Adventures of the Green Sister

Join me in the adventures of the Green Sister, where nobody knows what will happen... including the author!

7.31.2006

Green Sister 46

GS shook her head. What was she doing? This was just like Nancy... to put her in a position where she would puzzle over something that didn't matter instead of pursuing the main problem. Where did Nancy have that machine? And, how could they disarm it before it turned the whole world into one big circle?

She pulled herself away from the aroma and focused her attention again on the lights. As before, she was sure that she could figure this out if she could understand the lights. She half-closed her eyes and turned slowly, allowing the pulsing to wash over her. Lee and Mark's voices faded to a low mumble seemingly miles away. The lights engulfed her and the discord seemed to fade. Instead of the lights flashing in various patterns, she realized that they were all part of a whole.

She stood still and breathed deeply. She could feel the blood in her body beginning to pulse in rhythm with the lights.

In a loud whisper, afraid to disturb the cadence she was experiencing, she called Mark and Lee over to her. As they reached her, without a word, she reached out her hands and took their's.

"We need to make a circle, as odd as that sounds," she said, quietly. "Then we will know what to do and how to do it."

7.30.2006

Green Sister 45

Mark and Lee looked at each other and then, quickly, both looked at the ground. GS watched them and then, convinced they were going to behave for a while anyway, shook her head and walked away. She made her way to an area where the pulsing seemed stronger, the color more vibrant. As she grew closer, a light scent began to envelope her. She sniffed. It was elusive... a pleasing aroma that teased her with familiarity, yet she was unable to put a name to it. She knew she'd encountered it before, but where?

"Mark, Lee," she called out. "Come here a minute and tell me what you think."

Mark reached her first and looked around him. "It smells like someone is making a pizza in here."

Lee stopped short a foot away from them. "I don't want to know where you buy your pizza, man. It sounds like someone has been roasting old gym shoes, to me."

GS looked at the two of them in confusion. How could they all be experiencing the aroma in such different ways? And what could it mean?

Green Sister 44

It seemed like they'd been walking a hundred years when they reached the source of the pulsing green light. They stepped down a steep slope, turned the corner and were in a large round grotto, the walls covered with a slimy substance that pulsed with the luminosity. GS rotated, transfixed by the pulsing. There was more to this than just a random oscillation. She knew in her spirit if she could just grasp the message the lights were trying to send she would have the mystery to Nancy the Black's plan solved.

"The lights... they are trying to tell us something," she whispered to the men, who also appeared captivated by the glowing.

Lee said, also in a hushed tone, "It reminds me somewhat of the old Morse code we had to learn when I was in school, but... it's different. I mean, the dots and dashes are there, but they don't say anything. Nothing I can figure out anyway."

"It's easy to see that you two aren't science fiction fans," Mark replied. "Or that you never watched reruns of Twilight Zone. Obviously, they are sending messages but in their own language. That's why we don't understand it."

Lee and GS turned to look at Mark, then glanced at each other.

"Well, it's definitely a possibility," Lee said, after clearing his throat. "But, even if it is true, what do we do then, Mr. Spock? I don't see a slime-English dictionary lying around anywhere."

"Stop it," GS said, an edge to her voice. "Sarcasm won't get us anywhere. We need to work together if we are going to defeat Nancy... and if there's one thing we have to do, for the sake of the world as we know it, it's defeat Nancy."

Green Sister 43

With a strangled cry, Ann reached out, grabbed Janna's shoulders and forced her around.

"I. Am. Not. A. Coward," she said through clenched teeth. "You... you are going to regret this."

The Green Sister came to slumped on the floor of the cave, Lee shaking her and Mark looking over his shoulder with a worried look on his face. She shook her head to clear it and then moaned, wishing she could take back the motion.

"Thank God you're okay," Lee said, releasing her. "We thought we had completely lost you."

He helped her to her feet and she leaned against the wall for support.

"We're close," she said, when she could speak again, surprised to find her voice hoarse, as if she'd been screaming. "Very close. And it's going to be even more dangerous than I'd expected."

She stepped away from the wall to test her legs and was mortified when they refused to hold her. Mark, without a word, put his arm around her shoulders. For the first time in a very long time, GS was willing to let someone else help her. As strong as she was, it felt right to let Mark do this. At least for a time.

They made their way further down the cavern, the glowing light getting brighter with every step. They were bothered no more by feelings of fatigue. GS kept alert, though. There was no telling what other tricks Nancy had up her sleeve. She was definitely not to be trusted. And, the fact that Nancy apparently knew her secret identity hadn't escaped her. That made it more than imperative that she defeat Nancy completely this time. Otherwise, her usefulness to the public would be at an end.

Green Sister 42

Janna's heart stopped at those words. She looked at her group of friends. There was no way she was going to allow them to be hurt because of her. It was not going to happen again. She could not lose anyone else she loved because of being the Green Sister.

She took a deep breath and turned to face Ann.

"I know that you know why I'm looking for you. Funny, I thought a lot of things about you in school, but I never thought you were a coward."

Ann narrowed her eyes. "What do you mean, a coward?" Her voice rose to a screech on the last word.

"Fighting this way," Janna responded, sweeping her arm in front of her. "In dreams. I always figured you for someone who would want the world to see the fight. For the world to be able to look at you and admire you for your courage and skill. Guess that just goes to show you how wrong you can be about a person." Shrugging her shoulders, Janna turned her back on Ann, mentally crossing her fingers that she had read her nemesis correctly and that she hadn't just condemned her friends to certain death.

Green Sister 41

"So nice to see you here," came a voice from behind Janna.

She twirled to see Ann Vivene standing behind her. Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail, she wore thick, black framed glasses, and her skirt fell to just mid-knee. Ann looked herself up and down and then frowned at Janna.

"I know this is your dream," she said, with a petulant tone in her voice, "but I do wish you would get this image of me out of your head. I don't think it was that true even then."

With a wave of her hand, Ann transformed herself. Her hair was twisted up at the back of her head, with soft tendrils framing her face. The glasses were replaced with contacts and she was dressed in a black skirt, blue top and white lab coat.

"What are you doing here and why all this?" Janna asked, waving her hand at her friends, who were chatting to each other, oblivious to the drama being played out in front of them.

"I know you've been looking for me and I thought this was a good way for us to get together. Besides, I want to see your face when I start removing your friends, one by one. Oh," she said, as Janna gasped, "they aren't really here, nor are they really together, but that isn't important. No matter where they are, I can reach them and ...well, you wouldn't want to see what happens to them. It's not pretty. Let's just say, they won't be here with you any longer."

Green Sister 40

The men shook their heads, trying to clear the fuzziness that was threatening to overtake them. The Green Sister was right. Whatever was going on, falling asleep would be the worse thing that could happen to them right now.

The three of them trudged along in silence. GS didn't know about the men, but she was having difficulty lifting her feet. She knew it must be an affect of whatever it was Nancy was doing, but she didn't seem to be able to shake it off.

