Chapter 7

Letters Home

News of Vincent’s letter soon spread throughout the tunnel community eliciting requests from everyone for word of their favorite couple. It got so bad that Father finally sent a message on the pipes announcing a public reading of it in his chamber. It developed into a party like atmosphere with William making punch and special pastries, the ingredients of which were supplied by Jenny who was asked to read Catherine’s letter as well.

The tunnel residents hung on every word and asked to have particular parts of it re-read. It was then the topic of conversation for days afterward everyone reiterating their favorite passages. The one that stood out the most, of course, was the fact that Vincent could father a child, a thing that had been speculated on for years.

Vincent’s male students were especially fond of the reference to sword fighting and had pestered Cullin for lengths of wood to be used as pretend swords. It was often that the clash of the ‘swords’ could be heard in the corridors outside of Father’s chamber.

Peter had come down for the reading and he and Father had discussed Vincent’s miraculous ability to supply such a quantity of blood on a daily basis. And they couldn’t wait for Vincent’s return to discuss the diagnostic equipment he had referred to.

All in all the letters kept the community buzzing for days until Jenny called, excitedly informing them that she had found another set of letters lying on the library floor when she had come in with the mail.

Father had dispatched Kipper to guide her to the hub and they eagerly read through them together. Kipper had then spread the word that more letters had been received and Father once again announced a mass reading.

Again his chamber was filled to capacity and everyone listened attentively as Father read Vincent’s letter first. It told that things were going along much the same and much to everyone’s relief no more lives had been lost to the virus. He also said that Sher-Kan had been teaching him how to fly a flitter, and besides his being married to Catherine, it was the greatest experience in his life.

Catherine related that Vincent would fly all day if they’d let him and that it filled her with joy to see him so happy. She told of her cooking lessons with Emily and said that she had some vegetarian dishes that she was sure William would enjoy. She had also written about Taka’s break-in, which Vincent had wisely left out of his letter to Father. Jenny had done a little judicious editing when she reached that part.

After the reading of those letters, the children could be seen with their arms stretched away from their sides ‘flying’ like Vincent down the tunnels.

Jenny had informed Joe and Isaac that additional letters had arrived and had given them the highlights over the phone. Joe had begun asking Jenny out on a regular basis, not because he wanted to get more information out of her, but because he genuinely enjoyed her company. They had gotten together and he had read Cathy’s letter in its entirety sighing with relief that she hadn’t been hurt in the robbery attempt.

After his conversation with Father he had pulled out all of Catherine’s cases that had involved a death, and found that if there were a body, the coroners report would invariably mention claw marks on the victims. Admittedly they were all men who were scumbags, or men who worked for scumbags. And most probably all of them had been out to either hurt Cathy or kill her. He couldn’t fault Vincent for protecting her or for using his natural fighting ability to do it. He wouldn’t hesitate to protect her either, but he would have used his gun. So really what was the difference? Dead was dead. He had the legal right to protect himself and his associates; Vincent had the moral right to protect someone he loved.

He did understand why Cathy didn’t want to tell him about Vincent, she was actually protecting both of them, him from having to choose between his friendship for her and his job, and Vincent from being incarcerated and made into some kind of media freak. He had pretty much decided to leave Vincent alone, after all hadn’t his freedom been curtailed for most of his life anyway? It’s not like a guy that looked like that could walk freely down the street. But looking through some of her cases brought back questions that she had never really answered to his satisfaction. When they got back he was determined to sit them both down and get his answers once and for all.

Yep, he thought, Catherine Chandler, aka Radcliffe, was going to been in for quite a surprise when she got home.