Susan opened the large oak doors, and found her aunt. “Susan, how lovely to see you! Come over and kiss your poor old auntie.”

Susan embraced her aunt, and exclaimed, “Poor old auntie, my foot, you look wonderful!” And so she did, with rosy cheeks and sparkling eyes. “No need to ask how you’ve been!”

Minnie said “Oh I do feel wonderful. Must be something in the air here. How nice to see you, dear. How have you been? How do you like that new job of yours? Is your mother doing well?”

“Oh, she’s fine. She’s still furious with you, of course.”

“Tsk, it’s been ten years, you’d think she’d get over it.”

“And I love my job, Aunt Minnie. I’m a systems programmer at Systack. It’s just perfect for me—you were right, it’s like having a new puzzle to solve every day. But you—what happened to your house in Biloxi?”

“Oh, we were so careless, weren’t we Antoine?” She spoke to the middle-aged Chinese man who brought two more sherry glasses into the room.

“It was all my fault, you know it, Mina.” He shook his head, sadly.

“You mean you burned down the house?” Susan said.

“No, no, dear, the neighbors did it,” said Aunt Minnie. She made an exasperated noise with her tongue. “It’s such a pity. We’d lived in that house nearly thirty years, hadn’t we Antoine? No one seemed to mind when the vermin of the neighborhood disappeared. That man who beat his wife; that paroled child molester; the woman who embezzled all the money from the church; that high school teacher who sold heroin to her students.”

“But then that nosy woman moved in next door,” said Antoine.

“Oh, let’s just not talk about it, it’s too upsetting,” said Minnie.

“I’ve never understood how you got those people, uh, taken care of with no one noticing,” said Susan.

“Oh, I could never do it without Antoine. Although I must say he's slowing down. Antoine, you know you're not as fast as you used to be…”

“Tut, tut, look who’s talking,” interrupted Antoine.

“But I couldn’t do it without a shape shifter, that’s for certain. The child molester, now, that was so satisfying, and so easy. Antoine simply made himself into a little girl and let himself be lured into our backyard. Very tasty that man was, too; you know, the blood of evil people has a much fuller body and aroma than that of innocents. That woman, what is her name, some grain? Oh yes, Rice has it all wrong.”

Susan shuddered. “Better you than me.”

“Well. Anyway. Enough shop talk. So what brings you by for the first time in, what’s it been, five years?”

“Oh, how could I forget! I wanted you to meet Derek, my fiancé. But he’s wandered off. We are parked at the end of the lane—he was going to walk up and knock at the door. Didn’t he get here?”

“Tall man, late 30s?” said Antoine.

“Quite well dressed, Romanian accent?” asked Minnie.

“Yes that’s him—did you send him away?”

Antoine and Minnie looked at each other. "Oops" said Minnie.

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Created by KKris. Last Modification: Saturday 20 of August, 2005 15:17:04 EDT by KKris.