...... = thought quotation
...... = the Iturbe-monster speaking directly to the minds of others.
Chapter 23: Farewell
THE POLICE had many questions, but twelve hours after they found a naked teenager named Sue Kino weeping over two butchered cadavers, Leah Goodman-Wang descended upon them in righteous legal wrath, and she was not alone. The girl, who had done no more than identify herself and the victims, was released within another hour.
The press was out in force, even with all the coverage of the big UFO story--but when Tsukino Usagi emerged from the building, she wore the awful majesty of a mourning queen. People melted away from her, and from her friends, when she joined them. More than half the cameras and microphones trained on her stopped working, forever; technicians would later find cracked and even powdered parts inside them. One of the last film photographers would find something extraordinary in his darkroom later--but he would never sell the image, and never show it to anyone else, not in the thirty-nine years he had to live afterward.
Even Leah and the legal help she'd organized could not get the police to release Chibi-Usa's body for two weeks. Nancy thought Usagi would never go to school the next day, after listening to her weep through the night, but she did. She returned, did her homework, helped with cleaning up after dinner, and went to bed, sleeping soundly. But she didn't talk, not any more than was absolutely necessary.
At night, Nancy hardly slept, until the third night when Usagi got up to pee, as ever. When Usagi came back, she sat down on Nancy's bed, and said, "You don't have to be afraid here. The Grey Lady's wards are holding. He cannot reach us here. Leah explained it to me."
"But she is dead."
"That does not matter."
"How can you be sure?"
"If he could attack in here, he would."
"He could just be toying with us."
"No. He likes to do that, but he fears the power of the Grey Lady. He did not attack her until he was sure she was weak. I heard his true thoughts."
"But when we leave--"
"He has to fight me. He fears that I will grow more powerful if he waits too long, but he is too weak now. He will wait. He will wait for the New Moon. He is strongest in the New Moon, when the face of the moon is dark. He thinks I will be weakest then, since my power is drawn from the Moon."
"Is he right?"
"I do not know. Magic works differently in your world. Most of my powers did not seem to be tied to the phases of our moon. But once we had to wait for the full moon to go there . . . I do not know." Usagi hugged Nancy.
"How can you be so strong?" asked Nancy.
"I . . . I won't give up. I may not win. But I must fight him . . . it. No one else in your world can stop it now. Perhaps others will come to help, but your world is hard to get to, the Grey Lady said. This thing will kill again and again, more and more, and I think it will grow stronger and stronger. Maybe I can stop it now. I have to try."
"Aren't you afraid?"
"Yes, inside . . . but I remember Chibi-Usa. She was always braver than me. I will try to fight as bravely as her . . . it is all I have left to do."
"But how can you just go to school?"
"If I stop going, I will give it pleasure. I won't."
Finals started one week and one day after the police released Usagi.
Sergeant Arteminski, Lieutenant Martini, and many other people who had seen moon angels continued to spend their days talking to psychologists and their nights sleeping in secured wards.
It was a somber graduation. Jimmy was the valedictorion. Usagi finished far below that, but her grades would be good enough to get her into most American colleges.
The next day was Chibi-Usa's funeral.
The moon was a few nights past full. Nancy rode with Jimmy and Usagi on their after-midnight errand.
It took two hours to reach the spot. They stopped at a windy overlook, and Usagi scattered Chibi-Usa's ashes upon the wind from the sea. They floated up in a silvery spiral, and were lost into the night.
"Why didn't you keep her ashes?" Nancy asked.
"I want to think that she is everywhere," Usagi answered.
Then they went home.
Nancy woke up to a wonderful, warm summer morning. The light rain that had fallen on their way home had washed all the pollution from the air. It was as nice a day as Nancy had ever experienced. Even the sadness of the days before, the fears of the night, and the obscenity of the murders could not steal the beauty of this moment. Would she try to think of this moment when that thing was killing her, as it had promised?
Nancy saw that Usagi's bed was empty.
