THE MORAL INDIVIDUAL

Watching and Nebers

Six days after the children had first entered the tunnel, Terry and ToyLin drove to the place where they originally dropped them off. They waited for an hour, then left. They did this every day, in the morning and early evening.

They had not really expected them on that first day, and were not too surprised when they did not show up on the seventh day, but when they still had not returned after nine days they were worried and agreed if they did not see them on the tenth day they would go to see Marten.

On the morning of the tenth day when Terry and ToyLin were about to turn in to their place watching the tunnel entrance, they saw something that worried them more than not seeing their children. They saw Nebers climbing over the edge from where the tunnel entrance was hidden below.

They drove away as quickly as they could and went directly to Marten's.

When they had described what they saw, Marten asked, "how many of them were there?"

"At least a dozen," Terry said, and ToyLin agreed.

"How did they look?" Marten asked.

"What do you mean how did they look?" ToyLin asked. "They looked dirty, and ugly, and mean."

Marten laughed a little. "I meant did they look like they were in a hurry, possibly frightened?"

"Now that you mention it, that's exactly how they looked because they ran as soon as they reached the grass."

"There is only one reason I can think of for their running scared. They must have been in the tunnel and been confronted by the children and the children cannot be far behind. I think we have to act fast."

"What can we do?" the two women asked simultaneously.

"Still have your gun, ToyLin?"

"Yes, I have it now. I always carry it."

"Terry, could we enlist Franklin for a day?"

"Oh certainly."

"Good. Pick him up and bring some rifles. How long will you be?"

"Half hour at the most," Terry said and she was off.

Marten went into another part of the house. When he came back he had two rifles. He handed one to ToyLin.

"Remember how to use this?" he asked.

"Of course," ToyLin said. "I'll never forget when you, Harry, and I fought of those pirates with these. What are we going to be fighting off, Pahpeet?"

"Maybe nothing, Darling, but those Nebers will do anything to get thessaline. If they were frightened out of the tunnel by the children, it means the children are almost here and should be very soon. Even the simple minded Nebers might figure the children would have thessaline coming from ChildIsle. I expect they will return to the tunnel entrance with as many other Nebers as possible with the intent of taking the children when they emerge from the tunnel. It's the Nebers we're going to be fighting off," Marten said.

Terry returned with Franklin and Donald Nast, who insisted in being included. Everyone climbed aboard Terry's huge van and headed for the tunnel opening. Marten explained what they were doing on the way.

When they arrived there were already twenty or more Nebers scattered around the edge of cliff overlooking the tunnel entrance. The Nebers all turned to see Terry's van driving directly at them. Two of the Nebers pointed their guns at the van but ToyLin shot them both through her window, and they went over the edge.

Franklin, Donald, and Marten jumped out of the van, shooting as many Nebers as they could. All but one went over the edge.

Terry and ToyLin then jumped out of the van running to the edge of the cliff, and ToyLin viciously kicked the last Neber over the edge.

***