Kurt and Col. Hayward came out to meet us. The Colonel took charge of pushing my chair and Kurt walked around my Jeep twice, scanning it with one of his gizmos. I didn’t want to know what he was looking for, any more than I wanted to know why he thought he should scan for something nasty.
“You don’t have allergies,” Hayward said, once we were all inside. He was still behind me, and I turned enough to see him frowning at the back of my neck.
“Now I do,” I said. Then I saw Angela standing in the doorway of the main room. She looked like she hadn’t slept, and she had her peacock shawl wrapped around her, over her usual blue handkerchief print dress. “I’ve had invasion dreams. All day yesterday. The snake is moving.”
“The defenses of the town are …” Angela shrugged and took a deep breath. Exhaled. “Wobbling is the closest description. Fluctuating, strong and weak, badly enough to cause discord with the music of the shop’s defenses. It was heavy Christmas Eve, faded during the day, then resumed once Ben and Bethany left. I spent most of the night bringing everything back into tune.” She held out a hand to me. “Franklin and I have been discussing your problem.”
Kurt was heading down the hall ahead of me, and he glanced back, cocked an eyebrow, met my gaze, then shifted to Hayward, who was still behind me. My brain was working slower than normal before I caught on. So that was Hayward’s first name. Franklin Hayward. Since he was also a Lost Kid, I wondered who had found him and where, and the reasons for naming him.