While the rest of the gang were amused by Stephen’s amusing aside about Speculate and Waite Attorneys at Law and More, Kitty once again experienced the intense vision of lawyers gang raping Lady Justice. Once again, her mind grappled to hold on to it, so she could unpack and examine it. Once again, her attempts proved futile. This time she drew no attention to herself, and chose not to mention it to anyone.

Holding Margot’s dead phone in his hands, Eric asked, “What do we do about our phones? If the tunnel destroys them, there’s no point taking them with us.”

Madonna was the first to laugh, but Stephen wasn’t far behind. “Kitty and Lance may be too young to remember, but there was a time, not so long ago, when we all managed to live without having a computer the size of a Pop Tart in our hands, transfixing us like a hypnotist’s swinging watch.”

Chuckling, Stephen concurred, and assured everyone, “If necessary, we’ll be able to buy new ones, when we get to our destinations. Same thing goes for laptops.Since she’s not going to London today, we can leave them all with Margot, for now. She can leave them in our rooms, and plug them in, to charge. If there’s some piece of data on them that’s vitally important, we just go back into the tunnel, to the hub, and straight to our rooms, literally in no time at all. But, as Madge says, I’m sure we’ll manage to survive.”

Noticing a wild grin on Margot’s face, Kitty asked, “What’s so funny.”

“You triggered a memory. A funny line, from WC Fields, who, if you don’t know, was known to enjoy tippling, on occasion. His crack was, ‘Reminds me of the time we were stuck in the middle of the desert, without a corkscrew. We had to survive on nothing but food and water for almost three days.’”

Amused as she was by Margot’s tale, Kitty saw no reason to go back to the per-Internet dark ages. “Just get the hotels we’re staying at to buy new laptops and phones for all of us. We may need to be able to communicate with each other instantly.” That was agreed to without argument.

Lance was curious to know, “What do we use for light in the tunnel?”

Slapping herself in the forehead, Margot said, “Oops. Guess I forgot to explain that. No artificial light works in the tunnel.”

“So, we bring torches?’ asked Lance.

“No need,” Margot assured them. “You are the light.” Noting the clear confusion the statement resulted in, she explained, “You literally are the light. The light inside you, inside your soul, your love. That radiates through your body, and lights the path.”

“Now that is wild,” declared Eric the elder, the amateur theologian. So, like Jesus, and Horus before him, you are the light.”

Although tempted, Kitty managed to not divert to conversation onto the Jesus and Horus path.

“Love is the light,” said Margot. “The more love you have, the more love you create, the more love you are, the brighter you shine in the tunnel.” Then, looking at the brothers, she added, But we are going to need artificial light in the hub.”

“I have a couple big headlamps in the truck,” said Marc, “I’ll go get ‘em.”

“I take it VoV was a source of light, when you met her,” said Madonna.

“Yes,” Margot confirmed. “We could see her from… this is impossible to explain. I was going to say we saw her from a mile away. But there’s no such thing as distance in the tunnel. It can seem like you are walking a great distance, over a long period of time, before you get to where you’re going, even though no time has elapsed, and you get from here to anywhere faster than you would in a rocket ship. If you’re ready to get to where you’re going, that is. So, you can linger in there, lollygagging, as long as you want, and it can seem like forever. But then, as soon as you’re ready to get where you’re going, you’re there.”

“Absolutely wild,” exclaimed Eric. “This just gives us more incentive to conclude our biz here, as soon as possible.” His brothers nodded their agreement.

The King of Horror had a question, or a thought, “If a creature has no love inside, it will be invisible in the tunnel. Almost like Gollum.”

Margot shrugged her shoulders, and answered, “That sounds rigt. But can anything live without love inside? I mean, I am sure you’ve created such characters in your works, but were any of them completely devoid of love? Because Gollum was not. And I suspect even Sauron had some love in him.”

Stephen palmed his face, and shook his head. Removing his hand from his face, he said, “I didn’t even know the characters I have created were actual living things, until Kitty told me about VoV. This is all insane.”

Studying Stephen, and feeling some of what he was feeling, Madonna said, “Insane, and starting to get a little scary.”

Stephen bug-eyed at Madonna’s admission, prompting Margot to assure everyone, “Your love is not only your light, it’s also your shield. Your protection. Twas ever thus; forever shall it be. I don’t believe, for a second, that any creature of the dark can harm you inside the tunnel, if there are any in there.”

Margot had been addressing everyone, but now she focused on the King of Horror. “You have to understand, Stephen, that even the foulest character you ever created was created by your love. Your love for storytelling. The opposite of love, is hate. If you hated telling stories, you could never write a great one. They’d all suck. No one would read them, and the vile creatures you created would die, all alone. But you love storytelling, so you write great stories. And the creatures you created, the heinous ones, live on, only because people read your stories. People love your stories. It’s the love of your fans that keeps your dark characters alive. So, if there are any dark beings in the tunnel, and they come for you, they are coming for your love. Even if they hate you, they want you to love them. Their darkness cannot penetrate your light. But your light can and will penetrate their darkness, if they don’t run away.”

Stephen rewound the tape, just a bit, “The creatures I have created live on, only because my fans read, and love the stories they are in? That’s fascinating. True, of course. So, in some way, they must love me?”

Again, Margot said, “That sounds rigt.”

Puzzled, Stephen asked, himself, more than anyone else, “But VoV? How does this explain VoV?”

It was Lance who chimed in, “Perhaps you’ll have the opportunity to buy him a beer, or two, and talk it through.”

King smiled, and replied, “I don’t imagine VoV’s made any money over the years, so I’ll be picking up the tab for that one, too.”

“Sure,” Lance agreed, “but what a story you’ll get for such a low price. Far less than the million bucks you had to pay out for Kitty’s tale.”

Before the two writers could riff away on those possibilities, Kitty said to Margot, “Wanna try Steve one more time?” Margot did, and got no answer. “Well, then,” Kitty said to the gang, “shall we turn the page?”

No one objected, but Lance asked, “I wonder if this is how astronauts feel when they start the walk across the launch pad?”

“If there are no objections, we should take the door I created, straight to the hub. It’ll save us some time.”

There were no objections, but Madonna spotted a possible problem, “We need to get rid of Daisy. Unless we want her to see us vanish into thin air.”

“Actually, she may have seen me walk in. I saw that none of you were looking, but I didn’t think to check to see if she was.” Once again, Margot asked for Eric’s phone, and made a quick call. “Hey, we need a favour. We’re at the Valhalla. Can you call here, and have Daisy called to the front desk? Yeah, rigt now. Great. Thanks. I will talk to you in a bit.”

“Your brother,” Kitty asked.

“Yeah.” As soon as Daisy started her retreat into the lobby, Margot said, “C’mon class, follow Miss Margot, we’re going on a field trip. Everyone leave your phones and laptops on the table, and I’ll pick them up when the guys and I come back.” Taking Kitty by the hand, she said, “We have to use the buddy system, so no one gets lost. So everyone get your bags, and pick a buddy. I got Kitty. Marc, Kitty and I will go first, so if we can have those headlamps, please. If the rest of you want to linger in the tunnel for a bit, to get a feel of it, go ahead. Kitty and I will be waiting in the hub, and guide you in.”  Five seconds later, they were all gone.




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