“Alright then,” said Sir John, “here goes nothing.”
He moved towards the massive facade doors of Hotel Raoul. His hand apparently gripped something but in fact was empty.
“I can’t see a keyhole,” said Sir John.
“I cannot see a key,” said Pierre, looking perplexed.
“It’s a special kind of key,” said Miss Henderson, standing close to him. “It took us hours to make. We had to build a special machine for it.”
“It is… invisible?” said Pierre.
“More or less,” said Miss Henderson. She thought about how they had planned the construction of the imaginary key. How Phlebotomous had imagined a machine to build the key, Morag had concocted some fictitious alchemy to give it puissance and how she had polished the key as if it were real. It had felt like a child’s game and she felt bad for secretly thinking it was doomed to failure. But she hadn’t shown her feelings.
“Can you see from over there?” said Sir John.
From across the road Miss Henderson took a moment to look up at the giant doors and the ornate frame that held them. It was a most impressive frontage and had it actually been attached to a building she was sure the building itself would have been magnificent. As it was, it seemed to be only the doors that had been built. She hadn’t bothered asking anyone why. This was Paris after all. That sort of thing was bound to happen.
Morag stood on Miss Henderson’s foot and she leaned down.
“Ask him where he thinks it should be.” whispered Morag. Miss Henderson stood up and looked up a bit confused.
“Where do you think it should be?” she said.
“Well I imagine it would be about here,” said Sir John indicating an area of the door just above waist height on the right. “Oh!”
Sir John pushed his hand into the space he had indicated.
“I think I may have found it. I’ll turn the key,” he said.
There was an audible click and Sir John stood back.
“Good Lord!” he said.
“What is it!” said Pierre.
“Well hello to you too,” said Sir John, staring at the door. “I’m not sure I feel the same way, but it’s nice to meet you nevertheless.”
“Who’s he talking to?” said Pierre.
Miss Henderson didn’t want to say, but she could guess.
“I see,” said Sir John. “Well, to answer your question I’m Sir John Jennings and I’m hoping to take the challenge. I assume you’re who I think you are?”
“Is he talking to the avatar?” said Pierre. He looked down the street and scratched his nose.
“Yes I’m ready to… break through?” said Sir John. “Is that what you said?”
He took a step forward and walked into the closed door. Miss Henderson couldn’t see the moment, or how it happened, but he definitely disappeared.
Just then an aristocratically dressed man ran past Pierre, glanced at him then ran at the door where Sir John had been. The man disappeared too.