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Trix saw Jim stiffen and turn on Sally. “Is that what’s in the Reflection Room?”

“No,” Sally said, her child’s eyes innocent. “I told you. Where the worlds don’t overlap, they’re separated by the In-Between. That’s what she saw. The nothing that fills the void between the parallel Bostons. The library is in all three, but here—in both my Boston and O’Brien’s—half of this room was destroyed by a terrorist’s bomb. The Reflection Room exists because of that.”

Sally walked to the wall and pounded on it. Trix flinched, thinking her hand would pass through, but it struck solid wood.

“The Shadow Men can pass through. I know other ways to slip into the In-Between, but it’s moving sideways into nothing, which is not the same as going through the door into the next room.”

Jim turned and looked at the door to the Reflection Room, where Holly was supposed to be waiting. Trix realized that he no longer saw the rest of them. He had forgotten all about the corpses, not to mention the heavyset black woman who even now climbed to her feet and staggered away. The No-Face Men hovered at the edges of the room, waiting for Sally’s instructions.

There were at least two others dead, people who had been Half Shadows but who did not survive the violent removal of the shadow stuff from the In-Between that had infected them. The bloodied redhead still lived. He moaned and put a hand to his temple, frowning in pain, but did not try to rise.

“Are there more inside, Sally?” Trix asked.

Sally glanced at the redhead. “There must be.”

“Then you should send your No-Face guys in first,” Trix told her.

“Fuck that,” Jim said, and he reached for the knob.

Jim pushed open the door into the Reflection Room. The recessed lights were dim, illuminating the many displays on the walls and in glass cases that were meant to educate about the value of human life and the horror of terrorist ideology. In a raised section of the floor the designer had put a Zen rock garden surrounded by a kidney-shaped pool of water with a small burbling fountain. There were comfortable chairs arranged at strange intervals around the thirty-foot-square room. On the opposite side of the Zen garden, one chair had been turned to face the door.

His daughter sat in that chair, her hair a tangled mess, her dirty face streaked with tear stains. “Daddy!” Holly shouted as she spotted him.

She tried to rise, but the Half Shadow who knelt beside the chair held her back. A weasel of a man with oily hair and tiny eyes, he forced her to remain in the chair, his grip on her arm making her wince with pain. Jim wanted to kill him … would kill him, he vowed.

But there was the other Half Shadow to worry about, the grandmotherly woman with her pearl necklace and wide hips and eyeglasses. She held a knife to Holly’s throat.

“Let her go,” Jim said, a terrible chill racing through him. “You can’t think you’ll get away from us.” He gestured toward Sally and the three No-Face Men who hovered just behind her as the Oracle came through the door.

The weasel sneered. “This isn’t about getting away. The job isn’t to beat you. That’s not how Veronica wins.”

“So, how does she win?” Trix demanded, coming into the dimly lit room with Jennifer and Anne trailing behind her.

“The little girl dies, and Veronica wins,” the weasel said.

Then why haven’t you killed her already? Jim wanted to ask, but didn’t dare for fear of spurring them on.

“Mommy?” Holly shouted, bucking against the weasel’s grip. The old woman pressed the knife closer to her throat, and the little girl—his daughter!—whimpered as it drew blood. “Mommy, where did you go?” Holly demanded.

Confused, Jim glanced around to see that Jennifer had come up behind him, stepping into enough light that Holly could make out her face. She thought Jennifer was her mother, but Jim knew that now wasn’t the time to explain anything. “Sally,” Jim whispered. “Help my daughter.”

The young Oracle, not even twice Holly’s age, nodded once, gently.

“Let her go, now,” Jim said to the two Half Shadows who had been left to guard her—to kill her.

The grandmother pointed her free hand at Sally. “Take the Oracle. Break her neck. Finish that job and we’ll give you your daughter.”

“She’s lying,” Trix whispered, coming up beside him. “They just said killing Holly was their job.”

Jim took a deep breath to steady himself. His face and body ached from the beating the Half Shadows had given him in the other room. His fists opened and closed, wishing for a weapon, for something to attack them with, though he could not risk Holly’s life. Powerless and full of fury, he knew there was nothing he could do.