As Mark and Lee moved ahead of her, she leaned against the wall of the cave just for a moment. The next thing she knew, she was no longer in the cave but standing in a brightly colored hall.

She looked around and saw her best friends from high school, the group known as "Writers Incorporated": Lianne, Maria, Pam, Trish, Vivian, Joanna, and Alison. They used to get in so much trouble together... so much so their teachers would say that, contrary to belief, eight is indeed enough. What were they all doing there? She looked down at herself and noticed that instead of her Green Sister outfit, she was dressed in her favorite jeans and top from senior year. Taking a careful look at her friends, who were sitting around on beanbags eating M&Ms and popcorn, she realized they all looked the same as they did in high school as well, instead of the professional, pulled together authors they all were now. In a flash, she was aware that somehow Nancy the Black had pulled her into a dream, but how? And why?

Green Sister 39

As the Green Sister reached Mark, she glanced behind her and saw, as she had expected, Lee trudging along in her path. She hid a smile and turned back, ready to get to the cave and find out what was making the vibrations she felt.

After they reached the ledge, GS, Mark and Lee stood in the opening, peering into the long dark cavern.

Mark whispered, "Look."

They exchanged glances before taking a deep breath and headed down toward the pulsing green light that glowed faintly far down in the darkness. They were silent, each of them lost in his or her own thoughts.

GS felt the throbbing in her feet before her ears picked up any sounds. She reached out to stop the men.

“Do you feel that?” she whispered, turning back to face them.

The two men shook their heads, then Mark’s eyes opened widely.

“It feels like… like a heartbeat coming through the rocks,” he said.

“That’s it! I couldn’t figure out what the throbbing reminded me of.” GS looked around her. The noise had gotten loud enough that all of them heard it. This must be what it’s like to be a baby in the womb, she mused. The beating wasn’t coming from any distinct location, but surrounded them like a warm blanket. It was almost comforting in its rhythm. Hypnotizing.

She shook herself mentally, realizing that they were in danger of slipping into complacency. Of being lulled into a sense of slumber when they needed to be searching for Nancy’s weapon before she had the chance to use it again. Before it was too late.

"Come on," she said, grabbing Mark and Lee's shoulders and shaking them. "Try not to listen. It will put you to sleep and we'll be in a mell of a hess."

Green Sister 38

As GS and Mark made their way down the foot of the small mountains, Mark scanned the craggy surface and GS, walking with an erring sense of direction, focused on what she could hear. Mark tried to speak with her once, but was quickly silenced with a look and an upraised palm.

GS stopped short and grabbed Mark's arm. She pointed to an opening in the rocks about ten feet above them. Mark studied the area where she was pointing and then looked back at her with a puzzled look in his eyes. In frustration, she pulled him closer to her and raised up on her tiptoes to whisper in his ear.

"There are vibrations coming from there," she hissed. "I think that might be where Nancy has her machine. I'm going to go back and get the Major. You stay here to mark the spot so we don't have to re-find it."

Without a backward glance, GS turned and ran back the way they had come. She met Lee on the way, coming towards her, a handheld device in his hand that looked like a TV remote. When he got close enough he didn't have to yell, he said, "There are stronger betavoltaic emissions coming from the area just beyond you."

"That verifies my findings," GS said. "I picked up vibrations coming from a cave. I think we should climb up there and check it out."

"I've called for back-up," he told her.

"We don't have time for that. Now that Nancy knows we are on her trail, there's no telling what she will do. We need to find that machine and we need to do it now."

"Listen, lady, you may be hot stuff in the city, but this is a military operation. Civilians need to stay out of it."

GS gave him what she hoped was a withering look, then turned her back on him and started back down the road, leaving him with only two options. He could stand there and wait for his back-up, or he could follow her. GS didn't really care which he decided to take. She was going to stop Nancy for good this time, if it was the last thing she ever did.

Green Sister 37

The three made their way to the foot of the low mountains that dotted the horizon. As GS had said, there were a lot of caves.

"We don't have time to search every one of these," Lee said, frustration evident in his voice.

"I don't think we need to," GS said. "If I'm not mistaken, the machine Nancy has will have to put off some kind of signal. Major, do you have any kind of testing device in that car of yours? Something that will pick up betavoltaic emissions?"

Lee sent a startled look her way. "Why, yes, I have the prototype for an analyzer that can detect increased betavoltaic use, but how..."

He stopped as she held her palm up to him and turned to Mark.

"While the Major is busy doing that, you and I are going to walk that way. I want you to keep your eyes peeled for anything that looks... wrong. I'm going to be focusing on what I can hear. My instincts tell me Nancy's machine will not be completely silent and I think I might can pick up on the sound waves."

Without another word, GS started moving purposefully toward the caves. Mark looked at Lee, shrugged his shoulders, and followed her.

Green Sister 36

Thanking God for the reflexes being the Green Sister gave her, Janna leaped out of the way of the falling tree. The wind howled around her and the pine trees swayed, letting Janna know she had to get out of the woods before actual damage was done. The tingling feeling letting her know Nancy was close was gone and the Green Sister would have a better chance of getting out of this that Janna Thomaston would. With a quick spin, Janna disappeared and the Green Sister stood in her place. With wide leaps, GS traveled far beyond where the car had been stopped and discovered a small cottage that looked like it had been built into the hill itself.

A quick glance around assured her that she was alone and the lack of tingling sensation reassured her. She pushed open the door to the cottage and discovered... nothing. The house was completely empty, except for dust that covered the floor, outlining a clear spot that was eight-foot square. This must have been where Nancy had whatever it was she had created to harness the power of pi. They were too late. She had taken it somewhere else. Wherever it was, it was imperative they find it. That was too much power to rest in the hands of one person, especially a person like Nancy.

She had to get back to the car and let Lee and Mark know, but time was of the essence. There was nothing to do but let the Green Sister take the lead from now on and hope she could make good enough excuses for Janna's absence that the men wouldn't get any more suspicious than they already were.

Green Sister 35

Thanking God for the reflexes being the Green Sister gave her, Janna leaped out of the way of the falling tree. The wind howled around her and the pine trees swayed, letting Janna know she had to get out of the woods before actual damage was done. The tingling feeling letting her know Nancy was close was gone and the Green Sister would have a better chance of getting out of this that Janna Thomaston would. With a quick spin, Janna disappeared and the Green Sister stood in her place. With wide leaps, GS traveled far beyond where the car had been stopped and discovered a small cottage that looked like it had been built into the hill itself.

A quick glance around assured her that she was alone and the lack of tingling sensation reassured her. She pushed open the door to the cottage and discovered... nothing. The house was completely empty, except for dust that covered the floor, outlining a clear spot that was eight-foot square. This must have been where Nancy had whatever it was she had created to harness the power of pi. They were too late. She had taken it somewhere else. Wherever it was, it was imperative they find it. That was too much power to rest in the hands of one person, especially a person like Nancy.

She had to get back to the car and let Lee and Mark know, but time was of the essence. There was nothing to do but let the Green Sister take the lead from now on and hope she could make good enough excuses for Janna's absence that the men wouldn't get any more suspicious than they already were.

