Chapter 33. Mrs Janis
Erin put the phone Greenwood had given her in her pocket. Etho had just called her to say they would be meeting back at the church in an hour.
Being back on Earth had been strange and made Erin miss Sunreth. The air was so much thicker than it was on Sunreth. Erin could only assume it was pollution. The rest of the group seemed to be enjoying themselves though.
Chad’s reaction to a car had been hilarious. When one drove past he leapt into Sevadus’ arms in shock, which had made everyone laugh, although Skereth had looked a little shaken herself as the car zoomed past.
When they’d arrived on Earth Greenwood had greeted them kindly and thanked them for coming to get him. Erin had glared at him and said if they’d had any other way to get rid of the Erizul Guild they would’ve done that instead of retrieving Greenwood. That had seemed to put the older man in his place.
Once they’d left the church Erin discovered, to her delight, that her bike was still there.
“I had a friend drive it down for you,” Greenwood said, “I thought it was the least I could do to thank you for taking me home.”
Erin ran over to her bike and hugged it happily. She turned to the rest of the group and grinned, “Mind if I take her for a quick ride? You guys stay here, I’ll be like ten minutes.”
The group had nodded and Erin had put on her helmet and zoomed off. She’d missed riding her bike, it was a great feeling to be it doing again.
Erin returned her mind to the present. They were outside the block of flats where Erin had lived for the last two years of her life. Erin walked up to the door and pressed the buzzer for the ground floor flat, her landlord’s flat.
“Hello?” Mrs Janis’ voice asked.
“Hey Mrs Janis, it’s Erin Way-”
“Erin! Where have you been! I was worried sick! A handsome, well dressed man came here and told me you’d gone away for a while. I thought you’d been kidnapped!” The elderly women rambled.
“Mrs Janis, please calm down. I’m absolutely fine,” Erin reassured, “Could you let me in? I’ve lost my key...”
“Oh certainly, my dear!” The buzzer sounded that let Erin know the door was unlocked. Erin pushed the door open and went to Mrs Janis’ flat. She knocked once and the door instantly swung open.
Mrs Janis was a short women, a little shorter than Erin, with short greying hair. She’d always been around to serve Erin a cup of tea if she needed it.
The elderly woman pulled Erin into a hug, “It’s lovely to see you again, my dear,” she held her at arm's length, “my, my, you’ve changed!”
Erin glanced down at herself, she supposed she had changed quite a lot in the past few months. Her eyes were harder, maybe more tired too. An observant person could tell she’d probably been to hell and back once in her lifetime. Mrs Janis smiled warmly at her, “You’re still the beautiful young women I met two years ago, though,” she then noticed the little entourage Erin had with her, “and who are these lovely, very tall people?”
Erin grinned and turned to her friends, “Well, these two guys are Chad and Sevadus. And this beautiful woman,” Erin put an arm around Skereth, “is my lovely girlfriend, Skereth.”
Mr Janis beamed at them, “It is lovely to meet you all! Erin never introduces her partners to me,” she said to Skereth, “maybe you’re special.”
“She is very special,” Erin confirmed.
Mrs Janis went to get Erin a key to her flat and lead the way upstairs. Erin carefully unlocked the door and took a deep breath before pushing open the door. It wasn’t as messy as she’d feared.
“I may have come in a few weeks ago and cleaned away all the bad food,” Mrs Janis said slowly.
“Oh, thank you!” Erin replied.
They made themselves comfortable and Mrs Janis left to give the group some space. Erin thanked her for letting her in and for the key.
Erin grabbed the TV remote and looked around at her friends, “You’re going to like this,” she said and turned on the TV. Her friends’ eyes went wide at the sight of it.
“How are they in that box?” Sevadus asked, scooting forward.
“It’s called a television, or a TV for short. You can watch movies and TV shows on it,” she gestured to the TV, “It’s currently playing an old show called Friends. It was very popular a few years ago, still is actually.”
“How does it work?” Chad asked.
“I don’t know the exact science, but there are cameras that capture moving images. It’s pretty cool.”
Erin left her friends marvelling over the TV while she grabbed her laptop and started to catch up on the news.
It was fifteen minutes before they had to meet Greenwood and Etho and the group had gone back downstairs to speak to Mrs Janis. Erin was sad to have to say goodbye to the sweet old woman, but she knew Sunreth was her home.
“Oh hello again, Erin,” Mrs Janis said once she’d opened the door.
Erin handed her the key, “It’s a very long, unbelievable story, but I’m moving to another country and that means I’ll be moving out.”
Mrs Janis forced a smile but Erin could tell she was sad to see her go, “I knew you couldn’t stay here forever. Will you be able to keep in touch?”
Erin shook her head sadly, “I can’t, no...as I said, long and unbelievable story, but I’ve written it out in this letter,” she handed Mrs Janis the envelope, “I’m going to miss you,” she said gently.
Mrs Janis took the letter and pulled Erin into a hug, “I’m going to miss you, too. You’ve been like a...not, not a daughter...like a niece to me. Yes, you’ve been like a niece to me.”
“And you’ve been like the aunt I never had,” Erin said with a smile.
They hugged again before Mrs Janis bid them goodbye and the group left. Skereth put an arm around Erin’s shoulder to comfort her.
Soon after they arrived at the church to find Greenwood, Etho and none other than Craig waiting for them. Etho walked over to greet them and briefly explained the situation.
Erin frowned, “Greenwood’s just going to release you from your contract? No fuss?”
“I think he’s really desperate to get back to Sunreth. I’ve made him sign a contract of my own which means he cannot harm me or anyone I hold dear.” Etho explained, “Hopefully that will keep some people safe from him.”
“I wouldn’t trust him, but I’ll take your word for it,” Erin said slowly.
They followed Etho back over to Greenwood and Craig. Erin glared at Greenwood which instantly made him look sheepish.
“Hello Miss Wayne,” Craig said cheerily, “nice to see you again.”
“It’s actually Miss Wicken now, I have taken my late father’s name,” she turned to Greenwood, “you wouldn’t happen to know what happened to ol’ Dorian Wicken, would you?”
Chad put a hand on her shoulder, “Let’s wait to ask about that until we get back to Sunreth, I want to get home.”
Erin nodded, “Okay.”
The group walked over to the rift and prepared to travel back to Sunreth.
“Ready?” Greenwood asked.
Everyone nodded and Greenwood threw down the phial and a mist enveloped them.