Holly’s eyes went wide, then narrowed in confusion and suspicion. “Mommy?” she said again, and he didn’t have to turn to realize that she had just gotten a good look at Anne.

Jim had a lot of explaining to do.

“Hollybaby,” he said, focusing only on his daughter. “What do you want for breakfast tomorrow?”

Holly began to cry.

“Listen to me,” Jim said firmly. “What do you want for breakfast tomorrow?”

“Pancakes with butter and lots of syrup,” she said quickly, as though the words had been pushing to be set free.

“You got it, kid,” Jim said. “Now, this is important, Holly. Listen closely. I want you to close your eyes and imagine those pancakes, the taste of the syrup, the smell of the bacon I’m going to make to go with them—”

“I don’t want bacon.”

“Just the smell,” Jim went on. “Picture us at the kitchen table. I’ll have the newspaper. You can put the Disney Channel on while I’m flipping pancakes and making coffee for your mom.”

The weasel looked entirely befuddled. He turned toward the grandmother. “What the fuck is he talking about?”

The grandmother did not reply. Instead, she stared at Jim, head cocked. Her Shadow Twin had partially emerged from her body, and it cocked its head as well, trying to figure out what to make of him, what he might be up to. “He’s snapped,” the grandmother said. Something in her appeared to soften, and Jim thought he could see the woman she had been before being swept away by a wave that had washed into her world and sucked her into the In-Between.

The knife at Holly’s throat dipped slightly.

Jim shot a sidelong glance at Sally, who made the tiniest of gestures with her right hand, as though grabbing a fistful of the air. The No-Face Men who had come in behind her drifted back slightly, as though wishing to be less imposing to the Half Shadows holding Holly. Even more confused, the grandmother and the weasel stared at them.

They didn’t even see the ghost hands that thrust up through the floor and pulled them down. The grandmother’s eyes went wide, her arms flailing back, and then panic set in and she reached for Holly’s chair, but too late. The weasel held on, fighting furiously, spitting and snarling. The hands of his Shadow Twin thrust out, helping as he tried to take hold of something solid, something of this world. One of his smoky gray nothing hands slapped the stones of the raised Zen rock garden. But he could not hold on, and Sally’s No-Face Men dragged them both down through the floor and back to the In-Between.

Veronica’s creatures had failed.

“Holly!” Jim said, rushing to his daughter.

He ran right through the rock garden, stones shifting underfoot, and nearly toppled into the fountain pond. Holly looked around in confusion, not sure yet that she was actually safe. But then Jim pulled her out of the chair and into his arms. He tried to speak and could not, because emotion had overwhelmed him. He laughed, but every time he tried to speak, tears sprang to his eyes and the words caught in his throat.

“You came, Daddy,” Holly said. “I love that you came, crazy Daddy.”

“Of course I came,” he said, sitting back, holding his little girl in his lap even though she was getting too big for that, pushing her hair away from her eyes and wiping tears from her face, smearing dirt.

“Mommy said you would,” Holly said proudly. She frowned and reached up to touch the blood trickling from the slice on her neck. “I’m cut.”

“It’s okay, honey. It’s going to be okay.”

“It stings,” Holly informed him. And then she turned to look at the others. Her eyes widened as she got her first good look at Jennifer, and then she frowned in confusion when she saw Anne.

“Mommy?” Holly said, hopeful but unsure.

“No, honey,” Jim said. “These ladies are … they’re relatives of Mommy’s.”

Holly’s disappointment seemed mixed with a sort of relief, as if instinct had told her neither of the women was her mother.

Holly studied Sally for a second, and then beckoned to Trix. “Aunt Trixie, c’mere.”

Trix went over and knelt down beside them. She hugged them both, and Jim felt such love for her then that he sobbed again. Trix kissed Holly on the top of the head and then, seemingly on impulse, kissed Jim’s cheek.