She came downstairs, where her mother and stepfather were going through the papers. Her mother was cutting out things for her scrapbooks, and Nancy saw that she was saving all the funeral stories. Nancy got a plate and scooped up some scrambled eggs from the electric skillet, set on "warm" as her mother usually did for weekend and summertime breakfasts. Checking the fridge, she noticed there was plenty of orange juice--something there never was if Usagi had been there first. "Hasn't Sue eaten yet?" Nancy asked.
Her mother looked back at her oddly. Then she said, "No. No, she hasn't . . . Why don't you make up a tray? She's with Jimmy. Take him some food, too; if he waits much longer, he won't have time to eat before we have to start getting him ready to go."
"Go? Oh, yeah." Jimmy had to catch a plane in a few hours. He was going to be a Marine again.
Nancy actually didn't figure it out until she walked into Jimmy's room--without knocking--and found him in bed. With Usagi.
When they came back from the airport, Usagi spent most of her time with her art supplies. With pastels, she turned out a wonderful picture of Jimmy waving to them, just before entering the plane. "I think you must have some of your father's talent," remarked Nancy, when Usagi gave her the picture."
"Or my mother's. She was a commercial artist, before she married otousan."
"And she gave it up?"
"Otousan takes a lot of taking-care-of."
They actually laughed. But then Nancy began to cry. Usagi sat down next to her, and gently took the picture away. "If you get it wet, you will spoil it."
"I know why you did it!"
"You know what?"
"I know why you did it! I know why you made love with Jimmy!"
"I love Jimmy-chan. He is leaving, and I could not--"
"That's not true!"
"You don't think I love Jimmy-chan?"
"That's not what I mean! You love him, but you have always been faithful to your fiance. No matter how much you wanted Jimmy. But you did it because it doesn't matter now."
"Does not matter? It matters to me! I NEVER did this with anyone but Mamo-chan."
"It doesn't matter because you don't think you will ever see your first love . . . you think you're going to die!"
Jimmy was going to Florida for the next part of his Marine training. There was a long wait in Dallas/Fort Worth; mechanical trouble downed the plane he was supposed to take, and it took hours before the airline found a replacement--an elderly DC-10 hired from a charter company.
The moon was out above the clouds when they reached altitude, and Jimmy watched it for a long time. He realized they would be landing fairly soon, and he decided to visit a restroom while he still could.
Washing up afterward, he saw something strange in the mirror . . . and something gripped his heart in an icy grip.
Buenos noches, jarhead! I saw you with the Moon Slut . . .
Jimmy tried to open the door, but his arms lost their feeling. Darkness filled his eyes.
I haven't decided whether to do your sister before or after your slut . . . after, I think. For dessert. I'll have enough energy from your slut to materialize for a long, long time. I want to . . .
Jimmy's mind was filled with unbelievably sickening images. Somehow he remembered what the Grey Lady had said about the creature that was doing this . . . Fight . . . Fight it!
Oh, I don't think so, jarhead . . . I won't tell your slut I did you until the last, just before I take off her head. I'll let her wonder . . . but don't worry, jarhead. I wouldn't let you die alone . . .
The icy grip was released. Jimmy began to breathe again. But he was so weak . . . it took him a long time just to reach the emergency button.
The flight attendants were just pulling him out of the restroom when the pilot slumped over his controls. The plane went into a spin. The co-pilot almost recovered when his heart suddenly stopped.
Jimmy died with 198 others.
Chapter 24: The New Moon
Usagi waited at the bus stop to say goodbye to Nancy, as she had promised. She was wearing a new Sailor Moon costume, under her coat, though she hadn't been able to find boots--she settled for a pair of red pumps, like Rei usually wore.
Finally Nancy came up, Looking at her clothes and her makeup, Usagi asked, "Nancy, are you going on a date?"
"Sort of . . . are you really sure you can fight this thing this time?"
