Tall, twisted trees long devoid of foliage banded the far side of the lake. The waters of which, brightly reflected the alien, orange sun. They stood like reluctant sentinels watching the growth of the recently planted vegetation that one day would rise and thicken, giving the area an Earth-like appearance. This added to the effect of the lawn which had been sown months before and now grew lush and green.
Beyond, stood a mountain range with snow-capped peaks. They rose up and emphasised the deep blueness of the cloudless sky.
In the foreground, there was a flash of pink standing out among the natural colours of the garden and surrounding landscape. It was Ruth, wearing a pink jump-suit, sitting cross-legged on her seat which resembled an over-size wooden toadstool. She was small, and slender, with short blonde hair. The creation of the wooden toadstool had been her reaction to comments about her elf-like features.
Indeed, it would not be difficult to imagine her, as she sat quietly with her laughing eyes and her upturned lips, as being from the front cover of a Victorian children's fairy tale.
The comparison did not end with the visual impression.
Ruth, like the elves in the ancient stories, was full of mischief. Those elves had magical powers, and Ruth was not without powers of her own. Hers were not magical, yet they equalled any bestowed upon the elves and transcended those of most mortals.
There were some who equalled her, and one of those looked down on her from an upper window of the castle-like building which was Ruth's home on the planet Capos. It was her mother, Janine.
Janine watched Ruth with concern showing on her normally impassive face. She was worried about her. Ruth had been returning day after day, for several weeks, to sit silently, alone, on her toadstool. Admittedly, in the evenings Ruth behaved in the ways expected of her and seemed to be no different from usual. Which was upsetting stuffy guests with her pranks and shocKing others with an almost naive
Yet, her daily behaviour seemed to Janine to be strange. She feared it might be a developing symptom of something pathological. A possibility, since Ruth was unique in being the child of perhaps the two most powerful humans to have ever lived. The only second generation Psi-Master yet to be born.
Janine had been told by many, including her long-standing friends and companions, the enigmatic twins, that Ruth's behaviour was no cause for concern. The twins' knowledge of Psi was without comparison. Even so, Janine was not convinced. She could not approach Ruth directly for Ruth was unaware that Janine was her mother. As far as Ruth was concerned, Janine was a friend of Martin Oxford III, both boss and lover, who had asked Janine to give Ruth somewhere to live while he was tied up with business and long hours of negotiations.
Ruth had been manipulated into accepting the offered 'holiday' by both Oxford III and Janine, who had, surprisingly, found herself wanting to spend some time with her daughter.
Janine continued to watch. With a deep sigh, she made up her mind and turned away from the window. She crossed the room and went out on to the landing. She descended the stairs and on the ground floor entered the communications room.
The room was full of complex equipment, but none of it could be used by anybody who was not a powerful Psi exponent.
The equipment consisted of various Psi interfaces which enabled, among other things, instantaneous communication over vast distances. Necessary equipment for contacting non-Psi people.
Janine moved her mind into one of the interfaces, causing it to operate. On a planet, sixty light years away, an identical piece of technology accepted her enquiry, and informed her of the thing she needed to know.
Janine left the interface and went across to another. She stood beside it. The next instant Janine was gone from the room, gone from the planet…..
…..In the same moment, she was standing in a similar room on a planet sixty light years from Capos.
She looked around her and saw the dog-like being who approached. It was one of Oxford Ill's Settian employees. The Settian bowed, and Janine responded with a curt nod. "I must see Martin," she said.
"I will inform him you are here, my lady."
Janine shook her head. "Just escort me to him."
The Settian closed his eyes for a second. Janine's request was directly against his orders, but it was Janine. Nobody argued with Janine. "As you wish, my lady." The Settian beckoned her with a wave of his hairy arm.
Janine followed him along a corridor. They passed several guards, humans and Settians, who snapped to attention as she passed. She ignored them.
The Settian halted at a door flanked by two human guards. "Our lady wishes to see the boss," the Settian told the guards.
They looked at Janine and made up their minds. Oxford III had given strict instructions that he wasn't to be disturbed. One of the guards turned and banged on the door. As he did, he smiled at Janine.
She did not return his smile; instead, she walked forward, took hold of the door handle and opened it. She went into the room and slammed the door shut behind her.
Outside, the two humans and the Settian sighed. They had
heard about Janine, her powers and particularly the way she
handled people she found objectionable and uncooperative.