“Aunt Trixie,” Holly whispered, looking suspiciously beyond her, toward Jennifer and Anne. “Those ladies who look like my mom are staring at me.”

Trix laughed and Jim chuckled softly, shaking his head. He let out a long breath.

“They can see how amazing you are,” Trix told Holly.

“Why do you look like my mom?” Holly asked, bending over to peer at them more closely. “She doesn’t have any twin sisters or anything, ’cause she would have told me. Unless she didn’t know, like that movie with the two girls whose parents never told them they were twins. I can’t remember the name.”

“Holly, listen to me, baby girl,” Jim said, holding her cheeks and forcing her to focus. Sweet and funny as she was, she was definitely in shock. “You need to tell me what happened to your mom. When did you see her last?”

Pain creased his daughter’s face, and Jim hated being the cause of that. But they needed to know. “A long time ago,” Holly said. “Like, hours. I slept for a while, and then there was the earthquake—did you feel that earthquake, Daddy? I was totally freaked out! After the earthquake, they took Mommy away.”

“Where?” Trix asked, gripping Jim’s arm to steady him. “Where’d they take her, Holly?”

Holly pointed at the wall. “Right there. Right through the wall, like Mommy was a ghost or something.”

Jim felt his insides turn to lead. He turned to look at Sally. “Into the In-Between?”

Sally nodded.

“Oh, Jesus,” Jim whispered. He kissed Holly’s forehead and then looked up at the Oracle again. “How long? How much time are we talking about for this transformation?”

Trix looked at him. “What transformation?”

Jim stroked Holly’s hair, wishing she didn’t have to be here for this. “Into one of them,” he said. “If she’s in there long enough, she’s going to turn into one of the Shadow Men.”

Jennifer covered her mouth in horror. Trix sank back on her haunches, then sat down hard on the floor.

“So we go in after her,” Anne said. “How long do we have?”

They all looked at Sally. The Oracle seemed to have drifted far away in her mind, but now her eyes focused again and she nodded. “It may not be too late,” the girl said, looking at Jim and Trix. “But if you’re going into the In-Between, you’ll have to have an anchor to lead you back, and it must be someone to whom you all have a connection. Someone to stay behind with me.”

Jim looked at Jennifer and Anne. “You two … you don’t even know her. You don’t have to—”

Jennifer laughed. “Don’t know her? We are her!”

Anne stared at him. “It would be like letting myself die.”

“Jim,” Trix said. “It should be Holly.”

“Me?” Holly perked up. “I can help get Mommy back?”

“No,” Jim said quickly. “I’m not going to leave her behind now. No way.”

“Leave me behind?” Holly said, her eyes going wide. “I don’t want to be alone again. Those bad guys might come back!”

But Jim knew, even as she spoke, that there was no other choice. Jennifer and Anne might not be anchor enough to guide them back here.

“Holly, sweetie, I think we need to,” he said, and she stared at him, her eyes welling again. “No, no, don’t cry. You’ve been so brave, but you need to be brave a little while longer so we can get Mommy back. We’re going to go where they took her, and you’re going to stay right here with our friend Sally. She’ll protect you.”

Dubious, Holly glanced sidelong at Sally. “But she looks like a kid, Daddy. How’s she going to protect me if those guys come back?”

Sally smiled. “Holly, do you see those tall ghost guys over there?” she asked, pointing to the No-Face Men lingering in the corner of the room, awaiting her orders. “They take their orders from me. They’ll make sure nobody can hurt us.”

Holly looked warily at the No-Face Men, as afraid of them as she was of the ones who had held her prisoner. Their faces flickered, fleeting images of a thousand faces they might one day be. “Dad,” she said, sounding very grown-up, “this is a terrible idea.”

Jim took a breath, sinking down onto his knees in the stones of the Zen garden. He wasn’t going to force Holly to do this, but every passing second might mean there would be less and less of Jenny to bring home. Even now, she might be only a shadow of herself. An echo.

Then, in a small voice, Holly spoke up again. “Can you really bring Mommy back, Aunt Trixie?”

Trix nodded. “I think we can. If we hurry.”