After looking around, Usagi transformed. It was hard to tell at first, but she looked . . . different. Then she took on wings--not white, this time, but colored, with rainbow waves . . . eight colors, like the eight feathers Dr. Goodman had worn on each side of her head. The baton she was holding became a wand with a heart-shaped double guard. And a flower-shaped jewel grew and glowed at the base of her throat. Sailor Moon pointed to the jewel and said, "This is the ginzuishou. It was always within me. If nothing else works, I will use its full power. It will take my life, but that power can destroy worlds. That thing may take my life, but it will not escape punishment."
"Take me with you," said Nancy.
"You cannot fight it."
"I helped you try to bring back Chibi-Usa. That almost worked."
"It will kill you."
"Maybe. Maybe while it's getting its jollies doing me, you can get a clean shot . . . I don't want to just wait for it any more. What's the point of living a little longer if you don't get it? I want help you to get this thing. I want payback for Chibi and Kim. For Jimmy, too. I just know this thing killed him."
Sailor Moon fingered the necklace Nancy was wearing. It was made of paper cranes, and did not match the rest of the outfit. She remembered Chibi-Usa making it many of these, but this one had been made with special care. And Chibi-Usa had never told her she had made something for Nancy.
Sailor Moon embraced Nancy in her arms and her great wings.
Nancy felt something flow into her, warm and cool, sweet and bitter, smelling of baby powder and the sting of ozone. Then they rose into the coppery sky.
Eric, upstairs playing yet another video game, caught something, but by the time he reached his window, he thought the distant flying form must be a crane. With nothing to give the figure scale, nearly all the few people below who bothered to look at the sky just thought they saw a pretty bird, while there was light enough to see.
"Why are we flying, anyway? Do you think it will be there before you figured?"
"No. I just didn't want to take the bus."
Their laughter was heard below, but very few drivers looked up from their traffic grumps.
The Victorian Hills Mall was open again, although the half-built parking garage had been demolished--what Sailor Moon hadn't pulverized, demolition workers had after the structure was condemned. Since the collapse was unexplained, there were a lot of lawsuits flying over its remains.
The mall lot and the neighborhood around it wasn't overcrowded when Sailor Moon arrived with Nancy. The sky was indigo, and no one noticed them set down. Sailor Moon folded her wings so they looked like a cape, and simply walked into the parking lot with Nancy. Nancy was dressed daringly, with a very minimal miniskirt and a tight knit top that left her midriff showing. She had painted her face heavily. She had made herself into a sign: Come and get me first, demon-rapist. Don't wait. The paper-crane necklace didn't fit the ensemble--but Nancy hadn't thought of leaving it behind, once she'd found it again unexpectedly before leaving to join Usagi.
But, of course, Nancy also attracted boys--as did Sailor Moon, perhaps even more so with her long legs peeking from her "cape" as she walked. A clot of them lazing in the parking lot started following them, the bolder ones jogging ahead. "Hey, do you cook as good as you look?" one of them said, thinking himself clever.
They backed off once they saw the Goodman sisters, though--there was nothing that leaped out and said "three witches," but the boys decided there was more action in the Mall, and walked on inside.
Dolores said, "Unless you want to wear those wings all night, could you use this?" She handed Sailor Moon an overcoat--obviously her own; she was almost as tall as Dr. Goodman had been."
"No, thank you. I've never been in this form before. I want to grow used to it. Let's go inside. I'm hungry. Do they have good Chinese food here?"
Nancy picked at a plate of eggrolls and fried rice, while Sailor Moon ate enormously. The Cantonese booth at the food court wasn't part of a chain; it was a little family business, and almost all the young people working there were relatives. They spoke no Japanese, but they knew about Sailor Moon, and they were fascinated to have a customer who was wearing such a great costume. Sailor Moon talked about the show and her favorite characters, and they never suspected that her "insights" were about real people. She even went through another burlesque of Sailor Moon as she had at Halloween, with Chibi-Moon, making a little crowd of kids laugh. Nancy was about to swallow her heart when it was finished. Sailor moon put a comforting hand on Nancy's shoulder and said, "Remember, this thing lives by killing joy. Perhaps I have just made it a little weaker." Then Sailor Moon started eating again.