Green Sister 34

Janna didn't know what game Mark was playing at, but she decided to go along for the ride. If he had somehow figured out who she was, then she'd just have to deal with that later.

"Uh...yeah," she said. "I'll... see if I can find a thicket or something while you guys do all the heavy work."

Mark rolled his eyes and Lee grunted, his thoughts obviously already on the task ahead. Janna sighed. She could have saved her breath and not made quite an idiot of herself as far as her cousin was concerned. Oh, well. As Mark and Lee made their way, along with the driver to the tree blocking their way, Janna slipped into the woods, searching for a spot where she wouldn't be seen from the road.

A tingling traveled up her spine as she was getting ready to go into her spin and she stopped short. Nancy. Janna turned in a slow circle, her eyes searching for any sight of her nemesis. It would never do to let Nancy catch her turning into the Green Sister.

The limbs of the trees began blowing with the slight breeze that came up. Janna looked up, puzzled. The weather forecast hadn't predicted windy conditions today. The sky darkened and the wind grew stronger. The trees began to sway and the force of the wind knocked Janna off-balance. This was no normal storm. This was some of Nancy's doing and proof that they were very close. Janna had to turn into the Green Sister and see if she could locate Nancy before things got worse.

At the sound of a loud crack, Janna whirled around to see a tree falling right towards her.

Green Sister 33

"What the...," Lee yelled as he opened the car door and got out.

Janna struggled to sit up straight but Mark tightened his arms around her. She looked into his face and could feel her face flush as she noticed his gaze on her.
As she opened her mouth to speak, Lee came back to the car. Mark's grasp loosened and Janna sat up, straightening her clothes.

"There's a large tree in the way," Lee said. "It's going to take a while for us to get it cleared. Mark, can you come and help us?"

"Sure," he said. "Do you think it was put there on purpose to stop us?"

"I'm sure it was," Lee said. "We must be getting close. Nancy intended to slow us down and she's succeeded. I just wish I knew what she was doing that she needed to gain some extra time." He sighed, then directed his attention to Janna. "You going to be okay here while we move this tree?"

Janna didn't get the chance to answer before Mark said, his gaze intent on her face, "I think that Janna's having stomach problems again, aren't you, Janna?"

She shot a look at his face and saw a slight smile form on his lips as he held her gaze with a knowing look in his eyes.

Green Sister 32

Janna pretended she didn't see the looks Mark and Lee were giving her and, thankfully, they went back to discussing what they knew of Nancy the Black and her activities from before. She was relieved they didn't question her any further. As tired and distracted as she was, she didn't know she would be able to carry off the pretense of being simply a romance writer who had accidentally stumbled into something. She leaned her head against the back of the seat and closed her eyes, remembering the last time she had come up against Nancy.

With a cackling laugh, the tall, pale woman, her black hair streaming down her back, pointed her finger at the Green Sister. A sudden blast of artic air shot past her, nearly freezing Clarence.

"That's it," GS said, her anger reaching a boiling point at the danger to her small friend. "You've created enough havoc around here."

"And you think YOU are going to stop me? You and your little friend? Ha!"

Nancy the Black shot her icy finger towards GS again, but she was able to avoid it with a flip that put her directly behind Nancy. The Green Sister reached out, grabbed the back of Nancy's black form-fitting top and twirled her around. With a satisfying crunch, the Green Sister's fist connected with Nancy's jaw and Nancy sprawled on the floor.

GS let out a low moan as she cradled her bruised fist in her other hand. She didn't like using violence, but where Nancy the Black was concerned, it was worth it.


What happened after the police dragged Nancy off, Janna asked herself. Surely they had put her in a secure facility.

The car jolted to a halt, sending Janna sprawling into Mark's arms.

Green Sister 31

Mark and Lee were leaning against the car talking when Janna walked up

"Are you okay?" Mark asked, concern in his voice, as Janna reached them.

"I'm better," she said, forcing weakness into her voice. "It must have been something I ate."

She noticed Lee looking at her with a speculative gleam in his eye and tried to avoid his direct gaze. He always was the suspicious type, which was why he was so good at what he did. That didn't make it easy for a girl to keep a secret around him, though.

"Let's go on, then," Lee said, after an uneasy silence. As they got in the car, he continued, "Reports started coming in about strange things happening here... buildings suddenly curving, mostly. There had been rumors in the Agency for years about someone trying to harness the power of pi. Then, we received a cryptic message from someone calling herself 'Nancy the Black'."

Mark frowned. "I've heard of her. There've been articles in the past about her in our newspaper." He turned to Janna. "Don't you remember? There was a whole series of pieces about her a couple of years ago. I thought the Green Sister had taken care of her back then."

"I thought so too," Janna said. She tried hard to keep a wry tone out of her voice, but from the looks her cousin and Mark shot her, she was pretty sure she'd not succeeded.

She mentally crossed her fingers, hoping they would let it pass and not pursue this any further.

Green Sister 30

The Green Sister listened intently to the silence around her. In the background she could hear the muffled sound of Lee and Mark talking. She focuses and they faded even more into the background, leaving her senses open to the bond that she and Nancy shared. After only a few seconds, her body began to tingle on the right side. With determination, GS turned that way and began a loping run. Hopefully she wouldn't need to go very far, but she knew from experience not to burn herself out with a sprint.

As she traveled, the tingling grew stronger, until her face felt as if it were on fire. In the distance, she could see a large building and a small figure standing beside it, manipulating some kind of hand-held device. She drew nearer and, before she could get a look at the face of her adversary, the other woman cocked her head as if she heard GS coming, then shimmered out of sight.

GS stopped her run, swearing under her breath. To be that close and to miss her. That disappearing trick, that was new. It was going to be hard to overcome that, given that Nancy could sense her as readily as she could sense Nancy, but she would have to come up with something.

She made her way back to the administration building, turned back into Janna and walked back to the car, her thoughts whirled with what she had seen, ideas of how to get to the machine that Nancy developed and plans on how to rescue Ann from Nancy's clutches.

Green Sister 29

Somehow she had to find a way to get away from the two men. Only then could she change in the Green Sister and look for Nancy the Black. Somehow she must have involved Ann in her scheme to harness the power of pi.

The three sat in silence as the car moved through the empty streets. As they turned into the driveway of the university, Janna let out a loud moan and grabbed her stomach, doubling over.

With looks of concern, both Mark and Lee turned towards her.

"What's wrong?" Lee asked, as, at the same time, Mark said, "Janna, are you okay?"

"I...I don't know," Janna said. "All of a sudden I have a terrible cramping. I think we need to find a bathroom... quickly."

Lee tapped on the driver's shoulder, directing him to pull over. Janna got out of the car and, yelling over her shoulder that she'd be right back, started running toward the nearest building, still clutching her middle. Once she was out of sight of the car she looked around and, not seeing anyone, turned the ring she wore on her middle finger three times to the right, then five times to the left. With a puff of smoke, Janna Thomaston became the Green Sister, resplendent in her form fitting black catsuit and chain cape. She briefly mourned the fact her magnetic bike wasn't with her, but that was life. Hopefully, she would be able to pick up Nancy the Black's aura, be able to avoid both her freezing finger and whatever she'd developed to turn everything circular and rescue Ann from whatever hold Nancy had on her and make it back to the car before Mark and Lee got too impatient.

