|Wonder City Stories (wonder_city) wrote,|
@ 2011-06-22 09:35 am UTC
|Entry tags:||megan, sator, watson|
As Megan opened the outer door of Sator's, someone erupted from within, shoving past her and slamming into her hard enough to make her take a step backward. She looked after the white man in the grey hoodie and jeans, baffled and annoyed, and he shot a vicious glare over his shoulder at her. The close-set eyes and the strawberry mark across his forehead combined with the square-cut jaw and blond hair to ring all her bells for recognition.
She was about to mention this to Watson, but Watson pushed past her into the store, forcing her to follow. When the door was shut behind them, she said, "Watson, that was... I don't know his name, but he's Brandon's camera guy."
"I figured," Watson said. "He matched your description. He didn't knock it out of your hand, did he?"
"No," Megan said, displaying the small, wrapped package. "I'm glad he didn't run into you, though. That collision probably could've dislocated your shoulder."
"Interesting," Watson said, glancing through the window after the man's retreating form. "But currently irrelevant." She gestured Megan on through the shop.
Megan always noticed new items when she picked her way through Sator's, but the older items never seemed to move or change. Today, the highlight of the Sator's Thing-Spotting was a wolf pelt thrown negligently over a set of carved wooden canes in an umbrella stand decorated with Egyptian gods. They proceeded straight through the more crowded rooms into the relatively spacious back room.
"Ah, ladies," Sator said, emerging from behind the purple velvet curtain. His wild white hair seemed even wilder than usual, sticking out at odd angles, though his muttonchops were as impeccable as his white buttondown shirt and grey trousers. "So good to see you again."
"We've brought it," Megan said, a little abruptly. She caught an unreadable glance from Watson for that.
"Excellent!" he said, smiling his charming little mad scientist smile. He swept the purple curtain back and bowed them into his consultation room.
As Megan set the package on the table, Sator said, "You are certain she looked into it?"
"Yes," Megan said. "I saw Meteor stop in the hallway and look into it to check her hair. She was annoyed and made some disparaging comment about our landlord swapping out the mirrors."
"He'll be crushed," Watson murmured.
Megan grinned. She recalled finding Zoltan while he was dusting the public areas, skull-and-crossbones kerchief covering his hair, an apron covering his clothes, and an enormous feather duster in hand. "Do you mind if I swap out the mirror in the hall?" she had asked.
"What for?" he said, eyebrows peaking.
"It's, um, a magic mirror," Megan said. When he looked even more disbelieving, she said, "Look, you've noticed that G hasn't exactly been around lately, right?"
Zoltan nodded, flicking some dust from a bronze statue of Mercury.
"Watson and I are trying to... G is possessed by this ghost, see, and so we've gotten someone who's willing to help us de-possess her, but he needs information."
"So you propose to set your information-gathering trap in my front hall?" Zoltan said.
"Well," he said musingly, neatly removing a cobweb from a high corner, "if G does not work, I am likely to have a non-paying tenant soon, yes?'
"Yes," Megan said. Not to mention a completely different tenant, she didn't add.
"I do not, on principle, have objections to ghosts, you understand," he said, running the duster over a line of leather-bound books on the hall shelf. "I have known some charming ghosts. Though none of them were particularly smart. If I am not wrong, though, this ghost has been taking our friend out on dates in a most inappropriate fashion, yes?"
"Yes," Megan said through gritted teeth.
"Well, then," Zoltan said, smiling sunnily and yet somehow... pointily, "I say that the heterosexual agenda needs foiling." He gestured her toward the mirror.
"Watson told me to tell you that you probably don't want to look into it," Megan said, having replaced the usual mirror with the dark mirror, still shrouded in blue silk. "Unless you want someone knowing more about you than you probably want them to."
"Excellently perceptive advice from the excellently perceptive Ms. Holmes," Zoltan said. "I vanish into the depths! How long will it be up?"
"Until I see her use it," Megan said.
"Very well," he said, and disappeared down the basement stairs.
When Megan was paying attention again, Sator had uncovered the round, dark-surfaced mirror and was gazing into it. Watson was watching his face intently.
"A sudden death," Sator said. "A violent death. A planned, intentional death."
"Planned?" Watson said softly. "Fascinating."
"Yes, it is very clear," Sator said, turning the mirror a little to the left. "A man, I think. And a definite stink of magic."
"Oh, that would explain it then," Watson said cryptically.
"She passed over any number of hosts," Sator said. "She was waiting for a woman with para powers."
"Any para powers would do?" Watson said.
"Yes, I think so," Sator said, giving the mirror a half-turn to the right. "Though some might work better in gestalt with the ghost than others."
"Anything else?" Watson said.
"She has no particular defenses against magic," Sator said, sitting back in his chair and casting the silk over the mirror again. "In fact, she is quite vulnerable as a magical being. I believe that if you can get her into the store, I can deal with her before she has a chance to react poorly."
As they left the shop, emerging into the sharp, raw, early April evening, Watson said, "That was enlightening."
"Was it?" Megan said, frowning.
"You're distracted," Watson said. "Still fretting about what Pearl told you?"
"Yes," Megan said. "I feel like way too many of my friends are in stupidly dangerous situations. Apparently, not being in spandex doesn't matter if you're in Wonder City."
"True enough," Watson said. "Though I can't decide which is worse: a serial killer that might possibly be on the set of It's a Wonderful House or a single person's life being blotted out by a crazy ghost."
"They're both horrible," Megan said. "And I can't do much about either."
"Well, you can warn Simon, at least," Watson said.
"I have to wait until his day off and get him somewhere private," Megan said. "Before he goes gallivanting off with Suzanne."
"Bring him up to my place," Watson said. "I have some toys that will pick up most bugs that might follow him. And the cats might spot others."
"Have you figured out any possible suspects?" Megan said, gesturing inquiringly at a little hole-in-the-wall Turkish restaurant on Staybird's Main Street.
Watson nodded and they went into the restaurant. "I've been doing a little research, and I fancy I've found one or two people it might be, assuming that our mega-telepath didn't just manage to pick up someone strolling nearby. Which, of course, for her could be anywhere in a thousand-mile radius."
"You'd think a woman with that sort of power would be able to gauge the general distance from which she was hearing the thoughts." Megan said.
"Hmm," Watson said as she examined the menu. "Yes, well, with great power comes the need for a great deal of control, which can work against you. By the bye, I'd like to walk past the Wonderful House while we're in the neighborhood."
"Okaaay," Megan said, looking up from her contemplation of delicious-sounding lamb dishes. "Any particular reason?"
Watson looked up at her, blinking through her wire-rim glasses. "Oh? No. Just want to see the lay of the land."
"Not going to crawl over their front yard with a magnifying glass?" Megan asked, tapping Watson's knee under the table.
"Nah," Watson said, smiling. "I'm sure all this sleet has interfered with my clues anyway."
From the Author:
Clues! Some clues! Won't say for what, of course, but there are definitely clues.
Comment incentive in June: if I get 50 total comments from readers in June, I will post twice weekly through July. As before, if you all post 75 comments, I'll post twice weekly through August too. Get up to 100 comments, the twice-weekly postings continue through September.