Janine looked across the room. Her entry had caused the talk which had been ensuing to cease. The two men who were sitting across the desk from Martin Oxford III turned and looked at her. Oxford III himself frowned. Then the frown disappeared, to be replaced by a huge smile. He stood up. "Janine," he beamed. His face became serious again.
"Everything's okay?" he asked.
"We must talk," she told him.
He nodded and turned to the two men. "We'll finish this
They stood up. "You know where to find us," the larger of the two hissed.
Janine waited until they had gone and then sat down. Martin Oxford III ordered refreshments. A tray was brought in almost instantly. As he drank his coffee, he listened to Janine as she related her account of Ruth's behaviour.
He sat back in his large leather chair and clasped his hands together.
"Well, what do you think?" Janine asked.
Oxford III shook his head. "I don't know what to think. But I've learnt not to be surprised by whatever Ruth does. On the other hand, this meditation thing does seem to be something new. Ruth is usually a lady of action. Inactivity is not her scene. Or at least it hasn't been up until now."
He looked across at Janine and couldn't help noticing the resemblance between her and her daughter. He also noticed the differences. The facial shape was similar, but Janine's beauty was classical, whereas Ruth had an innocence about her looks and her beauty had yet to reach maturity; Ruth still had a child-like prettiness. Janine was dark, Ruth fair.
"Have you asked her what it is all about?"
"I've tried," Janine said. "But I can't get any sense out of her. I don't want to push things; she might get suspicious."
"Why don't you just tell her that she's your daughter," Oxford III said.
"You know why," Janine replied. "I don't want the responsibility.”
“You mean you fear rejection," he smiled.
Janine glared across the desk at the small man. "Keep your psychology to yourself," she snapped. "I'm here to discuss Ruth, not me."
Oxford III sat up. "That's it!" he said.
"I know this psychiatrist…”
“Psychiatrist? You think she’s going crazy?!”
He laughed and shook his head. "Not at all. Look, you want an answer. If anyone can find one, he can."
Janine looked at him, and he stared back as he waited for her to respond. Janine made up her mind. She nodded slowly. “Alright, I'll go along with you. Where do I find him?" "He's on Earth," Oxford III told her.
"Earth? You must be joKing Martin. There's nobody but
weaklings left on Earth."
"That isn't totally correct, Janine and you know it. There are still a significant number of talented people there."
"Then why do they stay?"
Oxford III shrugged. "For a variety of reasons. Do you want me to list some?" he smiled.
"Don't be clever." She glared at him and then relaxed. After
a sigh, she said, "How do we get Ruth to Earth? She can't jump direct. We don't have a network with Earth, and it's too far to jump intuitively."
"The best way is to Mars. There are several stations there which are linked to Earth, and anybody returning from Mars isn't checked too closely. And Ruth can handle any problems she's likely to encounter."
"So how do we get Ruth to agree?"
"Leave it to me. I'm sure I can find a way."
"I'm sure you can," Janine said, with heavy sarcasm.
"Don't be like that Janine. There's no need to be so bitter," Oxford III responded, his expression appealing. "So alright, I've had a close relationship with your daughter. You could also have a natural relationship with her if you told her who you were."
Janine shook her head. "Forget it, Martin. You might be right. However, it's my choice. She mustn't know." She gestured as she spoke to emphasise her words. "Just get on with it. Do what you have to. I want to see her as she should be, not like she is now."
"I'll get right on to it, Janine. But I'm certain that you're worrying over nothing."
"Maybe," she said, her face set hard. "Just call it maternal stupidity." She smiled. "It is possible for me to feel maternal you know. I do have a heart."
"I've never doubted it, Janine," he returned her smile. “Maybe one day you'll find it possible to show that aspect of you to others."
"Perhaps," she said. The smile disappeared; to be replaced by the cold expression she always wore, except for sometimes when she was alone with her thoughts and memories. "But I want you to do what you have to quickly. I don't like waiting."
"Consider it already done. I'll get in touch with Doc Mahdi. Are you going to stay for dinner'?"
“No," she said. "I must get back."
"Okay," he nodded, understanding. He pressed a button on his desk and stood up. "I'll get you escorted back to the station." He came round from behind his desk and stood beside Janine. He was a few inches shorter than she was. He looked up at her and took one of her hands in his. "It's good to see you again," he said. "Stop worrying."
She slid her hand from his grip. "Yeah."