The mall closed at ten that evening, though the last movie wouldn't be finished until just after midnight. The New Moon would be at its nadir a few minutes after eleven. At twenty minutes to eleven,the Goodman sisters got out of their rented van and began preparing, laying out a pentagram. "You stand in the center, dear." said Maude. "We'll stand on the points. You will be protected."
"But there are only three of you."
Maude, who seemed the oldest but was actually the youngest surviving sister, said, "Sailor Moon will take one of the points. It will not be able to harm you while the pentagram protects you."
"Stand in the center. You wanted to help. Try to follow our chant, if you will."
A couple of mall security guards in a car spotted the little coven about ten minutes later, and started to drive over to investigate. Sailor Moon glanced their way, and they suddenly had car trouble: a cracked block. This immobilized them; they couldn't conceive of walking seventy-five yards, and were anyway completely absorbed by the problem of their stricken vehicle. The other mall car was coming up about ten minutes after that, but that was when the New Moon was a few minutes from its nadir . . .
After a bit of argument among themselves, three mall guards (the two fat ones whose car had broken down and their supervisor) walked up to the chanting women. "Ladies," called out the supervisor, "I'm afraid--"
"Don't disturb them, rentacop. They have business with me."
Startled, the supervisor turned and saw a short, pathetic looking man dressed casual clothes that hadn't been in fashion for more than a decade--if then. He was fairly young, but already balding and had one of the worst comb-overs the supervisor had ever seen. Putting her hand on her gun, her usual "this can be serious" move, she said to the man, "The only business that goes on here is inside the mall, and it's closed now. We're going to have to ask you to leave. All of you," she finished, turning back and increasing her volume.
She heard the man's voice again--inside her head.
Take this business, you dried-up dyke.
The only other perception she had was unbelievable pain, as she was sliced and pulled apart.
"Sailor Moon! Help her!" screamed Nancy, but it was already too late. The dying woman was between Sailor moon and Iturbe.
"She's dead! Kill it!" another voice screamed, and Sailor Moon fired a halation blast which made the thing shimmer, and ended the woman's suffering. Then it winked out.
"Did you get it?" asked Nancy, running toward the fallen woman, not understanding what Sailor Moon had just done, not noticing yet that her body was already beginning to crumble away. But she saw in the next second that the woman was dead. "Can we bring her back?"
Long tentacles came down and snatched Nancy up.
No, she did not get it, Nancy! Clever, clever, you completed the pentagram! But I have the girl! Want to play catch, moon slut?
Another tentacle snaked down and sliced through a power line. All the lights around them went out. But Nancy could see that she was high up already, she would never survive a fall from where she was. The thing had half-engulfed her, trapping her arms and legs, but she could see--and be seen. It was using her as a shield.
She looked down, and saw the pentagram glowing, violet-white, almost like the blasts that Chibi Moon had fought with. And there was someone on every point--she saw the Grey Lady!
Oh, yes, Nancy, the Grey Lady is back. Not for long, I think . . . disappointing, after Kimberly-chan, but I still get to kill her twice . . . Oh, where to begin. Oh, you should't have! You remembered, Nancy! You wore your pretty panties! I'll send a thank-you note to your mother!
Sailor Moon concentrated. She had kept this in the back of her mind so long, it was difficult to form the whole of it with so little preparation. "Grey Lady, give me the staff!"
Nancy saw Sailor Moon take something from the Grey Lady. She crossed her arms. Now she had something in each hand--as the light grew brighter from the pentagram, she could see that the heart-staff was in one hand, and a sceptor with a silvery skull in the other. She herself changed form. Her wings became mostly black, though still with narrower bands of color. Her costume turned mostly black. And the jewels in her odongo became silvery, ruby-eyed skulls. Nancy realised that she was seeing far more detail than she should be able to from this distance--as if she suddenly had a zoom lens. She had magic--or was this thing allowing her to see for its own reasons?