Green Sister 28

Janna shook her head "no." "The first thing we knew was some guy in a decontamination suit just rushed us off when we went to Ann's office. She was in high school with the two of us, and I wanted to talk to her about her job." That was close enough to the truth.

Lee wiped his face with his hands. "You do have a knack for turning up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Okay, I'm going to tell you what I know...but it's against my better judgment. Ann Vivane has apparently been working on a way of harnessing the power of pi."

Janna gasped and Mark slowly nodded his head, almost as if he expected that answer. Janna turned and glared at him.

"You suspected her all along, didn't you?" she said, her hands clenching in her lap.

He had the decency to look shamefaced as he admitted, "I knew she was working on something like that several years ago. That's what our falling out was about. She was always an intense person, but after she left school and we got in college, things went worse. We started hanging around with these people who wanted to not study mathematics as a pure science, but find ways it could be applied. That was all well and good, but some of them wanted to harness the power for monetary value, not for altruistic motives. That's where she and I split apart."

"You could have told me," Janna said, trying to be calm.

"Why? You said you just wanted to ask her questions about her job for background for a book. You didn't say anything about us walking into anything else."

Janna turned away from him and looked out the window, over her cousin's stony profile. There was nothing she could say ... nothing that wouldn't reveal her secret. And, she would not risk anyone else getting hurt because of her secret.

Green Sister 27

Just as Lee got into the car, Janna and Mark reached it and Janna grabbed the door handle as Lee tried to shut the door.

"Nice try, cuz," she said, as she pulled the door open and she and Mark got in the backseat with Lee. "I'm a lot quicker now than I was when I was six."

Lee smile wryly. "Well, you can't blame a guy for trying. Mother will have my head if anything happens to you. She nearly did the last time. The three of us are the only ones left, so..."

"I can take care of myself."

Mark broke in. "I hate to break up this happy family reunion, but will someone tell me what's going on? What does all this have to do with looking for Ann and getting an interview?"

Lee snorted a laugh. "Is that what she told you? She's always dreaming up some hairbrained reason for getting involved in things that don't concern her."

"I DID come to Falstaff to talk to Ann. I have some questions about the next book I'm going to write." Even to Janna, her tone lacked conviction.

"Oh, I don't doubt you want to talk to Ann Vivane," her cousin said calmly. "I just don't think it has anything to do with your books. I think, somehow, you've managed to find out what she's been doing."

"Doing?" both Janna and Mark echoed, the surprise evident in their voices.

Lee looked at them with consternation. "You really DON'T know what's going on, do you?"

Green Sister 26

Lee cleared his throat and tugged at his collar. He took a handkerchief out of his pocket and wiped his brow.

"Listen, Janna," he said, leaning over the desk and talking in a low voice. "Please, just forget you saw anything. I can't believe you were brought by that way, but you don't need to get involved in this."

Janna leaned back in her chair and folded her arms as she studied her cousin. She was almost tempted to give in and tell Lee what he wanted to know, just to wipe the look of fear off his face, but she knew she would never be able to rest until she reached the bottom of this mystery. With a hint of regret, she slowly shook her head "no."

Lee bowed his head and then, as if coming to a silent agreement with himself, looked back at her and said, "Okay, but don't say I didn't warn you. The last case you got involved in nearly killed you and I think this is going to be even worse."

He stood up and started walking toward the front of the tent. Janna grabbed Mark's hand as she began to follow him.

"C'mon," she said, as Mark nearly fell out of his chair. "He won't wait for us. That's a favorite trick of his... telling me I can go with him then moving so fast I can't keep up. It might have worked when I was six, but I'm not going to let it work now."

"What's going on? It sounded, back there, like you and he have quite a history."

"His mom and mine are sisters and they used to spend summers with us on the coast. He was always a pain in the butt, and hasn't improved with age. But, right now he's the best chance we have at finding out what Nan..."

With a sinking feeling, Janna realized that she had almost let her suspicions slip. Darn Lee, anyway, for throwing her so off-balance.

"Who is Nan?" Mark asked, confusion evident in his voice.

"I'll explain it later," Janna said, sprinting to keep Lee in sight. "We don't have time right now. He's almost to that car."

Green Sister 25

Of all the men in all the military tents in the world, the one that had to walk in on Janna was Major Lee Griswold. She sat there staring at him in disbelief. The days wasn't bad enough already, apparently. He sat in the chair, a smirk on his clean shaven face.

After a silence, Griswold said, "I should have figured you would show up here... somehow, someway you always manage to get yourself into a mess. What are you doing here?"

"Is there someone else I can talk to? Maybe a janitor? Or perhaps Hannibal Lector is available."

"Tsk, tsk. Such bitterness. And we had such a wonderful time the last time we were together.”

“Hmph. Such a wonderful time together, my foot! You nearly got me killed," Janna said, not caring that her voice had risen. She sensed Mark turning around in his chair, but did not turn her attention from the man in front of her.

“I told you to stay behind…that it was dangerous for a civilian, but you have always had to do things the hard way, even when we were kids. You are congenitally unable to accept advice from anyone.”

“Not anyone… just from you.”

The two glared at each other for several moments.

Janna shifted in her chair then sighed. “How’s Aunt Betty? And what’s going on here that it requires the Special Attache’s attention?|”

Griswold grinned. “Mother’s fine and you know I can’t tell you that, even if you are my favorite cousin.”

Rolling her eyes, Janna said, “Puh-leeze… I’m your only cousin! And… does all this,” she waved her arm at the bustling tent, “have anything to do with the odd shaped barn I saw on the way in from the campus?”

As the blood drained from her cousin’s face, Janna knew she was on the right track. And, she also knew that things were a lot worse than she had thought if it brought that look to Lee’s face.

Green Sister 24

Janna's stomach tightened and a band began tightening around her forehead. She cast an anxious gaze around the room. She recognized the feeling... it was the same one she got everytime she and Nancy were in the same room. Nancy the Black was here. A quick look was enough to assure her that, if her instincts were correct, Nancy was not here in her trademark black clothing and mask. Of course, she reminded herself, you aren't exactly advertising you are the Green Sister, either. Somehow it had never occurred to her that Nancy also had a life outside of her criminal activities. In her favorite show growing up, Batman, the Joker, Riddler, and Penguin were always the Joker, Riddler, and Penguin.

Janna and Mark were ushered toward the far end of the tent. Janna's sense of danger increased around the middle of the tent and then eased off as they walked toward the back. Further away from Nancy. Further away from being able to tell who Nancy was. She craned her neck scanning the room behind her.

"What's wrong?" Mark asked in a whisper.

"Nothing," Janna said, turning her attention back toward the front. "Just looking at everyone."

