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Guest Red Ranger 1

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Beth put the phone down.“That was Kit’s counsellor.He says he’s very pleased with her progress.She’s finally opening up about what happened with the baby, starting the proper grieving process.He thinks she’s got a good chance of staying sober when she gets out.”

“That’s good news,”Kim noted, the relief in his voice genuine.

Beth looked at Matilda.“I don’t really understand what they’re all saying about you but if it’s true that you came here to help us then…thank you.If you really were my daughter, I’d be very proud of you.”

Matilda looked into that face that was so familiar and so strange at the same time, feeling a lump in her throat.“Can you just pretend I am your daughter?For a bit longer?”

“Oh, of course, sweetheart.”Beth hugged her gently, not really understanding Matilda’s need to hold onto her but surrendering to it all the same.Finally they released each other and she touched her not-quite-daughter’s face.“I’ll let you all say goodbye.”

Matilda turned to Lucas and Lisa.“You two just look after yourselves, okay?You’ve got a good thing here, don’t waste it.”They nodded and she hugged them both.Then she turned to Kim.“And as for you…”

“Yeah, come on then,”he agreed.

Matilda looked at him in surprise.“Where are you going?”

“To that museum, of course.If I’ve learned anything from these past few days, it’s that you need someone to keep an eye on you.”

“Excuse me, I wasn’t the one that got bashed over the head,”she reminded him as they headed out to the car.

Matilda and Kim bought their tickets again and made their way to the right gallery.They found the pyramid standing where they’d left it, taped off, a guard on duty, various visitors milling around.They also saw something else.“It’s not glowing,”Kim pointed out.

“No,”Matilda was forced to agree.

“You said you could only leave if it was glowing.What does that mean?”

“I don’t know, maybe there’s something else I need to do here or…”The memory came into her head suddenly.“When I came here, it didn’t glow until I touched it.”

“Why was that?”

“Maybe because I wouldn’t have touched it otherwise or maybe because Ric was there…Yes!If it glowed now and someone else touched it, they’d be transported instead of me!It’s waiting for me!”

Kim was trying to process this.“So, you go over there, you touch it, it starts glowing and you’re transported?”

“That’s the plan.”

“And if it doesn’t?”

“Then I guess I’ll have a lot of explaining to do.”She sighed.“But if it works, then this is goodbye.And in the nicest way possible, I hope it is.”

“Well, I hope so too.I mean, my Mattie’s a lot less high maintenance than you are.”

“How am I high maintenance?”

“Um, dragging us to a drug dealer’s flat?”

Matilda smiled despite herself.“Yeah, okay, point taken.”She looked at him for a moment.“You know, hard as it is to believe, I’m going to miss you.”She hesitated for a moment before kissing him on the cheek. “One last favour for your high maintenance temporary girlfriend?”

“What did you have in mind?”

“Distract the guard?”

Kim glanced across at the burly middle-aged man in the guard’s uniform.“What, you think I’m his type?”

“Talk to him about gym equipment or something.Go on!”Matilda gave him a gentle shove in the right direction while moving to the edge of the tape surrounding the pyramid.

Kim checked she was in position before approaching the guard, guidebook in hand.“Sorry, mate, I’m a bit lost, can you direct me to the gallery where this is?”

Seeing the guard’s attention focused on Kim, Matilda ducked under the tape, ran up the dais and laid her hand on the pyramid.“Come on, please,”she whispered.She counted the seconds in her head and thankfully she’d only just reached three when the pyramid glowed brightly for a moment and she vanished.

Everyone in the gallery shielded their eyes from the flash.The guard looked round, bewildered.“What was that?”

Kim shrugged.“Solar flare?”

Matilda approached the door to the caravan park house slowly, not quite sure what she was going to find. She stepped inside and was relieved to see Ric just coming through from the interior door.He stopped and looked at her.“Mattie?It…it’s you, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, it’s me.”She managed the few steps over to where he was standing, then fell into his arms, exhausted.“Ric, I’ve been…”

“Yeah, I know,”he interrupted,“Through the looking glass.”

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Still feels as though there’s a chapter left.

Well, you're right there was a chapter left and here it is.See what you think of it.And everyone else too.


Matida had never been more glad to be back in her own bed.There had been quite a few times recently when, for one reason or another, she’d doubted she’d ever see it again.She glanced at Ric lying next to her, carefully pushing any memories of Kim to the back of her mind.That was one item she was definitely filing under “Things we’re never going to mention”.

“Well, it sounds as though you did a good job,”Ric told her.

Matilda wasn’t entirely convinced by the sentiment.“I’m not so sure.”

“Well, obviously you didn’t do as well as I did…”

She glared at him.“I’d like to see how you’d cope with being confronted by a knife-wielding psycho.”

“You did,”he reminded her.

“Oh yeah.”Memories of someone who was unlikely to win the Nobel peace prize in any universe weren’t top of her things to mention either.

“So come on, what do you think you did wrong?”

“It’s not that I did anything wrong exactly, it’s just that I didn’t do that much right.I mean, from what you told me you had an awful lot of people’s lives to sort out.All I had to do was get Kit sobered up.”

“And smash an international drug cartel.”

“It wasn’t international, Ric.”

He shrugged.“Whatever.”

Matilda had the feeling she wasn’t getting through to him.“I just can’t help feeling there’s something else I was supposed to do, someone else I was supposed to help.”

“The pyramid let you back through, didn’t it?”

“It deposited me in the middle of a hardware store.”

“It was the equivalent of that museum…Anyway.If you hadn’t done what you were supposed to do, it would have made you stay there.”

“Maybe it decided I wasn’t up for the job.”

“Or maybe something else did happen, something you didn’t even know about it, and your being there was the reason.”

“Oh yeah?Like what?”

For a moment, she was sure saw a furtive look on his face.“Well…I’m sure there’s some things you don’t know about.”

A universe away, another Matilda was sitting on her own in the bathroom, waiting.She heard Kim’s voice drift through from the bedroom.“Mattie, are you done in there?”

“In a minute,”she called back.

“I had to put up with your high maintenance replacement for the last few days, remember?It’d be good to see what you look like.”

“Yeah, I’ll be with you in a minute,”she repeated.She was relieved when he lapsed into silence.

Matilda looked down at the pregnancy test.The result was in and, with mixed feelings, she saw that it was positive.On the one hand, it was what she and Kim had always wanted.But on the other, she was going to have a hard time explaining to him how it had happened…


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