Chapter no 32

Quantum Radio

That morning, Nora was showering when she heard a knock on the door. She ran her hands through her hair, trying to rinse the shampoo out, expecting the knocking to stop. It was likely Mrs. Whitcomb from next door, and she had likely run out of sugar for her tea again. Nora was happy to help her, and to lend her as much sugar as the widowed retiree needed, but it just so happened that her morning shower was where she did some of her best thinking, and on this particular morning she was in the middle of a very good thought, one she planned to incorporate into the manuscript of The Birthright.

The knock came again, booming this time, the sound loud enough to make Nora open her eyes for a fraction of a second before she shut them again, wincing from the stinging shampoo. It was a very insistent knock, a very non-Mrs. Whitcomb knock. A knock that said, We are not going away.

A knock like the police might make. Or the fire department.

She finished rinsing the shampoo off, turned the squeaking knobs on the wall until the showerhead sputtered and shut off, then stepped out of the porcelain tub just in time for another bout of knocking to echo through the small apartment.

“Dr. Brown!”

“Just a minute!” she called back, pulling a towel around her, worrying that whoever the man was, he had already woken half the building—and done it calling her name no less, so there would be little doubt who had brought the ruckus to this quiet corner of Oxford.

Nora jogged out of the bathroom, into the bedroom, hair dripping on the rug as she went.

A fire. That was the only real explanation for the disturbance and how insistent they were.

She swung the door open, revealing two men and a woman, all dressed in police uniforms.

From their expressions, Nora got the impression that waking the neighbors was now the least of her worries.

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