The Night of the Fan Girl

Prologue ~~ Now

The hush, when it fell, was deafening. Also falling were the last bits of debris from the explosion. The girl emerged from hiding in the doghouse, looked about, then exclaimed, "Ew! Who's going to clean all this up?"

The tall skinny man in the overcoat paused in the act of tucking away a slender metallic rod with a glowing blue tip into his inside jacket pocket. "Who's going to…" he repeated after the girl. "Ah! Well… ciao, then!" he called with a cheery wave of his hand and began striding rapidly away.

Realizing that the man was legging it, the girl scrambled after him. "Hold on there, you! You owe me!"

He stopped, dropped his head, then swung to face her as she caught him up. "You said," she continued, jabbing a finger at him, "that if I would help you get rid of that, that thing, you would…"

He held up his long-fingered hands, forestalling the rest. "Right, right. I promised you one trip, wherever you'd like to go. Take you there and then back home with you." He tilted his head. "Are you ready then?"

She gave him a tight-lipped smile. "As soon as we clean up this mess."

He grimaced, ruffling a hand through his ever-messy brown hair as he turned about, taking in the full extent of the damage. "Oh… clean up?"

"Yes!" said the girl pointedly. And then, eyes sparkling, she added, "And I know precisely whom I'd like to go see."