As they were directed to sit in chairs at separate desks, Janna and Mark exchanged glances. Janna could see her emotions echoed in Mark's eyes...no matter how much they might distrust each other, there was comfort in being together.

Janna sat in the chair and folded her hands in her lap, waiting for someone to come question her. She mentally itemized the few items on the desk: blotter, pens, papers. She tried to make out what the papers said, but before she could she heard the desk chair being pulled back. She glanced up and her mouth went dry. Of all the people in the military to be assigned to question her, why did it have to be him?

Green Sister 23

As they followed the man out of the building and into a van idling beside the curb, Janna kept looking for anything out of the ordinary...anything that might give her a clue as to what was going on. The van pulled out of the driveway and turned back toward the town. Across a field, Janna caught site of a strange-looking building. On one hand, it looked like a barn... it was red, with large doors and what appeared to be a hayloft, but it wasn't square or rectangular. It had a decided circular appearance, as if someone had taken a barn and forced it into a round mold.

There had to be some connection between Nancy the Black and this place, but what could it be? Maybe when they get to whereever they were being taken, she could find Ann and get some answers.

The van stopped in front of a large tent and Mark and Janna were bustled out. The tent was crowded with people sitting in chairs and being questioned by men and women in military uniforms.

Green Sister 22

They were just about to open the door when a harsh voice came echoing down the hall.

"What are you people doing here?" A figure dressed in a decontamination suit trudged down the hall. "Didn't you get the message that the campus was closed?"

Janna and Mark looked at each other in confusion.

"We just drove onto the campus. What's the matter?" Mark asked.

The man swore softly. "You weren't stopped on the road?" Without waiting for an answer, he spoke into a walkee-talkee and ordered the disembodied voice on the other end to check the perimeters. He then turned his attention back to Mark and Janna.

"We need to get you out of here. Come with me."

Janna stopped him as he turned around. "Wait just a minute. Who are you and what is going on around here? We've come to see somebody."

"All of your questions will be answered in due time. Right now we need to get you to a place of safety."

Mark and Janna exchanged glances. Mark shrugged.

Janna said to Mark, quietly, "I don't like this, but I don't see that we have a choice right now."

Green Sister 21

Janna silently thanked God she had already thought out her cover story as she told Mark her supposed reason for going to see Ann. Although he raised an eyebrow as she said she wanted some background information for a story, he didn't press her further.

The dashboard clock was just showing four o'clock as they pulled into Falstaff and onto the University campus. As Janna had hoped, the different departments were clearly marked on white signposts and within minutes she pulled the car into a visitor's parking place in front of the Slocum Mathematics Center. Finding Ann's name and office number on the glass-enclosed case in the lobby, Janna and Mark headed to the elevator.

The third floor was tiled and their steps echoed in the silence.

Janna whispered to Mark, "Wouldn't you think there would be people around, even at this time of day? It's not that late."

"Maybe they are having spring break or something," he replied, in an equally quiet voice. "Come to think of it, I didn't see anyone outside in the Common either."

Janna's heart started pounding as they reached Ann's office door. Something was not right.

Green Sister 20

Janna and Mark drove for half an hour in silence, Janna mulling over the questions she wanted to ask Ann... and how she could explain her sudden interest in numbers, in general, and pi specifically. Well, she was a writer and imagination was her stock in trade. It wasn't unusual for her to interview people in different fields for background for her stories, so... her next heroine was going to be a mathematician and, possibly she could meet the hero on March 14, Pi Day. That should work.... somehow.

"So," she said suddenly, her mind settled on the way she was going to approach Ann, "it must have been a pretty serious rift between you and Ann to cause you to worry so much about me."

"It was."

Janna waited, but it was obvious Mark was going to be no more forthcoming about it now than earlier. Janna sighed, audibly. It was going to be a long trip at this rate.

"You mentioned that you 'work' but you never said what kind of work you do." Janna tried again to engage him in conversation. Anything was better than the silence in the car and her hand itched to reach over to the CD player and turn Elvis back on.

"At whatever interests me at the moment. This past month, I've been working as a massage therapist at a spa down the street from my house. I spent last year in Brazil teaching English. I like having different experiences, so I spend time doing different things."

"That doesn't afford much security, does it?"

"It's not necessary. My parents were heavily insured and Gran put all the money in safe investments. I guess you could say I'm one of those 'trust fund babies,' but without the fame of some of them. And, a desire to do more with my life than have outrageous parties and be seen on television. Now, why don't you tell me why you are going to see Ann?"

Green Sister 19

"Okay," she said, after a long moment studying him. "Let's go. I don't want to get there too late. I have no idea how long she will stay at the lab, but if we wait til after office hours, there will be no chance of getting to see her tonight."

They walked back to the car and nearly collided as they both headed to the driver's side.

"Oh, no, buckaroo. You are not going to be one of those 'but the man always drives' kinda guy, are you? Cause I'm telling you right now... I am NOT giving up control of this car. It's my name on the contract and my responsibility."

Mark held up his arms in mock surrender as he backed off. "I was just going to open the door for you. I know it's old-fashioned, but Gran..."

"What is it with you and your grandmother?" Janna grumbled as she grudgingly stood back and allowed him to open the door.

After Mark returned to the passenger side and got in, he said, "I guess I do talk about her a lot. She was the most important part of my life for so long, it's a way of keeping her alive, I guess. My folks were killed in a boating accident when I was just a baby and Gran took me in and raised me. She died a couple of years ago and it just helps me remember her."

Janna was, for once, at a loss for words. "I'm sorry," she finally said, abashed at her flippancy.

"Don't be." Mark turned in his seat and brushed his hand against hers. "I have only good memories of her and she lived to see me achieve my dreams... or most of them." He turned away and fastened his seat belt. "Now, I believe we have a few 'miles to go before we sleep'."

After a glance at him, Janna cranked up the car and pulled carefully back on the road.

7.29.2006

Green Sister 18

"Okay." Janna stopped and turned to face him. "What did Ann do to you that was so terrible you felt like you had to sneak in my car?" And I still want to figure out HOW you did it without me noticing.

"You'll just have to trust me on this. You do not need to go see her by yourself. Especially since she's never forgiven you for that incident in high school."

"Forgiven ME? I wasn't the one who..."

"I know that and you know that... but, in Ann's mind it was your fault. And, when Ann gets a thought in her mind it doesn't let go. It's like a fish in a round bowl...it keeps swimming but just goes around in circles."

"Well, I don't know. But, as long as you're here, I guess I don't have any choice but to take you with me. There were some questions I wanted to ask her, but I can't imagine a grown woman holding something that happened in high school (even though it wasn't my fault) against me to the extent that it would be dangerous to talk to her. Besides, it would be nice to have company." She was sure there was a grudging tone to her voice. She hated to admit that... especially to Mark, standing here with a slight grin on his face. And, she hated that she noticed how it lit up his eyes. Funny, they weren't just brown as she had always thought, but more of a hazel. Today, they almost looked green.

