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"Okay, here's more: Dalt visited me on the shadow Earth after that. He's the one who raided my warehouse, stole a stock of weapons and special ammo. Burnt the place after that to cover the theft. I found witnesses, though. He'll be along-any time. Who knows when?"
"Another relative coming to visit," Random said. "Why couldn't I have been an only child?"
"Make what you will of it," Luke added. "We're square now. Give me a hand!"
"You coming through?"
He laughed, and the whole hall seemed to lurch. The opening in the air hung before me and the hand clasped my own. Something felt very wrong.
I tried to draw him to me, but felt myself drawn toward him instead.
There was a mad power I could not fight, and the universe seemed to twist as it took hold of me. Constellations parted before me and I saw the bright railing again. Luke's booted foot rested upon it.
From some distant point to the rear I heard Random shouting, "B-twelve! B-twelve! And out!"
. . . And then I couldn't recall what the problem had been. It seemed a wonderful place. Silly of me to have mistaken the mushrooms for umbrellas, though. . . .
I put my own foot up on the rail as the Hatter poured me a drink and topped off Luke's. Luke gestured to his left and the March Hare got a refill too. Humpty was fine, balanced there near the end of things. Tweedledum, Tweedledee, the Dodo and the Frog Footman kept the music moving. And the Caterpillar just kept puffing away.
Luke clapped me on the shoulder, and there was something I wanted to remember but it kept slipping out of sight.
"I'm okay now," Luke said. "Everything's okay."
"No, there's something. . . . I can't recall. . . ."
He raised his tankard, clanked it against my own. "Enjoy!" he said.
"Life is a cabaret, old chum!"
The cat on the stool beside me just kept grinning.