Martin Oxford III’s secretary entered, and he turned towards her. "Pat, show Janine back to the PM station will you, and then show King and Culver back in."
Pat smiled politely and waited for Janine to follow her.
"I'll contact you as soon, as things are set up," Oxford
III promised her.
"Make it soon, Martin."
"Soon it will be," he told her. "Until the next time,
"Yeah," she said, walKing away.
When she had left, Martin Oxford III sat down at his desk and stared at the closed door. With a shake of his head, he turned his attention back to the matter he had been concerned with when he had been interrupted.
As King and Culver re-entered his office, so Janine walked out of the communications room back on Capos.
Ruth was still seated on her toadstool.
Two days after her meeting with Martin Oxford III, Janine walked out into the garden. She had just received word from Oxford III and she wanted to convey some of the message to Ruth, who was in her usual position, cross-legged on the toadstool.
As Janine approached, Ruth turned to her, looked up and grinned. "How's it going?
Janine smiled back. "Fine. I've just heard from Martin. He's going to pay us a visit this evening. I've decided to throw a party."
Ruth frowned. "So the toad is coming here, is he? What's wrong with him‘? Is he frustrated, or something? Because if he is, he's in for a surprise."
"I think he's got a little job for you to do," Janine told her.
Ruth rose up from the toadstool, glided away from it and then lowered her legs and stood. She looked up at Janine; the deep frown on her forehead did not belie the sparkle in her eyes. "He's got a job for me? The little rat. He gets rid of me, and now he expects me to jump to his command. No way." She threw her head back with indignation and strutted back to the house.
Janine glanced down at the Toadstool. For an instant, she considered causing it to disintegrate, but with a shake of the head, she decided not to. She followed after Ruth, reaching the large open windows, just as Ruth stepped back out.
"So who's coming to this party then?" Ruth asked.
"You choose," Janine said.
"No. It's your place, and your party."
"And I've told you to think of it as your home."
"I do," Ruth said. "But I'm still not going to invite people." As she spoke, once again Ruth attempted to send her mind into Janine's, hoping to catch her off guard. Once again, Ruth met an impenetrable barrier.
“I've told you not to do that," Janine said, her face stern.
Ruth grinned and held her hands out. "I couldn't help it."
Janine looked down at her mischievous face and felt herself softening. "Don't do it again."
"Of course not," Ruth agreed, her grin widening. "Anyway, you haven't told me yet who's coming to the party."
"The twins, Mog-Fil, Martin, of course. Harry and Rusty, Rog..."
"They'll do.“ Ruth had heard enough. "We should have some fun."
"As long as you behave yourself."
"I always do." Ruth was already planning a campaign. "What are you going to wear?" she asked Janine, her face now full of innocence.
Janine looked at her suspiciously. She had an idea of the meaning of Ruth's innocent expression. "Why do you ask?"
"Our colours mustn't clash."
Still suspicious, Janine replied. "I think I'll wear my blue gown."
"The one with the silver trimmings?"
Janine nodded, her eyes narrowed as she tried to figure out what Ruth had in mind.
"It’s beautiful," said Ruth. She bit her lip, as though she was thinKing hard. “It would be nice to know what Rusty was going to wear."
"What are you up to?"
Ruth raised her narrow eyebrows and took a step backwards. She did her best to put on an expression of hurt. It didn't quite come off. "I just want things to be alright."
“I'm sure you do," Janine said, slowly.
Ruth brightened. "Good. Then will you get in touch with Rusty and find out what she‘s going to wear?“
"Please," Ruth implored her.
For a few moments, Janine stood in silence while her mind hurtled across the mountain range and on to the residence of Harry and Rusty Hopkins, and their two babies.
Janine found Rusty in the nursery playing with her children. Janine made contact and Rusty told her what she was planning to wear. Then she asked the purpose of the question. Janine told her and left.
Rusty stopped playing and wondered what Ruth was up to.
"Rusty is going to wear a crimson gown which is edged in gold filigree," Janine informed her daughter.
Ruth beamed. "It sounds nice. I think I'll wear something green. See you later." She spun round and made for her room.
Janine watched her go and shook her head. "Hell, I think I'm going to find out the hard way," she said out loud, and then uttered a resigned sigh. ShaKing her head once more, Janine went into the house to give her Settian servants final instructions for the evening buffet.