With an effort, she pulled her gaze away from his and shook her head. There was nothing at all romantic about this trip. He had followed her, for heaven's sake. And snuck in her car. And, her thoughts suddenly flew to the manuscript sitting in her back seat, who knew what else he had been doing? She wrapped her arms around herself as she felt a sudden chill, despite the heat of the air around her.

Green Sister 17

Mark climbed out of the trunk, shook his head, and said, "I didn't think I was ever going to get your attention. And, I knew if I heard Elvis croon one more time, I was going to vomit. Are you locked in a time warp or something?"

Janna put her hands on her hips and stared at him. "Let me see if I'm understanding this picture. Somehow, you snuck into my trunk, scared me half to death with your pounding, and then you have the nerve to criticize my choice of music? What is it with you, anyway? And... what are you doing in my trunk?"

Leaning against the back of the car, Mark folded his arms across his chest and grinned at her. "Did you know that you blush when you get angry? And your eyes flash like emeralds."

"Oh, stuff it up your ear. What are you doing here? How, and why, did you get in my trunk?"

Mark stood up straight and walked up to her, placing his hand on her arm. "I became suspicious when you were asking about Ann. And, I was afraid you were about to get into trouble, so... I followed you."

"You followed me!" Janna jerked away from him and stomped off, furious at him and at herself for not noticing.

"I was worried about you," he said, following close behind her. "You don't know what she's become. I told you she and I had had a falling out... I didn't tell you what about."

Green Sister 16

Janna wished “Sunshine” had been able to make this trip, but it was just too long a distance for that little yellow bug. If she didn’t find a way to put some money into her pretty soon, she wasn’t even going to be able to drive it around town. She glanced at the fancy gauges on the rental, but just couldn’t warm up to it. The sooner she could get this business taken care of and get back home the better she would like it. It was only another couple of hours to Falstaff and she wanted to get there before dark.

A loud thumping came from the left rear. Frowning, Janna reached over to the CD player and turned down the volume of Elvis' "Hound Dog."

“Darn!” she exclaimed. “Just what I need... a flat. What more could go wrong? Maybe this trip to try and see Ann wasn't such a good idea.”

She carefully pulled over to the side of the road and got out, thankful there was a shoulder to pull onto. So much of this trip there’d only been swamp surrounding her. Walking around the car, slapping at mosquitos, she examined each tire. There was nothing wrong with any of them. As she walked past the trunk, a loud thumping caught her attention again.

“What the…?”

She went to the front of the car and popped the trunk. Cautiously, she walked back to the trunk, feeling in her pocket to make sure her pepper spray was in its accustomed place.

“Mark LaRue, what on earth are you doing there?”

Green Sister 15

Janna sighed as she glanced over at her manuscript. If she didn't finish these edits by this weekend, her editor was going to have her head. She just couldn't concentrate on this right now. Things were swirling through her mind. She needed to be able to find Ann Vivene and see if she can come up with any ideas. It wasn't going to be easy, given their history in school, but possibly she could find a way.

First, she needed to start with Dr. Defoe in Falstaff. The way Mark had said it, surely the doctor would be well-known in mathematical circles. History and literature had been her strong points, though. She was lucky she had managed to get through the math classes she had to take to be able to graduate.
Her fingers flew over the keyboard as she punched in the keywords: falstaff dr. defoe. BINGO! Pages of information... boy, he had been prolific. Her heart sunk as she scanned one item on the page. An obituary.

After noting the date of the obit, Janna pulled up the website for the Falstaff Observer. A quick search revealed an article about the doctor and his work. She had been pretty sure there would be something about him. At the bottom of the article, after descriptions of various awards and publications, was the notice "Dr. Falstaff's work will be continued at the present time by his able assistant, Ann Vivene."

Her next step was to get to Falstaff. "Sunshine" definitely wouldn't make the trip. The poor thing will barely make it around town sometimes. With one last look at her own manuscript, she grabbed the mysterious one off the table and headed off to Acme Car Rental to pick up something that would make the trip. Hopefully she would be back before the weekend and could finish her edits then. Or, she could throw herself on her editor's mercy once again.

Green Sister 14

She drew back her hand, furious at it for shaking so much and wiped her sweaty palms on her flannel sleep pants. What on earth was there to be so nervous about? Okay, so it showed up in the middle of the night in her home. Clarence didn't seem too concerned about it. Curious, yes. Concerned, no. That was a plus. It wasn't making any strange noises, it didn't rattle when she shook it, it wasn't a strange and odd shape. As a matter of fact, the shape looked very familiar.

With a deep breath, she reached out again, untied the twine and folded back the paper. A manuscript. Someone had crept into her house while she slept and left her a manuscript. She was just about to push the pile of papers onto the floor when the title caught her eye. "The Green Sister Revealed." What the...?

She grabbed the first few pages and scanned through them, desperately searching for clues that the anonymous author truly knew who she was. With a sigh of relief she dropped the pages on the table. Just the normal, run-of-the-mill National Devourer crap. She was often given manuscripts by wannabe writers, but mostly romance. They all thought she had some secret in with her agent and would be thrilled to introduce them....despite all the times she told people she was not allowed by her agent and publisher to read other people's work. In this world of sue-happy people it was just not safe.

She padded to the kitchen and glanced at the coffeemaker's clock. 5:00? Grumbling, she punched the "on" button, bypassing the automatic timer. No way was she going to wait two hours for a cup of ambrosia. She was amazed she'd been able to function this long.

Leaning against the counter, she concentrated on who would have been able to break into her home and leave the manuscript. And, more importantly, what were they trying to tell her? Was it a coincidence that they had chosen her as the recipient? Or, was there another, more sinister meaning behind it?

Green Sister 13

Janna sat up in bed, her heart pounding. Her skin felt clammy and she was gasping for breath. Thank God it had only been a dream. Nancy the Black had taken every building in town and turned them into circles, using the magic of pi which she had finally successfully harnessed.

Swinging her legs off the bed, she felt for her slippers with her toes, unwilling to turn on the light and face the brightness. Instead of fuzzy slippers, however, her feet came into contact with a prickliness.

"Clarence," she exclaimed, finally motivated to switch on her bedside lamp. "What on earth are you doing there?"

Clarence nudged a brown-paper wrapped parcel laying on the floor. Janna's gaze darted around the room. Where had that come from? She would have noticed it when she went to bed. A dust bunny dragging from the corner of the box caught her attention. It must have been under the bed, she mused. No telling how long it had been in the house, but she knew she'd not brought it in. Gingerly she picked the box up. Printed in block letters was her name.

"This doesn't look good," she told Clarence. "But, on the other hand, if it's been here long enough to collect dust bunnies..."

The bristles on Clarence's forehead stuck out and he snuffled.

"Don't act that way. It's not THAT dusty under my bed!"

Clarence snuffled again and Janna lifted her comfortor from the floor and glanced under the bed. After a sneezing account that ended three minutes later, she said, "Well, okay. Maybe the box hasn't been here very long, but how could anyone have gotten it into the house?"

