The Grey City XV

Sunday January 27, 2008 @ 12:01 AM (UTC)

The Grey City I
The Grey City II
The Grey City III
The Grey City IV
The Grey City V
The Grey City VI
The Grey City VII
The Grey City VIII
The Grey City IX
The Grey City X
The Grey City XI
The Grey City XII
The Grey City XIII
The Grey City XIV

The sisters stood straight, too tired or proud to recognize their danger.

“What’s this, then, Inspector Blackburn?” said a mousy young man with no decoration on his black uniform save the row of effulgent buttons.

The senior Runner flicked his stare from the waifs to the young man. “Were I not here, Jeffers, how would you determine what ‘this’ is ‘then’?”

Jeffers might have blanched, had the half-light allowed him any further shades of pallor.

The young man’s eyes rolled back in a shudder of pale eyelashes. It lasted only a moment before his piscine gaze was back on the girls.

“Carrie and Erin Owens. To be taken in if not properly housed by this evening.” The inspector nodded, and Jeffers inflated a finger’s breadth. “They aren’t much in the brawn department, are they?”

“No, and Country stock besides.” The inspector made a hollow clapping behind his back with his cupped hands. “What are the current statistics on Country workhouse assets, Mr. Jeffers?”

The eyes flickered again. “61% mortality within a year, sir, and poor work-to-investment.”

The Inspector nodded slowly and reached for Eirian’s shoulder. “Take a report. Carrie and Erin Owens, known vagrants, found dead of exposure at —”

“1:07 in the morning, sir.”

“Thank you.”

Carys stared up at the snake-dark eyes of the Inspector, and confusion began to kindle to anger. She grabbed the pristine wool sleeve in her dirty paws and pushed the man’s hand away from Eirian. “We aren’t what you said, and we aren’t dead! And don’t you ever touch my sister!” She found in the echoes that she was screaming. She, little Carys, the ladylike, the soft, screamed strong and shrill in the foreign night and liked the sound. She pushed Eirian behind her and faced the Runners.

The Inspector’s arm swung back, but not towards Eirian. The clean, white hand coiled around Carys’s throat.

“Bodies to be collected at earliest convenience and conveyed to Central.”

“No!” shrieked the littler sister, scratching and pulling.

Carys was being lifted off the ground now, light as a doll in the Inspector’s grip. “Eirian —” she rasped. “Get away.”

“NO!” the little girl buffeted the Inspector’s shins with her ragged, skirt-muffled boots.

“Jeffers?” the Inspector said, and the smaller man moved around to dart at Eirian.

Carys had both her hands on her captor’s wrist, but her feet dangled wildly. “Mother said to mind me, Eirian! RUN!”

Eirian made a strangled sound of protest as she ducked Jeffers’s hands, but began to run. She bowled against the young Runner’s legs with such force that he fell over, and as he floundered she paused for a moment, to see how Carys would follow.

The Inspector, never glancing at the escaping quarry, brought up his second hand and made a quick, practiced movement. There was a cracking sound, like ice popping on a winter stream, and Carys was dead.

The Grey City XVI


Things are getting serious! :o* And here I thought this was more of a watered down Grimm tale. I stand confoundedly corrected.

Seriously, I wrote the longhand draft of this last May and hadn’t typed it and posted it ‘til now. I think I was afraid ye would be mad.

P.S. Happy Burfday, GreyStork.


This is wonderful stuff Felicity! All the little details are amazing… I can’t wait for the next installment!

How much is Greystork paying you to lobby for speed? :p

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