Up in her room, Ruth was laying on her bed. However, her mind was in Rusty's wardrobe searching for a crimson gown. She found it and began the delicate operation she had
It was summer where Janine had her home on Capos. Warm and dry nights where the sun did not set until nearly midnight. It was still light when her guests began to arrive.
The first was Admiral Rog Reap. He was greeted by Janine, and they talked together as they waited for the others to turn up. They heard the sound of a chopper and looked out across
the lawn. Its dark shape was silhouetted against the relatively light sky. It came in, hovered, and then made a noisy landing on the lawn. A hatch opened in its side and a Settian jumped out. He immediately fitted some steps in place and stood back. Another Settian peered out, looked around and then emerged.
"Old Mog-Fil still likes to be formal, I see," Rog Reap said quietly.
Marching across the lawn came the Settian War-Lord. He was dressed in full uniform which was mauve, with lapels and cuffs covered in ornate gold. On his chest were pinned several decorations, including those which his emperor had presented to him before he rebelled against the Settian/Kardeen Empire and aligned himself with the enemies of the majority of his people.
He reached his hostess and bowed low. "I thank you for your gracious invitation, Princess," the Settian said. He spoke clearly and articulately yet gave the impression that the human words were difficult for him.
Janine smiled. "You are welcome, my old friend and ally."
"Good to see you," said Reap, pleasantly.
Mog-Fil turned to Admiral Reap and gave him a Settian version of a smile, which, in human terms, was more like a grimace. "It is good to see you, Admiral." He took hold of Rog‘s hand. "Tonight we shall drink to our past campaigns, and drink even more to our future ones."
"Indeed," Rog agreed.
"Well you two boys go inside and make a start," Janine told them. She had no wish to hear Rog and the Settian discuss the war and their future plans for the impossible victory. Like the warriors they were, they needed no second invitation to attend the bar.
As soon as they had left her, the twins arrived. They were middle-aged, fat, and bald. At the same time, their round faces were open and ageless. It was only their bodies covered
in long white togas which gave the impression of any discernable age.
They greeted Janine telepathically, and she returned their greeting in the same way.
"This party has a purpose?” one of them asked.
"It has,” Janine replied, in the same way. "It concerns Ruth and her recent behaviour."
"Which has no problematic basis,” the other commented.
"So you say. Yet I have to be certain. Don't be offended."
Together the twins smiled at her. "We have known each other for a long time. We know you well, better than you know yourself. You mean well Janine. We would not take offence at
"Get inside and join the others," Janine said to them, speaKing.
They bowed and left her.
After a few moments on her own, she decided to give up being the waiting hostess and went inside to join the party. The others could find their own way to the proceedings.
She met the first of those as she crossed the hall. Martin Oxford III emerged from the communications room and the PM interface which he had used to jump to Capos.
"I still hate using those damn things," he informed his hostess.
"Have you organised everything?" she asked him, ignoring his attempt at trivia.
“It's all under control, Janine. I'll speak to Ruth later. So calm yourself and enjoy your party. Have you invited Mog-Fil'?"
"You asked me to. He's in the living room propping up the bar with Rog."
"Good, I want to have a word with him. Is Ruth in there?"
"I don't think she is. She likes to make an entry when everybody is here." Janine looked up at the empty staircase. "Tonight she is up to something."
Oxford III chuckled. "Isn't she always?"
"Rusty and Harry are here," Janine said, detecting their presence nearby.
They came in a few minutes later. Rusty was a small long haired redhead with the body of a miniature goddess. Narrow waist, wide hips, and large, firm breasts. Her husband Harry was tall and, in his own way, handsome. His narrow features were highlighted by his dark, intense eyes. Like Janine, Ruth, the twins, and the absent York, Harry was a Psi-Adept.
They greeted each other and Janine accompanied Rusty into the living room. Oxford III took the taller man's arm and went with him.
"Did you find out the source of Ruth's curiosity?" Rusty asked Janine.
"Not yet," Janine replied. "But I will."
"That's what I'm afraid of."
Upstairs, Ruth grinned at herself in the mirror. She was wearing a long, green gown which clung to her skin. On one side, it was split from ankle to almost her waist. In the opposite direction, the neckline too also descended to her waist. Ruth had designed the dress herself. If she stood still, it was almost decent, but as she moved around, it would become apparent to all that it was the only garment she was wearing. She decided it was time to make her entry.
