Brad and me ever since we first met somebody that looked very much like Messenger.”

Brad went outside to chop wood for his soon to be in-laws. The mere mention of Messenger made his blood boil. He had to do something physical to get rid of this sudden surge of hostility. He took off his shirt, set a piece of wood on the chopping block, and brought the ax down with his strength. It wasn’t long before he had worked up a significant sweat.

Milly and Tilly returned to making preliminary wedding arrangements only this time there was less confrontation to worry about. They were still talking when Tilly went to the kitchen to make some coffee. Tilly was not aware Brad was outside, shirtless, sweaty, or chopping wood. When she looked out the kitchen window, she saw Brad and the sweat glistening on his body. Suddenly the words “That muscle, those abs. He’s an Adonis” slipped out.

Milly was shocked at what she just heard.


“Sorry about that. I was once a young woman too you know. I simply meant to say that you picked well.”

“Well…just stop it. Hearing you talk like that is just plain creepy”

“You know his body would be perfect if it didn’t have those scratches on it,” added Tilly.

Milly went beet red and grabbed the nearest magazine and pretended to read it. She didn’t even notice the magazine was upside down.

Together Milly and her mother fleshed out a plan that was essentially Milly’s. But this time it had a little more meat on the bone. Milly would get a few friends from her realm,  to act as bride’s maids. The gown would be paid for from her trust fund. Brad wouldn’t know there were going to be two gowns though. Brad thought about asking Mechanic Mike, the man who took care of his red Mustang, and the person he’s known since the seventh grade to act as best man.

Tyler read a book in the den. When he entered the room he decided he wanted no part in the planning stage. Milly was her own woman, as was Tilly. Nothing would get done until those two learned to talk to each other instead of trying to compete. But after a while, the volume calmed down. He hoped that the two had learned to talk to each other, instead of talking at one another. As was his habit he frequently stood while reading. For most of his professional life, he had stood, and saw no reason to change that particular habit. The den was where he kept all the awards he had amassed over his time in the second realm. A lot of the time when he knew he was going to get an award he would saw ask Tilly a rhetorical question. “Why should I should I get an award? For heaven’s sake, I’m simply doing the job I was trained for”. One thing he resented was an award ceremony in the middle of the workday. On those occasions, he openly complained “Why can’t they just mail me the damn thing. I could be saving somebody’s life right now, or setting a broken limb. But no. I’ve got to eat some of this god awful rubber chicken, and look like I’m enjoying it.”

Of all the awards, and there many, the one he liked the most, and the one that had presented the least inconvenience to him was the Century award. The Town hospital turned one hundred years old and Tyler was the acting as chief of staff. The actual administrator was practicing his putting skills when he flipped on a golf ball. He broke his foot on his desk. Tyler  accepted the century award, made a few golf-related jokes, and brought the award home. The award was obviously a rush job. The hospital never noticed the incorrect spelling on the plaque. Instead of reading the century award it read the “Sentry” award. There would soon be another reason to like it.

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“Fire and Ice” Chap. 8B in the Panooksa Saga

Idea by Tom Austin                               Written by Tom Austin

Revised and improved by award-winning author Meg Sorick

“I beg your pardon. What did you say, Merlin?” Milly yelled up to him.

“I said I am a Troll. Are you going deef? You’re too perty for that,” replied Merlin.

Just then Milly had an idea. “Can you put your hand on the ground please?”

“Can do. But what do you want with my hand?” asked Merlin, as he reached down.

When Merlin’s hand lay flat on the ground Milly and Brad climbed into his palm.

“Oh, I see what you’re doing.” Merlin raised his hand so it was level with his face.

“Yeah!” said Milly, clapping her hands together. “Now we can a face to face talk without having to shout. That really is better.”

“Sure is. And you look even more perty now!”

But one thing was evident. Merlin had really bad breath. Milly and Brad looked at each other and grimaced. As discreetly as she could, Milly covered her nose with her hand. “Merlin, do you have any celery, by chance?” she asked.

“I sure do. It’s in my garden.”

“Can we see it Merlin?”

“You sure can, perty lady.”

Merlin put Milly and Brad in the chest pockets of his overalls. “It’s a good thing I have two pockets. Since yer not married, it would be wrong to put you both in one pocket.”

Brad rolled his eyes and Milly gestured for him to be quiet, so he wouldn’t say anything stupid. And off they went to Merlin’s house. It soon became clear that this trip would have been too far for Milly and Brad to make on foot, but with Merlin walking, the journey lasted only half an hour. When they got to the house, Merlin gently took them out of his pockets and placed them on a small table outside his front door. From there, they could see the entire vegetable patch.

