After Maude, Oyzell, Bernie and the Lochs had told May their story and explained that they were from a parallel Melrose—or Universe, who knows?—Oyzell said: "really, this place gives me the creeps, it's not the Melrose I know and love, I can't stay in a world where the Nazis won the war, that's a Rubicon I won't cross, I'm going to have to go back up the Hills and try to find the way home," and May exclaimed: "can I come too?" which gave Maude a fillip, remembering how determined her cousin had been all her life—still is, back home in their Real World—but she asked: "what about your Ma and Pa, honey, we live in 2020, our parents are long gone, the May who still lives in this house, with Cristo, sometimes Daphne and I, when we can get away from Edinburgh, we're all really old now—not that I am inside my own head, but we are, truly—and there's your Cristo, Maude and Daphne, could you really leave them all?" and May stood up, fists clenched at her sides: "from what you say, about parallel worlds, I believe you, there may be hundreds, millions, with some things the same and others different, are they all equally real? or just phlizz, if you're not there to experience them? let me come, and maybe some-time, I could come back and fetch the rest of the family, if that's possible, is it?" which put Maude in a quandary, a real quadrivial quandary, but it was Oyzell who decided it: "for sure, May, for sure, if the boys are okay about it, we should head straight up to the Cavern while the Collaborators and Quislings are busy with AKA and his cronies, dontcha agree already, Maudie?" and Maude did, so, leaving a brief note for her parents and Cristo, and taking nothing of her own, May quickly locked the house, pocketing the key, and they set off, taking a more direct route to save time, while in the distance they caught the strains of a troubadour's guitar and his voice as he sang a rather rude song about Hitler having only one something or other, in the wind it was difficult to be sure what, and there was another surprise ahead, for as they neared the shoulder between the North and Middle Hills, May caught sight of Cristo, knapsack swinging, as she strode down towards them, and the younger girl ran up to her cousin, pouring out the story in a torrent which had Cristo looking confused, excited, distraught, perplexed, resolute, and triumphant as she embraced Maude, staring hard into her eyes before saying: "yepp, same glint, you're Maude alright, put on a bit of weight, but it suits you, so where's this portal the kid's yapping about?" and between them, Maude, Oyzell and the boys retraced their steps until they were certain, then Oyzell took off her beret and threw it ahead, and it vanished, so, holding hands, in case any one of them take a misstep and end up alone somewhere else in the Universes, they filed through and found themselves standing on the same hillside, just a few yards further on, gazing down at the old Dingleton Hospital site, now a modern housing development, and a Borders Buses vehicle coming up Dingleton Hill, and when Maude checked her watch she said: "we're home, Oyzell, give or take a day or so, look," and she pointed out the white cliffs at the top of the Langlee Estate in Galashiels, cars on the Bypass below them where in the Melrose they had just come from the railway still ran between Edinburgh and Carlisle, Oyzell hugged her, tears streaming down her face, and the two girls from another Dimension stood, obviously nervous now, but also itching to rush down and rediscover the only house they had ever lived in, and that was when Bernie, in a sombre voice, said: "okay, Ladies and Gents, Boys and Girls, let's act responsibly here, we don't want to draw attention to ourselves, so. . . . .last one down's a sissy!" and he was off, like a goat, leaping from tussock to tussock, not far behind were Dudd and Cammy, with May and Cristo who knew every sheep-track and rabbit hole, soon passing them as in turn the boys tripped and fell, rolling and laughing, and holding hands for safety, stepping quickly but carefully, Oyzell and Maude brought down the rear until they all stood on the pavement, just above the old railway bridge which now carried a stream of cars, vans, lorries and tractors going in both directions and Maude explained to Bernie and the other two that they would turn left at the Square and go down the High Street, she and Oyzell wanted to pop into the Co-op for a couple of bottles—of what, she didn't specify—and a paper, to check the date, and then it would only take five or so minutes for them all to walk up to where the Old School House stands in the fork of High Cross Avenue and Waverley Road: "and May and Cristo can meet themselves," she said, laughing uncertainly, but the two girls gave the older ladies a hug each and lead the way down to the Square, while Oyzell pointed out things which they would see had changed since the war.