He tried to muster the courage to knock but found himself lacking.
‘Perhaps I should check on her first,’ said Garovel
Hector gave a small nod, and the reaper phased through the door. He waited for the report.
‘...She’s lying in bed and watching the news.’
He wasn’t sure what he’d been expecting.
‘Ah, it’s about you. “Darksteel Soldier abducts King.” As expected. Can’t tell what your mother thinks of it. Hard to say if she’s even paying attention or not.’
Hector had no response. He stared vacantly at the door in front of him, just waiting, dreading the moment that he knew was coming.
‘They’re talking about Lynn, too, though they don’t seem to have identified her yet. Probably just a matter of time. I wonder if they’ve given her a nickname, also.’
He looked down the hallway on both sides. A number of people were walking past or standing in doorways chatting. Several of them were giving him odd looks. Still, it was better to have them wondering about the motorcycle helmet than to have them scrambling to call the police. Or the army. At this point, he wasn’t sure who would respond.
‘Hector, we can’t drag this out. We don’t know how much time we have.’
Another deep breath. He knocked on the door with the back of his gloved fist.
‘She’s getting up.’
More waiting. Then he heard her voice.
“Who is it?” she said from beyond the door’s peephole. Her voice was not strong at all. He hoped it was just the helmet playing tricks on his ears, but he doubted it.
He still couldn’t quite get a word out, so he lifted the visor of his helmet instead.
A long spell of silence followed until she finally just said, more haggard than angry, “Go away.”
“I can’t,” he said, a bit more vigorously than he expected of himself. “Please. Mom.”
Then, to Hector’s surprise, he heard the door unlocking. It opened, and his mother was already shuffling back to her bed by the time Hector entered. He closed the door behind him.