Apologies for the delay. Daughter #1 graduated from college (BS Animal Science) on Saturday. It was a few hours drive and then there was a celebratory dinner. Then the drive home…
Where I realized I felt insanely bad. My guess is being in several crowds, I picked up some bug. I was in bed all day Sunday and could not eat at all. Had some water and a piece of toast to make it into DayJob on Monday but was still a wreck. Monday afternoon it occurred to me to take some of our ivermecting 1% PO and then a nap. By 1800, I felt human again. That stuff is amazing and everyone in every Western government who opposed (and opposes) its use should be crucified.
Anyway, back to the story. Where were we? Ah: Aurie’s knocked up and Eloise is a drunk foreign spy. Got it. Let’s mix an angel into the batch, shall we? And said angel tosses Eloise a lifeline.
Enjoy my content? Buy me a beer!
Coming to in the morning, she looked around, noticing additional clothes had been brought for her. All the Hartmann men are so polite about getting me to bed but not in bed. She thought of Bob, standing. Coveralls; do they expect me to start work here? Another set of dress clothes with another white shirt and light blue skirt and jacket. Next to that was a track suit, shorts, and tee shirt. That’s right: Stephen said to his son they might lift later last night. I bet there’s an exercise gym around here somewhere.
Pulling on the track suit – no running shoes so she put on her army boots – and making sure her badge was very noticeable, she walked out, squinting into the sunrise. I can at least get a thirty minute run in.
Not wanting to make trouble, she aimed roughly toward the forest to the northeast, away from the hangars. There seemed to be a few paths and there were already another half-dozen, three men, three woman, out running as well. For her, she found the air already to be a little on the warm side, compared to home.
Home. A country being torn apart and falling apart, from what Bob said, at the same time. I was captured by one side, am a guest of another, and wonder if it’s snowing on our apartment building right now, never to melt?
Thinking about home was enough to jog her memory about that unpleasant thing the Regent said last evening: “foreign spy.” And then there was whatever Stephen wouldn’t talk about. If I get to the meeting early, maybe I can ask her in private?
She took the path’s next left and then left again, headed back for a shower and change of clothes. But right outside of her Quonset hut, sitting on a log bench, was a woman.
I’ve seen her before, at the first big meeting, when most of their family was together. She was near that older man and they both were close to the Regent. Is this Aurelia’s mother? Seeing Eloise, the woman stood and waved with a smile. No, that’s impossible; she’s too young.
Getting closer, Eloise was shocked yet again. Aurelia has those pale gold eyes that flash and glow when she’s using those powers of hers. This woman’s are like the burnished eyes of a lion. And I was wrong. She is old. Her eyes…
In a light yellow sundress and sienna slippers, the woman raised both of her hands out to Eloise. She took them with something like the play of static in her fingers.
“Are… are you glowing?” Eloise asked. She gasped. “I’m sorry! That was rude! I am Eloise Patel, Canadian Army. A guest of Bob, er, Robert, and the Regent.”
“A pleasure, Miss Patel. I am Henge. Wife of Gary and mother of Aurelia and Roland. And grandmother of two more,” Henge announced. She shifted her hand to Eloise’s face. Another tingle. “And some people say that I do. Perhaps you’re special?”
“I’m a mutt of an officer in the army,” she replied. “But, I’m guessing you, that is, you are…?”
“Demi-human, as my silly sister says?” She laughed, dropping her hands. “I suppose. I’m a wife and mother and grandmother. I let Fussy have her word games.”
“I’m sorry, again. Fussy?”
“A childhood nickname of the Empress,” Henge winked with her index finger over her lips. “You didn’t hear that from me and will never use it to put her on the spot! Now, it looks as if you’re back from your run. Shower and change and I’ll take you to my daughter.”
“Thank you, um, Hengie, was it?”
“Hen-geh,” the strange but so polite and beautiful woman replied. “Here, I’ll come with you and get your outfit ready while you wash.”
“You really are a great mother, aren’t you?” Eloise smiled at her newest odd friend. These people can be so nice, then turn around and nuke St. Louis, kill everyone in DC, and threaten my country!
“Yes, we are an odd bunch, aren’t we?” Henge leaned in to whisper to Eloise’s ear. “I know you cannot marry Robert but being a concubine is an option, dear. Please do not despair.”
“Do all of you really know everything?” she asked, holding the door open for her senior to go in first.
“Heavens, no!” Her laugh was crystal water in a glacial stream. “We just know what we know!”
“And one thing you must know, Eloise… and get your clothes off and into the shower! Is that loyalty, to God, to family, is everything to us.” She hung up the suit jacket, pulled some small roller from her purse, and proceeded to seek out any stray lint which might have marred it.
“Yes, Ma’am. Er, Henge,” she said, stripping. “Yikes! The hot water doesn’t work!”
“That’s just my daughter playing with you,” Henge called back. “She’s a tough little legionary and expects it from those around her.”
These people… She had had worse in the field, but this was not how she would have treated a guest. Soap on, rinsed off, water off. Henge was holding a towel for her when she stepped out.
“You are pretty. I see why my nephew likes you,” she smiled, making her skin sparkle again. “You are Indian and White, the latter being English and Norman. It is the Indian element Fussy objects to. I have no idea why, what with her being half Chinese.”
“Even saying that in my country is illegal,” Eloise replied in a tone, quickly drying off.
“Which is why your country is doomed, young girl.” That she said it with her smile makes it worse. “In the Change, we are all race realist. Ah. I let my daughter know you wanted to see her, first. She just now replied for you to, quote, get her ass over here, then, unquote. I’ll wait outside for you.”