She descended and walked quietly into the living room where the party was being held. The conversation ceased, and heads turned in her direction. Ruth stopped and scanned the faces of the guests and beamed at them all. That is, until her eyes fell upon Martin Oxford III, then her lips went small and straight. She turned away from him, held her head high and walked over to Janine, who was with the twins on the other side of the room.
It was not only memories which stirred when Oxford III watched her walk across the room. The split in her skirt opened just enough. He almost groaned aloud.
"Do you like it?" Ruth asked the twins, as she swept the side o¥ her hands down her gown.
"It is disgusting," Janine snapped, being unexpectedly prudish.
"It reveals much of your personality," one of the twins said, smiling boyishly.
"And much more,“ added the other, echoing his brother's smile.
Janine looked at them and frowned. "You two surprise me." Her voice was haughty.
Ruth looked up into Janine's face and narrowed her eyes. "I have a suspicion about you."
"What do you mean?“ Janine’s tone was colder than she intended.
"Nothing," Ruth replied. She twirled, and the gown opened out. "It's a shame you don't like it."
Across the room, the other men watched and experienced identical feelings. Only Mog-Fil was untouched, but he was a Settian.
Rusty jabbed Harry. “Watch it you. Look somewhere else."
"I‘m not looKing," said Harry, grinning and hoping Ruth would give him another twirl.
Rusty jabbed him again before flicKing her head so that her long, red hair hit him in the face.
She walked away and went over to Ruth. "You are exciting my husband. Control yourself, girl." Rusty scowled but in good humour.
“Only your husband? I wanted to excite all of the men," Ruth grinned, lustily.
Rusty looked up at Janine and slowly shook her head. "Is there no way to control her?"
"If you can think of one, let me know," Janine replied.
The twins chuckled softly.
"Why should I be controlled? I mean to say, your dress is more revealing than mine. Ruth told Rusty.
Rusty looked down at herself. She admitted that the neckline was low, but the gown was a long one, and the split in it revealed only her calf as she walked. "What are you talKing about?"
“I mean it will reveal more of you than mine does of me.“
Janine caught on immediately and closed her eyes.
Rusty shook her head. "Ruth, sometimes I think you are quite mad."
Ruth just grinned back at her.
Still shaKing her head, Rusty walked away. Her decent mauve gown disintegrated, and so gentle was the action that it was only when the men's expressions changed did she realise that something was wrong. She glanced down at herself expecting to see some embarrassing stain. Instead, she saw only her skin. Apart from her shoes, she was completely naked.
When the colour of her face returned from the colour of her hair back to its normal hue, Rusty spun and faced Ruth who was having trouble stifling her giggles. Beside her, Janine appeared to be looKing thoughtfully up at a painting which hung above the fireplace.
"Ruth!" Rusty shouted.
Ruth held her hands to her mouth to hold in the laughter, but she couldn't prevent her body from shaKing.
Behind Rusty, Harry decided it was time to protect his wife. He sent out his mind, slowly and delicately, towards Ruth. He struck.
Ruth squealed as she felt the searing pain across her backside. And squealed again as it was repeated. Then she defended herself. To Harry's surprise, his third strike failed to land. His mental attack was thrown back at him harder than he had hit out. He staggered backwards into Martin Oxford III, whose glass shot from his hand.
Rusty still stood in the centre of the room unaware of what was going on around her.
Ruth decided to follow up her defence and went on the offensive. It was Harry's turn to yelp as Ruth mentally pinched his behind.
Janine turned to the twins. "This is going to get out of hand,” she told them telepathically.
"You wish us to calm things?” one of them asked.
"Yes, and quickly.”
"He will do what we can,” the other said.
"But with both Ruth and Harry, we will need your help."
No sooner had their thoughts reached Janine when Ruth's gown seemed to explode, sending pieces of green material hurtling across the room. Her mouth dropped open, and she looked down at herself. She was as naked as Rusty. Ruth looked across the room at Harry who had a smug grin on his face. She glared at him, narrowing her eyes.
The smug grin left Harry's face, when he felt himself flying through the air towards the table where the drinks were. If he resisted, he would fall, so instead, he allowed Ruth to continue, but at the same time, he went for her.
Ruth nearly lost her control over Harry when he struck at her, or rather, when the contents of the punch bowl rose up in a liquid spiral, shot across the room, and poured down over her, maKing her wet and sticky.