Merlin leaned down so that his face was level with the table top. “OK, perty lady, what do you want with the celery?”

“Here’s the thing…” How does one explain to a huge troll that his breath is offensive? “Um, Merlin? Where we come from, that is to say… at our size… er…” Milly stammered.

“Your breath stinks, man,” Brad finished for her. “It’s killing us!”

Milly clapped her hands to her cheeks in horror but, instead of being insulted, the troll roared with laughter. “Aha! So the celery is for me!” he said, still laughing. “So what do I do with it?”

After shooting a dirty look at Brad, Milly instructed Merlin to place a stalk of celery in glass of water, and to leave it there at least a day. At the end of the day, he’d have celery water, which would taste good as well as do wonders for his breath.

“Alright, whatever you say, perty lady.”

Milly raised an eyebrow. “Merlin, why don’t ever call me by my name?”

“Well, you never told me yer name, now, did ya?”

“I’m called Milly,” she said and then pointed at Brad. “And his name is Brad.”

“I’m glad to know you Milly. And that goes for you, too, Brad. I didn’t know there were itty bitty Trolls”

Brad answered this time. “Maybe that’s because we’re not Trolls.”

“Yer not? Well, what the heck are ya?”

Again Brad answered. “I’m a man, and Milly is a woman. You know, a bit like your mom.” Milly crossed her arms, and shot Brad a disapproving look. She didn’t care to be compared to a Troll. But Brad turned to Milly and made curvy gestures with his hands. Milly smiled and nodded in understanding.

Merlin seemed to be satisfied with their answers. “Have you been to The Town?” he asked.

“This is our first time in The Second Realm. We haven’t seen anything, yet,” said Brad.

“There are lots of itty bitty people in The Town. Would you like to go?”

“Sure thing, Merlin, let’s go!” said Milly enthusiastically.

Merlin gently picked them up one at a time, and deposited them in his pockets. “You may be special to each other, but you’re not married. So no funny stuff,” he said with a chuckle.

When Merlin walked, each stride was about one hundred yards long, so the trip to The Town only took about an hour. Brad called over to Milly, “I guess it’s a good thing we can travel by “Merlin Power” or else we’d never get anywhere in this place.”

Soon, they saw the spires and steeples of The Town off in the distance. Milly and Brad hung out of the pockets as far as they dared so they could enjoy this experience as much as possible.

After an hour of bouncing around, and laughing till their sides hurt, Milly asked, “Merlin, why is this place just called the The Town? Did no one ever think to give it a proper name?”

“There were so many ideas that people fought and bickered. A short Troll, one of my cousins really, suggested simply calling it The Town. That made sense to a lot of people, and they stopped the arguing.”

When they got to The Town, Merlin set his passengers on the ground. Milly immediately went to inspect the stores, a practice Brad called “snooping.” Milly’s first stop was a store that specialized in picture frames. When she entered, a woman was making a big fuss about something.

“Do you nitwits have any idea who I am?” she asked haughtily.

“Yes. You’re a spoiled brat and a twit,” said the woman waiting on her.

“I’ve never been so insulted in my entire life! I’m going to take my business elsewhere.”

“And when you do, I’ll phone them and let them know what a lousy human being —not to mention customer— you are.” She sighed heavily. “Look Sirena, we go through this grief every time you come here. You know we’re the only store in The Town that does this work.”

“Hmph.” With that, the woman turned and started for the door. Milly couldn’t help but notice the nearly floor-length, conical-shaped gown she wore. She was curious about this woman, and asked about her.

“I’m new here in The Town. Who was that?”

“Her name is Sirena Telford. She’s The Town’s resident pain in the backside. No doubt you noticed you her gown. It was specially made to help her move. The gown almost touches the ground, so as to hide her disfigured feet. She doesn’t walk. She glides. She’s bitter about her feet, and takes out her anger on other people.” She waved a hand dismissively. “But enough about her, what can I do for you?”

Milly explained she had a small piece of cloth, and she was wondering if they could frame it.

“That all depends. Just how small is this piece of cloth?”

“Its about eight inches square”

“Do you mind if I see it?”

Milly rifled through the pocket where she usually kept her mad money, and produced a small piece of cloth. “This used to belong to my boyfriend. He thinks it was destroyed in an accident.”

“How…interesting. Your boyfriend certainly has unique taste.”


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