Oh, another costume change, moon slut. You've wasted your talents. You should have been a stripper. What a pity . . . after I kill the others, maybe I'll let you live. You'll have to become a stripper. And a hooker. Nancy, your brother was so special. He got it from the moon slut for free.
Sailor Moon had almost finished her transformation. One more thing remained . . . she pulled down at her collar, deepening her neckline. Between her breasts, over her heart, a second ginzuishou bloomed. "Now, hold it!" she shouted to the others.
The thing screamed. Nancy felt some of it, a flash of pain; so did the women in the pentagram. But everyone else in the mall, and the several blocks around, passed out. People felt spasms more than a mile away.
If anyone else had been awake to look on the scene from close up, they would have seen five violet lines of energy reaching up to wrap around and around a writhing, amorphous form. It tried to grow tentacles and pseudopods, but they were sheared off by the twisting lines as fast as they extended. It shot out green balls of fire, but they looped around and struck where they had emerged.
It hurts. You have me now. But even if you could finish me, you'll kill the girl. What is it going to be, moon slut? You finished off the old dyke quickly enough. While you're thinking, I think I'll start on Nancy. Let's see . . . what do I take off first? Your panties or your head?
Nancy screamed, "Kill it, Sailor Moon! Kill it! Please!"
Dolores, who was the gentlest of the sisters, said, "We can't hold it forever . . . you have to kill it."
Sailor moon said nothing. She had come here to die this night. She had killed the poor guard. But kill Nancy? Surely she had doomed Jimmy. But Nancy? Too?
"Kill it! Kill it!" cried Nancy again. A tentacle started coming into her mouth, but it crackled with energy and dissolved. "Kill it, Kill it, Kill it!"
Sailor Moon summoned all the power she could. She whispered three last words, "Forgive me, Nancy-chan." Then she loosed the power of both ginzuishou.
The thing glowed in a rainbow aura. Ichor began falling like rain, sliming cars and the ground.
But the thing was still there, as the aura faded, and the ichor became a light drizzle.
Almost, moon slut. But no cigar. Catch.
Nancy felt herself falling, freed from the slimy grip. No, no, don't let it win! She remembered how it had used Chibi's love for Kimberly to destroy them both--and now it would win, because Sailor Moon cared for her.
Sailor Moon had given all she could, and it had not worked. Even with Chibi Moon's ginzuishou and her own, she had not summoned the needed power, though she had no question that she had accepted the price. Except Nancy. She had not been able to kill Nancy along with the thing.
The only thing she could do was save Nancy for a few moments--but she spread her wings to give Nancy-chan those few moments. She was drained; it would take a moment to fly, and to break free from the grip of the sisters who were all shouting for her not to break the pentagram.
Sailor Moon saw her fate: to die, like Chibi-Usa, fighting hopelessly.
She hoped she would die as well.
She flew up to Nancy, and caught her
The thing put on the face of Roberto Iturbe, a thousand times the size of the man in life, and laughed. It was still bound by four lines of fire, but it began to swell. It began to grow long tentacles, most being cut off, but more and growing--they would soon reach them; they were too far from the pentagram.
Nancy looked into the face of Sailor Moon, seeing glowing tears streaming down. Then she twisted out of Sailor moon's grasp, pointed at the thing with both hands, and shouted with all her might, "PUNISH IT FOR CHIBI MOON!"
Then the face showed fear, and distorted wildly. A stream of violet bolts rose up, burning it in halves, quarters, eighths, and then unerringly seeking out and consuming the smaller and smaller pieces. An airline pilot who'd flown a Nighthawk over Baghdad said whatever it was looked ten times as bright. The power grid for half the Southbay went out during the half-minute or so the violet fire blossomed.
Sailor Moon glided down, and landed on her point of the Pentagram.
Then Nancy glided down, and landed in the center of the pentagram. It ceased to glow a moment later.
The Grey Lady said: "Let me be the first to greet the New Moon."
