29 Part 3

It took a full two hours to finish packing, by which time both the case and the holdall were full. Spook tried to lift the blue bag, but it was two heavy.

"Help me!" she moaned to Delorfinde, who grinned at the sight of her friend trying to lift a bag off the ground, but enlisted the help of her older brother to give them a hand getting to the Port. Spook tried not to think about how she would get the case to Anna's house at the other end, and decided to focus on the present.

After all, the future is only what the present makes it, she thought philosophically. If I worry about the future, it's bad to turn out wrong.

Maybe not quite sound, but Spook was proud of this conclusion. As they neared the Port, she began to realise that she was leaving home. If not forever, at least for a good chunk of time. Slightly sadly, she greeted Kitty, who was on door duty again.

So she survived the fight, Spook thought. I'm glad. I would have hated it if she was killed.

Delorfinde started to push the case through the turnstile. It took a few hardy shoves, but they got it through eventually. Grinning and panting on the other side, Spook started to push the case down the escalator.

"When's the next flight?" she called to Kitty, who checked a hand-held screen for times.

"About twenty minutes," she replied. "There's a load of people on a business trip, from the previous stop, but they're not going all the way to Earth. You won't have to worry about them." Spook nodded. She was already halfway down the escalator.

Delorfinde vaulted the turnstile and ran after her.

"Hey, wait for me!" she cried. She dragged the blue holdall inefficiently behind her, breathing a huge sigh of relief when it reached the escalator, and some of the strain was removed from her hands.

"Get Anna to help you at the other end," said Delorfinde to Spook. "Or get a taxi, or something." They reached the station, and sank gratefully into the metal chairs for people waiting.

The shuttle arrived.

"This is my flight," said Spook, picking up the case and staggering under the weight. "But when I return, or you come to Earth," she added, "I'll tell you my real name." Delorfinde bowed her head. It would be an honour.

Spook climbed on board without a tear in her eye, though inside she wanted to sob. She pressed her face against the window as the large shuttle started to move, waving to Delorfinde who stood waving on the platform.

It was a long way to Earth, and she would be alone the entire way. Spook watched with a slightly uneasy mind, as she saw Delorfinde vanish into the distance.

"That'll be the last time I see her in quite a while," she said to herself. "But I will see her again, I will."

The End

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