Hildreth stood and helped Elsie up.
“Do you mind waiting?” she asked.
He smiled. “Hey, we’ve made it this far into the race. What’s two more sets of twenty-four hours?” He clenched his fist and raised it to the sky. “We are awesome! We are mighty! We can totally do this! Yeeee-haaaa!”
Elsie laughed. “Such an idiot. But I love you.” She stroked the side of his face. “Hildreth Mayhew, I’m going to love being married to you.”
“And I to you, Elsie.”
Raven left The Cardboard Box with his new phone in hand. He walked out to the park and sat on the first bench he saw.
He flipped the phone open, pressed the End button, and waited for it to come on-line.
I ought to call Master Harris first and relay Robin’s message.
What if I give Robin the phone number and let him relay his own message?
Raven lowered the phone as it played a happy welcome chime.
Will Robin speak with him?
Yet, what if he refuses?
Then, it is back on my shoulders. Maybe I should…
He pulled out the piece of paper and unfolded it.
Hi. My name is Jay Harris……I guess that name doesn’t mean anything to you.
Huh. I really stink at this sort of thing.
Let me start all over again.
Look. I know you, Robin. I know about you and Isellta.
hahaha. Well. That makes me sound creepy, doesn’t it?
Sorry. This note is just all over the place. I wouldn’t be surprised if you crinkled it up and threw it away before you could get to this paragraph.
Just bear with me.
If you’re still reading.
Isellta needs you.
Isellta needs you. He needs you, Robin. Just you. Just you.
Robin. Please. Call me.
When you get this note, please call me. I need you. Isellta…The poor kid. Please come. Please. Please come. Call me. Tell me that you’ll come.
*sigh* There’s so much more I want to say to convince you. I’m sure I’m doing the worst possible job of it. You probably think I’m insane or a stalker or something worse.
Doesn’t matter what you think about me.
Just believe me.
Isellta needs you. He needs you, Robin. He needs you.
Please call me. Please. Let me know that you got this note, that you read it, that you understand, that you believe me….that you will come.
Please. Robin, please come.
I don’t know what else to say. No. Actually, I do. But it hurts too much to say out loud. It hurts too much to put it into words — spoken or otherwise. Please.
Please. Call me. When you get this note, call me please call me, Robin.
My phone number is…
Raven reread the frantic note all over again.
By the time he reached the end, he’d made up his mind.
Jay tried to stay focused on his search, but his head pounded with stress in a nauseating rhythm.
His thoughts kept straying back home.
Back to Isellta.
What if this is pointless?
What if he needs me?
What if I should be home instead of out here?
What if he’s actively dying?
What if he’s already dead?
Jay pulled out his cell phone.
Just as it rang.
“Oh. That was weird.”
He answered it. “Hello, this is Jay.”
“Hello, sir. This is Raven.”