NANCY HEARD SOMEONE at the door. She looked up from the romance novel she was reading and was about to say something to Usagi, but she saw that Usagi had fallen asleep, her face resting on the pages of an artbook. <At least she doesn't snore when she sleeps like this, thought Nancy. But then she remembered Chibi-Usa saying, "Okasan makes a lot of noise." After blotting the tears away, she went downstairs to see who had come.
Her mother and her stepfather were already talking to the visitors--it was Dr. Goodman and all three of her sisters, and some others--their children, and perhaps a grandchild or two. And a funny-looking little man . . . a very little man, a midget. Nancy didn't know quite what to say first or whom to speak with. The little man looked back at her, and she was sure he must be picturing her naked . . .
Dr. Goodman smacked the little man on the top of his head, and said, "This is my grandfather, Dr. Alvarson, Nancy."
The little man held up a hand, and Nancy shook it. "I am pleased to meet you at last. My family has told me about you. More than you think."
"Really?" Another mind reader? Nancy shrugged.
"I'm sorry to rush in on you you, but we really have to be on time for our little surprise for U--for Sue. Would you go fetch her?"
The little man did not speak loudly, but his words had great weight for Nancy, almost like--almost like Usagi when she orders someone to do something. And he nearly called her Usagi just now . . . "All right, I'll get her." Nancy started up the stairs, and heard Dr. Goodman call out,"Be sure to bring your coats, dear. It's chilly out."
They all went wherever they were going in a decidedly mundane conveyance, a big, clunky, beat-up van that Dr. Goodman drove. "It's a rental. Best I could could come up with on short notice."
Usagi smiled faintly, and squeezed Nancy's hand.
Nancy asked, "What's this all about?"
The little man answered. "It is time for Sailor Moon to return to her own world. I can open a gate for her tonight. But we must hurry. It can only be done in one place, and in a small window in time. Only for a few moments in the time of the New Moon."
"Oh . . . I'm glad for you, Usagi."
"Thank you. I will miss you . . ." Usagi turned to the little man. "Will I ever be able to return here?"
"Perhaps, but not for some time . . . I have made no divination, but I feel that you will return someday." He pulled cards from a pocket, and handed one to Nancy, and one to Usagi. "You can send mail, if you like. It will take a while to get through, but if you post it to our local branch office, it will get through."
Nancy looked at the card the old man had given her. It read:
THE GREY COMPANY
And it gave an address in Maryland. Nancy glanced at Usagi's card and saw that its address was printed in Japanese.
Where they were going turned out to be a Caltrain station. They piled out of the van, went into the station, and walked very far back on the platform--and took the steps down from it. They had to undo a chain to do that. A man and a woman in uniforms, station guards, started coming toward them, but then the little man made a slight gesture. The guards stopped, looked for a few moments, and then turned around and began walking away, talking to each other.
"Did you make us invisible?" Nancy asked him.
"No, I just suggested that they didn't want to notice us. They really don't; it would mean a lot of paperwork, and their shifts are almost over."
They walked to a Caltrain passenger car parked on a siding. It was locked up with more chains and covered with official-looking stuff. The little man made another slight gesture, and all of that faded away. When she climbed aboard the car, all she could see through the windows was gray fog, and it seemed to be day--though through the door she had just come through, she could see the station, lit up the last trains of the night. Dr. Goodman closed the door behind her, the last aboard. The noises from outside were gone--completely.
"We could use your help, dear, said Dr. Goodman as she came up to "This is a difficult spell."
"I can't do magic. Not your kind."
"You don't know the art yet, but you can certainly help us."
The little man said, "You are a virgin. That could help. Hard to find these days." He gave Nancy an infinitely lecherous look while she stripped down to her skivvies for her transformation (to save her other clothes), and yet somehow conveyed that he would never harm her. Then he took one of her hands, and Dr. Goodman took the other. They formed a circle around Sailor Moon, who had taken on her nude angel form. The little old man and the four sisters chanted in a strange language. Nancy followed along, simply singing "Dah-dah-dah" to the same melody. Then Sailor Moon was no longer there . . .
