Thursday, May 30, 2013

Wyre Rat (Part 10)

Instead I went back to my room to finish packing. The clock radio on the nightstand played softly, and I knew precisely what that meant. Leave as scheduled.

I carefully rolled a set of clothing as small as it could get, wrapped it with all my money and pulled a larger bag out of my suitcase.

I sat on the edge of the bed. One of the porters came to get my bags and I let them go. They'd be sent ahead--according to the schedule, the bags would arrive before me at the new hotel. I would travel tonight.

I hit the snooze button again.

With a flip of my hair I walked down the stairs again, saw the bags delivered to the car that would take them to the new hotel. It always seemed an odd arrangement to me, but the travel team insisted that I and my bags travel separately when possible.

Perhaps exactly for situations like this, where I would need to travel quiet and light. I moved through the lower levels, looking for the old woman, but aside from a few servant girls gossiping while they cleaned the parlor the place was empty.

A rat's instincts, perhaps. I swallowed as I stared out across the tiny back lawn and heard sirens.

I strolled away from the house, walked down into a little park.

Then I walked on. Sirens behind me made people turn and I turned with them, peering toward the commotion while I moved backward a step at a time. The flippy little dress made me stand out here, but I'd have to wait until I could find a good place to change.

Around the first corner I continued walking. This area was a market square, of a sort. One of the booths sold calf-high leather boots. I stopped to admire them, picked up two pair and tucked a brightly colored kerchief in my bag.

The floppy sandals went in the next trash-bin I passed.

Everywhere I looked, I saw cats. Big cats, little cats, dark cats and light cats. Dogs too, now that I was less focused on the mission. A furry mongrel followed me for several blocks before he got the idea that I wasn't going to feed him.

If even one of these animals was wyre, I was dead in the water.

I kept walking, making sure everyone saw me. I played tourist, taking pictures of everything, and acquired a big floppy hat like I saw the locals wearing.

Gradually I made my way deeper, toward the bay area. I found a small warehouse that appeared untenanted and changed clothes, stuffing the flippy dress into the bag with the rest of my supplies.

I walked away and disappeared.

Part 11

If you want to start at the beginning: Wyre-Rat episode 1

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