Suddenly all the room was to its feet, save Eudora and Gideon, who hastily rose so as not to be conspicuous.
“Remain calm!” Basil shouted. “Everyone remain calm!”
“What shall we do?” asked Oliver.
“We must seek shelter,” Basil ordered.
“I agree,” said Roland. “Mr. Pardekopper, show us to your cellar. Everyone, line up at the door, single file. No trampling your neighbors. Move it!”
Eudora looked around warily as the others in the room scurried to comply with Roland’s orders. She felt Gideon’s hand tap her shoulder and allowed him to herd her into the line while she looked about for any evidence of impact. Nothing had changed in the room except the seats being abandoned as everyone took to the door. Scattered nervous exchanges overlapped one another, but flittered away as single file wasn’t conducive to conversation.
I am ready for you this time, Eudora thought, clutching her reticule. Its weight was comforting in her hands as she thought of Mary’s “first mission gift” within the silken pouch.
They shuffled out of the room in a line as Roland brought up the rear, directly behind Gideon and Eudora. Gideon slowed his pace just enough to find himself closer to side-by-side with the surly man than directly in front of him.
I don’t like how he’s controlling things either, Eudora thought. We need to investigate somehow. They filed down the hall, through the kitchens, and down a narrow stairway into the cellar.
As soon as they arrived, Aaron spoke up. “The alarm’s stopped.”
“Does that mean the danger has passed?” asked Finnegan.
“It may simply mean we’re out of range,” Basil said almost indignantly.
“We need to judge that for ourselves,” Aaron replied.
“I couldn’t agree more,” Gideon chimed in. “I shall scout the area myself. Darling, stay here where you’ll be safe,” he added, this last directed to Eudora.
“You shouldn’t go until the danger has passed,” Basil whined.
“You should take the device to protect you,” Eudora said, with as much anxiety as she could project into her voice. “I couldn’t bear it if something happened to you, my dearest.”
Gideon turned to Roland. “If I may?”
“What will warn those of us tra—those of us remaining here?” Oliver asked, his voice quivering.
“I won’t be gone long,” Gideon said. “We must know if we’re safe again.”
“The man has a point,” Aaron said. “Give him the device.”
Roland shrugged, unbuckled the device from his wrist, and thrust it at Gideon. Gideon began to apply it to his arm, and Eudora took the chance to come forward and assist him.
She looked it over. It doesn’t look any less like a watch here than it does from across the parlour, she thought. Gideon caught her eye and discreetly mouthed the words: Don’t wait up, dear.
I won’t, Eudora thought, surprised that a hint of amusement made its way through her determination.
Gideon left the cellar to search for invisible monsters.