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Behind By A Hare

As a small crowd of onlookers consoled Miss Psaltery, we all
surveyed the aftermath. I studied the scene as closely as I dared without
drawing attention to my efforts. I could see that the devastation was complete
and that minute details would be impossible to find, these being enough clues
to circumstantially link this event to the other bombings at least.

Deciding I would be forced to return later to explore more
fully without witnesses, I heard a strange hiss and turned to see an odd
looking tarnished brass steam-powered rabbit creature approach and march
straight up to Miss Psaltery. I followed and got between them, sternly saying, “Hello?”

It uttered, “Greetings,” and turned to face Miss Psaltery. “I
have a letter for you.”

As the clockwork handed the letter to Miss Psaltery, I
observed the convenient torch built into its limb.

Even in her state of shock, Miss Psaltery graciously thanked
the machine, which sped off and disappeared—as I expected—to the south. I
considered pursuing, but knew better as it was an obvious ruse to shake whoever
followed it.

Miss Psaltery opened the document and tutted as she read it
to herself, turning to us and saying, “Listen to this: Dear Miss Psaltery, I do
apologize, but in order for my plans to succeed we shall have to eliminate your
facility, ‘The Backroom.’ Do get everything out swiftly. *Unsigned*”

I noted that the tardiness in the document’s delivery could
likely be attributed to someone besides the clockwork, implying that the Man In
Blue had again exercised his wanton contempt for human life and disregard for
his orders.

Almost at once, Miss Psaltery oddly excused herself to go
shopping, indicating a need to replace some of her burnt clothing for an
upcoming engagement. The others attributed this to shock, but I wondered if she
had read the letter`s entirety aloud after all.

Taking part in some idle debate among those remaining in
attendance, I remembered my cousin Dee mentioning the presence of an odd
clockwork Bunny at Miss Psaltery`s birthday event earlier that day, and
realized why it had been there. Thinking of Dee, I looked up to her house next
door and wondered if she was safe.

Walking up to her home, which she graciously allows me to
use as a base, I found she had not been home since I saw her after the party. I
knew she wasn`t at the office, where I had just come from, so where could she
be? She was expected, and it was rigidly unlike her to be late…


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