"It's Miss Hermit," came a familiar voice. "May I come in?"
"Yes, of course!" Bookworm opened the door swiftly, seeing the familiar, pale visage. "I'd been hoping to find you--I desperately need to talk to you."
"I think I know why," Miss Hermit replied with a smile. "And that actually has been taken care of now." She reached down to pick up a crate set next to her.
Book reached out to help her carry the crate inside. As Miss Hermit set it down, Bookworm saw the stained cloth wrapped around her hands. "What on earth?"
Miss Hermit looked down at her hands. "I can explain that."
"You'll explain that while I bandage them," Bookworm replied sternly. She bustled into her bedroom, first bringing out bandages, then a pan of water. As she first washed the multiple cuts on Miss Hermit's hands, then wrapped them in clean bandages, she listened intently to what Miss Hermit had done in the graveyard. Several times, her hands slowed and faltered in her astonishment. But by the end of it, she felt relief.
"Thank you," she said feelingly. "I'm glad to know so many of them are safe. I just wish...we could have done something for the others, before Slenderman got to them. Or gets to them."
Miss Hermit nodded. "I was wondering, though, if you'd be willing to help me."
"Miss Hienrichs, I am going to need a place to hide these holders for a while. Mr. Slenderman knows me all too well and I am concerned he will put the pieces together quickly. I know you have had training with Mr. Somerset and Sofie tells me you are advancing nicely. I would humbly request that you take on some 'roommates' if you could."
Bookworm looked at her, startled, then frowned thoughtfully. "I suppose that's wise--best not to put all our eggs in one basket, so to speak. But would any of them want to stay here?"
Evie and Sofie suddenly manifested next to the couch. "I would," Evie cried softly. "I like you, Miss Bookworm."
"I would like to stay here, too, if you didn't mind," added Sofie.
"And I," came the faint voice of Mac as his spirit joined the other two.
"Mac!" said Sofie sternly. "That's hardly appropriate!"
"Is it any more appropriate if I stay with Miss Hermit?" Mac replied, amusement plain in his voice. "We understand each other well, don't we, Miss Hienrichs?"
Book couldn't help but chuckle. "Yes, I think we do."
At that, Daniel also manifested. "Well, then, I'd best stay here, too. Someone's got to keep an eye on you, Mac."
Bookworm caught Miss Hermit's bemused gaze, and smiled wryly. "I did promise them I'd help them however I could. Giving up my privacy for a while is a small price to pay for knowing them safe."
Miss Hermit nodded, satisfied, then looked sternly at the spirits. "Now remember, all of you. You are confined to this room by the power of the holder. Please respect Miss Hienrichs. If you feel the presence of Mr. Slenderman retreat to the holder and be quiet. I shall come and see you all when I can."
She and Book carefully lifted the ghosts' vessels out of the crate, arranging them on the fireplace mantle. Bookworm looked on as Miss Hermit lifted up the crate. "Do you need help with that?"
"No, I can manage," she replied. "Thank you...and let me know if you need any help."
Bookworm nodded, holding the door open for her to exit. She watched as Miss Hermit safely reached the bottom of the stairs, then closed the door. She turned around, saw the four faint spirits standing around her couch, and smiled.
"Well. Welcome, roommates."