As if in answer, Clarence ran into the living room where it stood next to an open window.

"Darn it!" Janna fumed as she slammed the window shut and locked it. "Who would have snuck in and left a package for me? This just doesn't make sense."

She went into the bedroom to retrieve the parcel and sat it on the dining room table. It was addressed to her, not the Green Sister, which was reassuring, since no one living knew where the Green Sister stayed or who she was in real life, so at least her secret still seemed safe enough. But, on the other hand, why sneak in a package to Janna Thomason, romance writer. Oh, well. Only one way to find out and she reached out her hand to untie the twine that wrapped around the box.

Green Sister 12

Mark looked at her a minute longer and then shrugged. "The last I heard from her she was in Falstaff, working with Dr. Defoe out there."

Janna glanced at her watch and exclaimed, "My goodness, look at the time. I forgot I had an appointment uptown in just a little while. Thanks for the ice," she continued, handing Mark the plastic bag with the melting ice. "My elbow feels so much better now."

Placing the bag on the tray, Mark walked Janna to the door. "I'm sorry you have to rush off. It's been nice having you here."

Janna impulsively leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek. "I enjoyed it, too, Mark. Maybe we could get together again?"

"I'll call you. Are you in the phone book?"

Janna nodded and went out the door. What was she thinking of? This was not the time for a possible romance. Not with Nancy the Black lurking out there. Her feet, though, seemed to ignore her brain's misgivings, as she floated down the hall and to her car.

Green Sister 11

Had Mark somehow, somewhere been able to discover her secret? She shook her head mentally. There was no one living that knew she was the Green Sister.

"So, what have I been doing?"

"You've been writing. I have friends who have all your books. And..." He paused, looked away, and blushed. "I have to admit, I've read them as well."

"You? You don't exactly fit the demographics for the general romance reader, but don't feel embarrassed. You like numbers so... did you know that in 2004, 22% of the readers of romance novels were male?"

"You're kidding! Really?"

"God's truth. So... it's not as uncommon as you might think."

"That's interesting." Mark got up and started clearing away the tray.

"Do you ever hear from anyone from school?" She had to hurry up and get to the point of all this before she ran out of an excuse to be here.

"The occasional card from Ann. Do you remember her?"

Janna's heart sang. "I think so." She frowned as if she were thinking. "You and she were pretty tight, right? Where is she now?"

"We... had a falling out over something a year or two back. So, I'm not sure where she is now."

"Oh. Well, where was she then?"

Mark sent her a look laced with suspicion. "Why all this interest in Ann? You and she had your own moments in school, if I remember."

Janna busied herself with readjusting the ice on her arm. "Oh, just idle curiousity."

Green Sister 10

Mark laughed. "Don't worry," he assured her. "They aren't made from thorns! The jam is made from mixed fruit from thorny bushes... like blackberry, raspberry, gooseberry, fruit like that."

"Well, that's a relief!" said Janna, as she picked up her scone again.

Janna thought she'd better start steering the conversation toward the information she wanted or she'd be there all morning finding out what "Gram" had to say. Of course spending the morning with the new and improved Mark would not be an struggle at all.

"Are you okay?" Mark asked, startling Janna out of her reverie and making her realize she'd been staring at him over her teacup.

"Oh, yeah," she said, sitting her cup down. "I was just wondering what you'd been doing with yourself since school."

"Working, mostly. I know what you've been doing."

Janna froze. "Oh?"

Green Sister 9

Janna jerked her hand back and turned to face Mark as he backed into the room. He turned towards her and lay the tray in his hands on the coffee table. Janna was amazed to see it laden with an earthenware teapot, a matching pitcher of milk and sugar bowl, two cups and small plates, a covered dish and a plate of biscuit-looking things.

"I brought some tea along with the ice. I thought you might could use something hot to drink." He laughed a little. "My granny used to say that there was nothing a "cupan tae" wouldn't cure. It was her answer for everything."

"Sounds wonderful," Janna said, moving to the couch and sitting down. She reached for the bag of ice which Mark had wrapped in a linen dishtowel and placed it on her elbow.

"Here, rest your arm on this pillow." Mark hurriedly grabbed a corduroy pillow from the leather chair by the sofa and placed it gently under Janna's arm. "That way, you won't have to hold the ice. It would make it difficult to drink a cup of tea while holding that ice."

Mark's grin when he said that sent Janna's senses reeling. Where was the pudgy boy with glasses and bad skin she remembered from high school? The one who always had a calculator stuck in his back pocket and had been known to bring a slide rule to school?

"And," Mark continued, as he walked back over to the chair and sat down. "I'm afraid Gran also made sure I developed the habit of 'elevenses.' It really works out well, since I normally don't eat breakfast. Shall I be mother?"

Without waiting for Janna to reply, he poured milk into a cup, added the fragrant black tea, and handed it to her.

"There's sugar in the bowl," he said. "Gran always said that a lot of sugar would help with shock."

Janna added a couple of spoons of sugar, stirred it and took a sip.

"It's... stronger than I expected."

"Gran always said it needed to be strong enough for a mouse to trot on. I guess it takes some getting used to. Can I get you anything else?"

Janna smiled at him. "No, this is fine. Now, tell me how I should eat these biscuits."

"I'll have you know these are good Irish scones!" Mark grinned at her again. "Properly, we should have some clotted cream, but it's not that easy to find around here. So, I've brought some jam." He pushed the dish close to her.

She took one bite of the scone with a spoon of jam on it and closed her eyes as she chewed.

"Mmmmm. This is heaven. What kind of jam is it? I've never tasted anything like this."

"It's called bramble jam."

"Bramble? As in thorns?" Janna carefully sat the scone back on her plate.

Green Sister 8

Janna was never one to miss an opportunity that had been handed to her on a silver platter.

"I...I believe I might have hurt my arm when I fell," she stammered, grabbing her elbow. "Do you know where I could get some ice?"

"Sit, Bruno!" Mark said sternly to the dog, who was nuzzling at Janna's leg. "I live in this building right here. Let me go deliver Bruno to his owner and we'll see about looking at your arm."

The three of them walked into the apartment building and Mark punched the up button for the elevator. While they waited, Mark explained to Janna that he was walking the dog for his neighbor, who had broken her leg the weekend before.

"He's a handful, but he's a good puppy. Geri is just waiting for her house in the 'burbs to get finished. It will be good for him to have a yard to run in."

After delivering Bruno to Geri, Mark and Janna walked down the corridor to his apartment.

While Mark went in the kitchen to get the ice, Janna walked around the tastefully decorated living room, examining the shelves. Along with the expected treatises on math and quontum physics, she was surprised to see volumes of Wordsworth, Scott, Blake, Baillie, and Equiano. Funny, she would have never thought he would be interested in the Romantics.

On his desk, next to his computer, was a leather-bound address book. She was just reaching for it when he walked back in the room.

Green Sister 7

Janna climbed into her little yellow bug and switched the key. She was relieved when "Sunshine" purred into action. Sometimes the car seemed to have a mind of its own when it came to starting, so she was relieved that today "Sunshine" seemed to be cooperative. Maybe driving would help her concentrate and come up with a plan.

