Geoff grew steadily worse and in his delirium he spoke of the “little boy” again and again. “I do want to help him get away, I do!” he cried.
Succeeding the delirium there came a state of lethargy. Geoffrey lay very still, hardly breathing, sunk in oblivion. There was nothing to do but wait and watch. Then there came a still night, clear and calm, without one breath of wind.
Suddenly the child stirred. His eyes opened. He looked past his mother toward the open door. He tried to speak and she bent down to catch the half breathed words.
“All right, I’m comin’,” he whispered; then he sank back.
The mother felt suddenly terrified, she crossed the room to her father. Somewhere near them the other child was laughing. Joyful, contented, triumphant and silvery laughter echoed through the room.
“I’m frightened; I’m frightened,” she moaned.
He put his arm round her protectingly. A sudden gust of wind made them both start, but it passed swiftly and left the air quiet as before.
The laughter had ceased and there crept to them a faint sound, so faint as hardly to be heard, but growing louder till they could distinguish it. Footsteps—light footsteps, swiftly departing.
Pitter-patter, pitter-patter, they ran—those well-known halting little feet. Yet—surely—now other footsteps suddenly mingled with them, moving with a quicker and a lighter tread.
With one accord they hastened to the door.
Down, down, down, past the door, close to them, pitter-patter, pitter-patter, went the unseen feet of the little children together.
Mrs. Lancaster looked up wildly.
“There are two of them—two!”
Grey with sudden fear, she turned towards the cot in the corner, but her father restrained her gently, and pointed away.
“There,” he said simply.
Pitter-patter, pitter-patter—fainter and fainter.