A man in uniform was speaking to Usagi. A policeman.
"This is the University Station."
"Oh . . . I'm sorry, I must have fallen asleep." Usagi remembered. He was commuting himself, and had sat down next to her since she got on the train in San Francisco. "Thank you."
"I thought you'd never wake up. Hurry up. I think the train is about to leave."
"Thank you, thank you." Usagi rushed to the exit. The train started moving away only moments after she stepped down onto the platform.
Usagi watched the train move away until it was a tiny speck. What a dream, she thought. So awful--and yet wonderful. Jimmy; Nancy; the lady in gray; seeing Chibi-Usa again, almost a young woman . . . she shuddered at the terrible fate of Chibi-Usa. But it was only a dream . . . "Only a dream."
It was a guard, one of a pair, a man and a woman. They had come up to her while she was remembering the dream, and heard her talk to herself.
"Oh, nothing. It is silly. I fell asleep on the train, and I had a dream. A very strange dream . . . very strange." She felt queezy. "Excuse, can I use bathroom? I think I am a little sick."
They took her to the restroom, unlocked it for her, and the woman guard went in with her. Usagi threw up. Then the guards took her to a drinking fountain. She drank some water, and began to feel better. The guards were concerned. She decided to call Mamoru, to see if he could pick her up. He was very surprised to hear that she was at the train station, but he said he would come.
Waiting for Mamoru, Usagi explained to the guards who Mamoru was. When the man guard moved off to check on something else, Usagi told the woman guard about her trouble at school. "I worked hard, but I just did not learn fast enough. Especially English."
"Really? You're English sounds pretty good to me."
"Well, I have--"
"I have been practicing . . ." Usagi opened her schoolbag. There it was, the notice she hadn't wanted to show her parents--and something else. A little card, taped to the notice. She pulled it off. It read:
THE GREY COMPANY
The rest was in Japanese, and gave an address in Hokkaido.
Usagi began to cry. It had not been a dream. Chibi-Usa was really gone . . .
The other guard came back. Usagi knew they might call the regular police any minute, but she could not do much more than cry until Mamo-chan came. He shooed the guards away and took her to his old car, even older than Jimmy-chan's had been, and drove her back to his tiny apartment, a place in Ravenswood, a poor, tough town north of the train tracks, but close to Stanford.
Mamo-chan had many questions, but the only answer Usagi gave him that night was not in words. They made love, again, and again, until Usagi slept so soundly that Mamoru could not rouse her.
Nancy was standing on the Caltrain platform amid the four Goodman sisters, back in normal form, dressed as she had been before. The little man was not there. She looked down the platform at the siding where she had gotten onto the lone Caltrain car, but the siding was empty. Nancy looked around at the sisters, who were all looking at her and smiling, a little sadly. Then Dr. Goodman said, "She's where she belongs now, Nancy. Come. Let's go back to your home."
Usagi woke up, finally, when the sun shown onto her face. She sat up, taking in the tiny, worn-out place that Mamo-chan had made his home for now.
Mamoru was gone.
Usagi got up, pulling a sheet around her even though she was alone, and walked to the table. There was a note. It read: "I must go now. I will return after 3:00 and take you back home. I have already called your family, but you should call them, too. Love, Mamoru."
Usagi showered, and put on the uniform she had worn, thinking it would probably be the last time she wore this or any other school uniform. She found a pen, and on the back of the note Mamoru had written, wrote her own note. Then she put it down on the table, took off her ring, and put it on the top of the note. She left the place quietly, checking to be sure the door locked.
Usagi decided to walk to the Caltrain station, figuring she would not have enough money to get home if she took a bus. Along the way, a boy tried to sell her drugs. She just said "no." A little while later, a man pulled up in a car, showed her a gun, and told her to get in. She turned him into dust. No one seemed to notice. Usagi noticed a bag of fast food on the seat and took it. She didn't think of taking the car, but someone else soon did.
To Be Continued in Book 2: Under Black Wings