"Well, Ape," drawled a silky voice, "It's been three months since Doc left for the Fortress.  Do you really think we managed to pull it off?"

The gorilloid specimen beside him smirked.  "The last trace of that strafing run was resurfaced today!  Even if he's still got doubts when he gets back, there's no proof that what we said wasn't 'Gospel'!  I'll give you odds that he's trying to dope out a reason for his 'coma'...which, of course, he'll never fine!"

"Well...I just hope this sort of thing never happens again!  I don't think I could take it!"

"I know what you mean...Listen, let's make a deal!"  The homely chemist's brow wrinkled in thought.  "Every time we see any female falling for Doc -- or Doc getting soft-eyed over any 'skirt' -- what say we step in and bust it up!  It don't matter to me who gets her...just so she don't get her hooks into Doc!  We've seen what can go wrong if THAT happens!" 

Ham considered a moment.  "Deal!" he said, as he shook hands with Monk.  It was probably the last thing they would ever agree on!

Monk turned to the console on Doc's desk, punched several buttons and smiled.  "O.K., that resets the phone-answering gizmo.  Howsabout we get some chow?"

"I suppose the office can take care of itself for a while."  Ham scowled.  "Are you sure you set that thing right?"

"I know how to push buttons!" muttered Monk as he moved to the door.

"Matter of opinion..."

The door closed on the burgeoning argument.

An ebon mist that had mingled with the shadows of the darkening room swirled and coalesced.  Soon, a raven-clad woman with flaming hair stood in the office.  No alarms registered her presence.  The camera which kept ever-watchful surveillance on the office did not record her image.

She moved gracefully to the padded chair behind the great desk.  She softly stroked it, tasting the nuances of the leather with her fingertips.

"You are far away, my beloved," she murmured.  "I shall come again at another time...for we are not finished -- you and I."

Her eyes grew darker and starry and she smiled as her human form faded once again into ebon mist that seeped quickly away through a crack in the doorframe.

The room was once again deserted...but somehow colder than it had ever been before.


TAKE ME TO "Paty Sees Doc Savage", PLEASE! 

The Doc Savage characters are the property of Conde Nast.  All text and images are  1999 by Paty Cockrum and may not be copied without her express written permission.