The Willow Society

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Chapter 47

Chapter 47

As Lou walked away from the HQ and Taylor, her insides tightened. She couldn't fault Izzy for what Lou had overheard the other girl say. Still part of Lou couldn't help but feel sympathy for the heart-stricken Taylor. What can I do other than the little I just did? Nothing. Izzy hadn't seen her and Lou was sure the other girl had no idea she had overheard anything. Lou had been on her way to check on Myth, whom she hadn't seen since earlier in the night. Lou had gone upstairs and sleep a little, then in restlessness had gotten up and exercised.

Now, Lou walked to Myth's lab, the hallway separating the HQ and Myth's lab was quiet. Helen was asleep on a sofa inside her study. The woman snored, so Lou let her be. Inside her lab, Myth was tinkering around, bright lights overhead making Lou's eyes hurt some. It was sparser than the last time Lou had been inside the place, Myth had yet to reconstitute the room after Sue-Ann and Isabel had disbanded the Society, made them all leave.

“Too bright in here.“ Lou mumbled.

“Ahh!“ Myth shouted. “You scared the crap out of me!“

“Sorry. How's it coming? You sleep yet?“

Myth shook her head in the negative. “No. Couldn't. This device. I'm close. If I sleep I might lose my chance.“ The younger girl's voice was frantic and it startled Lou. Myth was always excitable, but this seemed different.

“Myth? What's going on?“ Lou asked, confused.

“Um. Nothing.“ Myth blinked up at her. “Nothing. Just researching. I mean. I'm close. I can feel it. Really.“ Myth said. She was wide-eyed, hyper.

Lou shrugged. Myth is odd sometimes. “What have you found?“

Myth grew more excited, perked up more. “It's like a tiny fMRI machine! You know?Functional Magnetic Resonance Imager. Only, well, it transmits on frequencies of brain waves, rather than imaging, exactly, “ Myth struggled to explain, wiped her nose on her sleeve, gesticulated wildly. “See an fMRI works by...“ She saw Lou's jaw twitch and she smiled, abashed. “Sorry.“ Myth knew Lou didn't have the head or desire for technology, especially when Myth nattered on, insensibly.

Myth continued, slower. “Well, what I think it sends an electromagnetic interference pattern on the level of brain waves. I think it interrupts brain activity, on a basic level. It probably does more, but I haven't really figured it all out yet, I need someone to test it on, without a manual or something....“ Myth was obviously eager at the idea of testing it on someone.

Lou shook her head. “Not a good idea. Not until you know what it is going to do.“

Myth sighed, but still upbeat. “But I think I do. I mean I know I do! I know it can do more, I'm sure...”

Lou arched an eyebrow, Myth stopped short.

“You're right. I'll keep at it...“ Myth stammered, shaking a little.

“You need sleep.“ Lou offered, not as a suggestion.

“I'm not tired!“ Myth protested. “Not at all. I have, like, so much more work to do and if I sleep now I might lose my train of thought or Isabel might come back. Then I'm screwed, I won't be able to use my lab for Tori knows how long! I'm OK, really, I just need to figure this out.“ Myth wiped her nose again, smiled at Lou. Still tired, Lou nodded and said, “Fine. Come get me if you find anything else out.“

Lou walked out of Myth's lab and saw Helen no longer lying asleep on the sofa in her study. Pushing the already ajar door fully open, Lou edged into the room, quietly, in case Helen had moved to another sofa to sleep. For some reason Helen preferred to sleep on sofas, particularly the two in this little room. Helen was not on either sofa. Lou moved further into the study. Nothing. She started to leave when a rustle of fabric and a hand on her shoulder jolted her. I must be exhausted for Helen to be able to sneak up on me. Lou tensed fought back the desire to attack.

“Helen.“ she said. For some reason Lou always found it hard to maintain her calm, emotionless state around Helen.

Helen smiled benevolently, understanding. She rubbed her wrist a bit and smiled.

“Is everything alright, dear?“ Helen said, holding eye contact.

“Yes. It's been a long night and it all seems silly, like a pointless waste of time, a dangerous pointless waste of time.“ Lou said, shaking her head.

“Well, what did you all find?“ Helen said. Lou wanted to scold her, for letting Myth talk her into going to Gracie. Lou chilled at the thought of something happening to Helen. She knew she could bear the thought much less the reality. “Helen, you can't ever do that again, you know that, right?“

Helen smiled rakishly. “Don't you worry about old Helen, dear. I'm tough as nails and older than the hammer. Nothing is gonna beat me.“

Lou smiled. Helen had that effect on her. She told Helen about the device and Myth's garbled explanation of what it might be able to do. Helen seemed not to really understand any better than Lou. Lou told her about what Taylor and Winston having found nothing so far. Lou had no real idea what Helen would find to be too much, the older woman didn't balk at anything the Society did, and what they had done the night before was enough to land them all in jail, yet Helen was unperturbed.

When Lou was finished Helen sipped at a cup of tea she picked up from a little table. “That's quite a lot dear. Honestly, I don't see what those old broads are so caught up about. It's not like you kids ever get caught.“ She smiled. “Well I'm sure you have things to be about...“

Lou accepted the dismissal and left the dainty woman, pretended not to notice the woman tippling Creme De Menthe into her tea.

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