The Voice, by Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould

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                           - 30 -

"And so is Lord Gilbert's request. You have a new
manuscript that describes these things in detail. Lord
Gilbert owns an option on it. The sooner you show it to him
the sooner this entire matter will be resolved."

The phone rang. As Rick lifted the cell phone from his
pocket I lifted a Dream Catcher aggie to the light and
traced the intricate electronic patterns that wove reality
into form. It was incredible how such a small thing could
produce such results-perhaps even magical.

Rick barely noticed as I pocketed it for good luck,
pausing intently as he received instructions. "Yes, Lord
Gilbert. No, Lord Gilbert. I'll tell him." He rang off as if
he'd been cut off abruptly then paused. His look was glassy
and distant, nearly the opposite of what it had been a
moment ago. "Most people would be envious to have a contract
and an eager publisher waiting for their manuscript." He
said averting his eyes. "But since I know you're not like
most people, all I can say is I'll give you 48 hours to hand
it over. If I haven't heard from you by then, you'll be
hearing from me."

The screens seemed to flicker even brighter this time,
but I said nothing as I turned my back on Rick Kendall and
found my way out. There was nothing left to say. I was
fighting with a feudal baron named Lord Gilbert De Clare who
had won this battle and probably the war.

I had 48 hours to conjure up a solution. But as I faced
the cold December winds outside the Transitron building, I
could think of nothing but the darkness about to descend and
the ghostly faces of those who had walked these streets
before me.