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1. The sun sets and rises again
2. The link between man and nature
3. All things on earth point home


“I suppose you’re all wondering why I’ve invited you here this evening, especially since I’m fairly certain that none of you has ever met any of the others.” The old lady spoke with authority; the look she was giving us only reinforced my growing opinion that this thing might have been a very bad choice for me, but it was a Saturday, and I had nowhere else I had to be.

I could tell from the confused glances of the other six people in the room that they were just as bewildered as I was. My invitation had arrived in the mail two days earlier, neatly hand-written on lavender stationery and postmarked in the city a few miles to the north of my home.

Miss Amelia Corcoran requests the honor of your presence at her home, 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, the ninth of November, nineteen hundred ninety-six. Please be prompt.”

I have to admit I was intrigued. I’d heard of Amelia Corcoran, of course, but we definitely didn’t run in the same social circles and I couldn’t think of any reason why she should know of my existence at all, much less invite me to…what? Not tea, obviously. Dinner, I supposed, was a possibility, but there was no mention of it on the lavender paper. And again, why? I shrugged and told myself why not? I decided to show up and find out. The worst that could happen was that she’d meet me at the door and say it was all a mistake and I wasn’t the person she expected.

Yeah, right.

By Saturday afternoon my curiosity was really pumped up. I showered and shaved and hauled out a freshly-pressed blue shirt and, wearing the closest thing I had to a suit, I showed up at the Corcoran estate at 8:30 on the dot. Prompt, as requested.

As I stood there on the doorstep it occurred to me that this might be an elaborate joke played by one of the guys in the office. The invite hadn’t asked for an RSVP. Either the old lady simply assumed I’d be there, or someone was going to have a good laugh at my expense.

I’d almost decided to turn tail and head for home when the door opened noiselessly and a tall young man said, “Good evening. Mr Faraday, it is not?”

I nodded, not sure whether to offer my hand. He solved the dilemma by stepping back and motioning for me to enter the hallway.


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