We stepped out into the smell of fresh air. Too fresh. We were not in my basement. The moon was where it should be, though, up there in a nest of stars. Down here was the normal sound of crickets. But it wasn’t home and I groaned.
Harcourt and Alka, on the other hand, were laughing and hugging.
“Let me guess,” I said. “You live here.”
“Yes,” Harcourt said. He was grinning wide enough to split his face in two.
“I am not home, Harcourt. I am not happy.”
“You will be. I regret the slight delay, my friend, but I needed to be sure Alka got home as soon as possible.”
“So she remembers who she is and where she comes from now? Didn’t the old lady at the castle say Alka had forgotten all that.”
“She remembers now. Come rest with us for the night. I will be sure that you are here tomorrow for the mirrors.”
I looked around us. “What’s the name of this town?”
“And is that thing up on the hill a museum?”
Harcourt put his arm around Alka and looked up at the huge gloomy structure on the hill. “No,” he said. “That is Harcourt Castle. That is where Alka and I live. Come now and meet the family.”
How could anyone live in a place so huge? It would take half an hour just to get from the front door to the mail box. Even so, two residents of the castle knew we were trudging up the endless staircase and came hurrying to meet us. An older woman flung herself at Alka and they sobbed in each other’s arms. It was her mom, I figured.
Later on, after a shower, a shave and a fresh set of clothes, I had dinner at the kitchen table with Alka’s baby brother. Everyone else was down the hall being entertained by Harcourt’s tales of our adventures.
“So, are you glad your big sister’s back?” I said.
“Sure. She’s OK. And I’m real glad she married King Iven. I like him a lot.”Next chapter