“Yeah,” said Mavis, with a contented sigh.
“Just like that,” pressed Roger. “Grandpa fixed everything in two sentences.”
“Well,” said Mavis dreamily, “it all got broken with one sentence. It makes sense that if you could write something and make the worlds crazy, you could write something and fix it.”
Roger thought about that, and thought she was probably right. It still seemed to him, though, that there ought to something else. Something more. Then he realized what was still bothering him. “But that means that it’s back to where it was. That means that you are...I don’t know, dizzy and stuff.”
Mavis woke up a little. “I hadn’t thought about that.”
“And if you don’t get better, Mom and Dad are going to send you to the research hospital.”
The grey that had seemed so friendly before now seemed...sad.
“I wish you hadn’t said that,” said Mavis. “I know that it’s true. But I wish that you hadn’t said it now.”
Roger curled up a little smaller, looking miserable again. “I only spent one morning like that,” he said. “It was awful. Really, Mavis, I don’t see how—” he broke off, refusing to let himself cry again. “You can’t live like that. It’s not fair!”
“I guess I’m just used to it,” said Mavis. “It’s not fun, and I don’t like it or anything, but I’m used to it.”
“That doesn’t make it all right,” insisted Roger. “There’s got to be something that someone can do! I mean, look at Grandpa! Why can’t there be some medicine that will help you?”
“I agree,” said Lady Agatha quietly, from behind them. “I’ve been looking in a lot of books, and reading a lot of things. I think that soon it will not be just the Chronicler who is on the mend.”
Mavis settled back into her relaxed position. “I like that.”
Roger felt a weight start to lift off his shoulders. Grandpa was better, and he was wise, and he would help them to know what to do for Mavis. She would have to get better, with all of them helping her.
“I think it’s awesome that you made that book,” said Roger, laying his head on Grandpa’s shoulder.
“I am the Chronicler,” said Grandpa. “It is a great honor.”
“It’s the bomb,” said Roger.
“It can only be done by someone brave, and loyal, and very creative.” Grandpa smiled down at him. “I think you would be the perfect person to train. If you want to learn, you know.”
Roger opened and closed his mouth a couple of times.
Mavis smiled, letting the moment sink in.
They went out of the shadow of the grey mountains capped in pure white snow, and into the clear waters of the wider ocean. And then, as the view opened, they all gasped in wonder.
Shining into this world of black and grey and white, shining with all of the splendor of emerald and sapphire, was the beautiful Earth. And Mavis couldn’t help being proud to call it her home, even if it wasn’t perfect. And she also couldn’t help but be grateful that she had escaped it for a while, and got to see some of the things that were beyond it.
Epilogue~Two Weeks Later:
Brent came pounding up the driveway, a basketball under each arm and his court shoes thrown over his shoulder. “Linda!”
“Hold up, punk!”
“We’re going to be late for practice!”
Linda opened the kitchen door with a bang and came skipping down the porch steps, her hands trying to contain her hair long enough to put it in a pony tail.
“Dehn doesn't like it when we’re late,” Brent reminded her.
“He doesn’t like it when we whup his butt,” snapped Linda, “but I’m not going to stop doing that, either.”
“Whatever,” said Brent.
“Wha EVA!” sang Linda.
“Have fun at the community center!” called Grandma from the porch, where she was sitting in her rocker, knitting.
Mavis was sitting on the step below her, notebook in hand, pencil moving furiously. She was getting tan from all the time she spent riding and sailing and exploring. Roger had been right--if Grandpa could really understand what was going on, he would know what to do. Under his expert advice, she had been taken to the right chiropractor and nutritionist and...well, here she was. Of course, there were still some bad days, and even a few very bad days. But, in general, she was getting so strong, and was dizzy so rarely, that no one even mentioned research hospitals to her anymore.
There was a peal of laughter, and Mavis stopped writing long enough to enjoy it. As puzzled as the doctors were about her recovery, they were far more amazed by Grandpa’s. He wasn’t quite as spry and chipper as he had been before, but he was certainly more like his old self than not. He seemed ridiculously happy to be back to talking a mile a minute, especially to Roger, who was holed up with him in his study almost every spare moment. They were making a new Book, the title of which they wouldn’t tell anyone.
Mavis shook her head, wondering what in the world they were laughing at. She was going back to her own project, when she heard the faintest sound in the bushes. Crouching behind a flowering plant, looking up at her with big green eyes, was the fuzziest orange and white kitten that she had ever seen. “Hello, Sir Fluffy McFuzzbutt,” said Mavis softly.
“Mew,” said Sir Fluffy McFuzzbutt.
“Here, kitty kitty, here cat cat.”
And he came right to her, just as if he had been doing it every day of his life. Mavis cuddled him up to her chin and climbed up onto the porch swing. Laying down among the chintz pillows, she smiled at the world and closed her eyes. What an adventure the last few weeks had been.
She had gotten her wish.