Her face became a picture of indignation. She scowled and increased her efforts. Bottles rose up from the table. Harry watched them and fought against Ruth's attempts at moving them. But he had to let them go, as he felt his fly pulled down and his trousers coming apart.
Without warning, everything stopped. The combined efforts of the twins and Janine held the rapidly degenerating situation in stasis.
Janine spoke into their minds. "This is going to stop. Otherwise, you will be left precisely where you are for the rest of the night. Do I make myself clear?"
"Very," said Harry. He had come to the conclusion that Ruth was a little too much to handle. She didn't fight fairly.
"Ruth, do you understand?" Janine asked.
"Right girl. That's it. You will stay right where you are for the rest of the night. Perhaps by the morning, you will have learnt a lesson."
"Alright," Ruth responded reluctantly, “No more fun. I'll be as quiet as a mouse. Which will please the little rat in the corner."
"You'd better stand by your promise, girl," Janine warned her.
Slowly, Harry and Ruth were released.
Ruth looked down at herself. “I'm going to have a bath." She strutted out of the living room.
Ruth had bathed and dried herself. Now she was back in her room searching for an alternative dress. She stopped in her search and turned to face the door. A few seconds later, the handle turned and the door opened. Martin Oxford III entered. He looked across the bedroom at
Ruth who was standing naked.
"I've missed you," he said, meaning it.
"Huh! You‘ve missed me. Tough!" She turned back to the wardrobe.
"Stop being difficult, Ruth. “
"Who's being difficult? You sent me away, remember?"
“And I told you why."
"But I didn't believe you." She faced him again and threw the dress down onto the bed that she had selected. "Listen, rat. I'm not annoyed with you because you made me come here. What I'm annoyed about is the reason you gave. Do you think I'm stupid or something?“
"I don't know what you mean."
She sat down on the bed and glared at him. "Don't you think I know who Janine is?"
Martin Oxford III stared down at her. He wondered if she did know the truth or if she was just fishing. "Why don't you tell me what it is you think you know?"
She shook her head and smiled. "I think not. If Janine wishes for it to be this way, so be it. I don't want to make things difficult for her."
"Okay, so you'll bury the hatchet?"
"Willingly," she said, grinning. “Right into your damned head! If you think you can send me away, and then come here, creep into my bedroom for the sole intention of getting inside my knickers...."
"You're not wearing any," he remarked, staring pointedly.
“Ha, damn ha. Funny, Very funny." She lay down. "Come on then; you're the boss. You pay my wages. I might as well earn them.“
"Shut up, Ruth. Stop being so dramatic.“
She sat up again. "So why are you here?"
"I've a job for you to do."
"Will I enjoy it‘?"
He nodded. "Probably."
"What is it? “
"I want you to visit somebody. An old friend of mine."
She raised her eyebrows. "So you're into procuring now, are you?“
He laughed. "Sorry, but it won't be that interesting. No, I want you to see somebody on Earth, and co-operate with them."
"Explain yourself, rat. You're being obtuse, and I'm becoming suspicious."
Martin Oxford III took a deep breath and sat down on the bed. For several moments he was silent, as he searched for the right words.
"Get on with it," she prompted.
"Right. I will. I want you to see a friend of mine on Earth.“ He hesitated.
"A friend of yours on Earth. We've been through that before. Carry on. Try something new."
"He's a psychiatrist."
Ruth stared at him in surprise. "A psychiatrist?"
"A psychiatrist," she repeated. Her face showed her lack of comprehension. "Why must I see a psychiatrist?"
"You‘re the first and only second-generation Psi-Adept that has ever been born. We want to find out if your abilities have any side effects.“ His eyes wandered over her body.
"What are you talKing about? What side effects?"
"Janine says that you spend most of the time sitting in the garden on your own, meditating. She thinks it might be the first signs of some genetic problem. I don't believe it, but on the other hand, the future of humanity might depend on its Psi Adepts."
"I sit on my own, so I must be crazy." Ruth frowned at him. But slowly the frown disappeared. "Do you know why I sit on my own‘? Shall I tell you?"
He nodded eagerly. "It might be a good idea. Then perhaps we could dispense with the psychiatrist."
"I‘ll tell you, listen carefully." She looked at him, the sparkle had returned to her eyes, and her lips quivered with the humour she was feeling inside. She leant forward and lowered her voice. "I've started to see other worlds out of the corners of my eyes." She beamed at him with the expression of a satisfied cat.