She pulled in front of Mark's apartment building and still didn't have a clue how she was going to approach him. Figuring she would just have to wing it when the time came, she got out, locked the door, and was turning around when she was hit from the side by a force that knocked her onto the ground.

"Oh, my God, I'm so sorry," a deep male voice said through her daze. "Let me help you up."

Janna untangled the leash that had wrapped around her legs and pushed the exuberant horse-sized dog off her, brushing aside the hand that tried to help her.

"I'm okay," she said, as she got to her feet and checked out her arm. She looked up into a face that was vaguely familiar.

"Janna? Janna Thomason? Is that you?"

"Yes, it was the last time I checked my driver's license. Don't I know you?"

"Yeah, we went to high school together. I'm Mark LaRue."

Green Sister 6

The Green Sister sat at her computer desk, her fingers flying across the keyboard. She Googled Ann Vivene and was amazed at the number of links that came up on her screen. She sighed. All of the links had to do with papers Ann had published. Surely there was some way she could find Ann's address or telephone number. She rested her chin on her hands. Ann's best friend in school was Mark LaRue. He was still in town. Surely he would know how to get in touch with Ann.

Grabbing the telephone directory, she flipped to the L's. There he was... and he lived just a few blocks away. Hmmm, it would be better to approach him as Janna Thomason. She didn't want him to associate his old classmate with The Green Sister.

"Clarence," she mused aloud to her hedgehog, "I need an excuse to contact Mark. Can you come up with any ideas?"

Clarence just looked up at her, cuddled down on his pillow and started to purr.

"A fat lot of good you are," grumbled Janna. "I guess I'll just have to come up with something on my own."

Green Sister 5

Janna curled up on the bed next to Clarence and studied the pictures. After her visits to the damaged statues, she had retreated to her lair to try to figure out what her next step should be. Letting the pictures drop on the bed, she leaned her head back against the leopard print pillows and closed her eyes. A name hovered at the edge of her consciousness and, rather than trying to grasp it, she cleared her mind, knowing that nature abhors a vacuum and there was a possibility the name would be sucked in.

She lay quietly for a few minutes while Clarence climbed on her chest and batted at her chin with his paw. "Ann Vivine"...that was it. Ann had been a math nerd in college. Maybe she could help with this puzzle and help Janna find a way to defeat Nancy the Black before Nancy did any more damage.

Green Sister 4

"Can I take these with me?" GS looked up at Det. Novak with what she hoped was a winsome smile.

"Sure, I had copies made for you." He waved her thanks away as she tucked the photos into her utility belt.

"Okay. I'll let you get back to it, then," she said, giving him a wave as she left the room managing not to trip over anything.

Retrieving her magnetic bike from its precarious position against the sign, she spun her way into traffic and went to view the first damaged statue for herself.

Arriving at the Giant Mushroom that had been erected in the days when the city was the "Fungus Growing Capital of the World," GS saw it had been surrounded by bright yellow crime tape. People were standing around gawking at the 'shroom which had been studded with black crystals and paint in the shape of pi. Definitely Nancy the Black's work. GS didn't understand Nancy's strange obsession with pi. Now, if the obsession had been with PIE, she could have fully comprehended that, but she was afraid she'd been left out of the loop when it came to receiving any kind of math gene. It was going to take all she could do to try and match wits with Nancy this time.

Green Sister 3

The Green Sister tripped over the threshold as she walked through the door of the police station. She turned and glared at the offending threshold before continuing down the corridor to Det. Novak's office. A coughing attack assailed her as she pushed the door open and was enveloped with stinky cigar smoke.

"Hey, Novak," she called out, trying to wave the worse of the smoke away from her face, "haven't you ever heard of the Clean Air Act?"

Larry Novak stood up from the chair behind his desk. His normally pleasant face wore a worried scowl.

"Sit down, Sis," he said, with none of his usual jokes. "We have a serious situation here with Nancy the Black. We are at our wits' end. If you can't help us, I'm not sure what we will do."

GS winced at the clinking noise her chain cape made as she settled in the chair. Not for the first time did she envy her pal, Silver Snake, who had a jeweled cape. SS kept insisting the chain cape was so much more practical, but GS would love to feel more feminine sometimes. With an effort, she pulled her mind back to what Det. Novak was saying.

"...four in the last week," he concluded.

GS frantically cast her gaze around the office, seeking a clue to what she had missed. She caught a glimpse of a pile of pictures laying on the desk and motioned to them.

"Do those have to do with it?" she asked.

At Novak's nod, she reached over and picked the pictures up. Fanning through them, she saw what he had been talking about. Four of the city's most famous landmarks had been severely vandalized... and it was obvious it was Nancy the Black's work.

Green Sister 2

The Green Sister hopped on her magnetic bike, kicked it off its stand, and went roaring out of the garage, remembering to raise the garage door at the last moment. Ducking her head to avoid the edge of it, she felt the rubber seal brushing the top of her hair. She clicked the door shut with the button mounted on her handlebars and careened down the street toward Detective Novak's office. He was her contact to let her know when Nancy the Black was causing havok in the city. Intrigued with the Green Sister, he also knew her as Janna Thomaston, romance writer, but thought of romance as "those sappy books for bored housewives."

The Green Sister sighed as she thought of the tall, muscular detective. If only he could see past the disguise to who she really was. But, it was not to be and she consoled herself with the fact that at least they got to spend some time together.

She swerved across traffic into the police parking lot, hearing tires squealing and screeching behind her. There was an empty parking space in front of the door, so she wheeled in and hopped off the bike, leaning it against the sign that said "Parking for Chief of Police Only."

She threw her cape back over her shoulders, adjusted her mask and took her compact out of her utility belt. Studying her face, she gave a quick nod of approval to her reflection. She was ready to find out what nefarious activity Nancy the Black had been up to this time.

Green Sister 1

The Green Sister, aka Janna Thomaston, sat crosslegged at the coffee table eating her favorite snack with her faithful hedgehog, Clarence, sitting beside the plate. He stuck his nose into her Banana Cream Pie and she pushed him away from her plate. Unfortunately, she pushed too hard and he fell off the table onto one of the many soft pillows that surrounded it, and curled tightly into a ball.

"Oh, you poor thing," she cooed, as she jumped up, upsetting the table and sending pie, paper plate and cutlery scattered on the tile floor.

"Drat!" she said, scooping up Clarence and kicking the debris out of the way.

At that moment, the cell phone on her belt vibrated. She snatched it from its holder and listened intently for a moment before she hung up, not saying a word.

"It's Nancy the Black, again," she said to Clarence, who had unrolled and was cuddled against Janna's chest. "You'll have to stay here, this time, though. Last time you almost got frozen when you got between us."

She deposited him on his pillow at the foot of her bed, donned her chain cape, and hurried out to the garage to her magnetic bike. Hopefully, this time Nancy would not escape her blazing finger.