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datatime: 2022-10-08 02:20:38 Author:zOiewziD

Someone, some unknown but very real and physical one, had somehow been in here and turned down the fear-stimulation controls, releasing Garrison from his nightmares. Someone was here, in this very house, right now. It was crazy, ridiculous, but it was the only solution.

And yet... it had been attempted Most certainly. And it had succeeded. Garrison's weight was up.

And coming awake when once more the sun had fallen upon him, he had seen that they were through the pass and that the river's bed was dry and cracked in places, and that the surrounding land was weathered into strange formations here, and the Machine moved more slowly under heavy, dark and oppressive skies.

By 5.15 A.M. he was drinking coffee in his study. He had not noticed the missing milk or sandwiches.

And that, he told himself, is that

-And came back.

And that, he told himself, is that

But between times, in the room of the machine...

Or could it be Terri herself, half-crazy with guilt, perhaps even schizoid? Wyatt remembered thinking to himself that she was taking all of this very well. Perhaps this was her get-out, her escape route from actions she could neither control nor tolerate. No, no - a fool idea. He cursed himself for his mind's illogical processing of data. How could it possibly be Terri? She had been right here with him when things started to go wrong. And so on, chasing his thoughts in a circle - but only for a few minutes, until common-sense took over.

By 5.15 A.M. he was drinking coffee in his study. He had not noticed the missing milk or sandwiches.

Not before that time and never since, until now, had Garrison suffered claustrophobia.

At 6.00 A.M. he felt an almost irresistible urge to check Garrison's condition, but somehow managed to fight it ?off. Psychomech would do the job, he was sure. And at 6.30, after a hot shower, he allowed himself to fall asleep for two hours, only waking up at Tern's insistent ringing at the doorbell.

But between times, in the room of the machine...

Things had started to go wrong some time ago. Garrison had known it, had instinctively sensed it, that

Just after 4.00 A.M. Wyatt returned to the machine room, gave Garrison an opiate booster, turned up fear-stimulation to the full and jammed the controls firmly in that position. Then, leaving the room, he padlocked the door and pocketed the keys.

Not before that time and never since, until now, had Garrison suffered claustrophobia.

Koenig? The German manservant seemed most eligible, Wyatt had to admit. He could have gone to Germany, turned around and flown straight back. He could be here right now, looking after his master's interests as always. But if he was here, and if he knew what was going on, why didn't he just come right on out of the woodwork, free Garrison and make an accusation?

He searched everywhere. Up and downstairs, the cellar, the attic, all the larger cupboards. Not only was there no one there, there were nq signs that anyone had been there ...

He went downstairs. Terri would be here in a little over four hours. By then everything must be under control; Garrison dead, all records completely up to date, and Wyatt's own nerves steady once more. He had work to do. But first a wash and a shave, then coffee. Lots of strong, black coffee.

Not before that time and never since, until now, had Garrison suffered claustrophobia.

And that, he told himself, is that

By 5.15 A.M. he was drinking coffee in his study. He had not noticed the missing milk or sandwiches.

At 6.00 A.M. he felt an almost irresistible urge to check Garrison's condition, but somehow managed to fight it ?off. Psychomech would do the job, he was sure. And at 6.30, after a hot shower, he allowed himself to fall asleep for two hours, only waking up at Tern's insistent ringing at the doorbell.

And that, he told himself, is that

He searched everywhere. Up and downstairs, the cellar, the attic, all the larger cupboards. Not only was there no one there, there were nq signs that anyone had been there ...

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