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Family Business IV – Let’s Dance

15 July, 188x, New Babbage year 5

She was glad to be out on foot, even if her new surroundings were a touch different. It reminded her of Baltimore with the exception of not having teams of Pinkertons chasing her at every turn. Maybe it was a stirring of an old feeling, a memory, or the pricking of an instinct that caused her to glance over her shoulder, but whatever the cause she noticed the man in the dingy hat was walking her way after he had been standing just down from the platform on her arrival. She considered the available options, and decided to see if she was right or just being a bit overcautious. A passing shop provided a dual opportunity to look at a fine rolltop desk in the window and cause the man to stop short and fiddle with the newspaper he had rolled under his arm.

The smile she held back almost hurt. The street was busy, but not crowded to the point of vanishing into the milling mob. This would take a little play to pull off, and the next block offered the ideal location for the next test. She lengthened her stride a touch, and turned onto a side street just as a wagon pulled out onto Abney Parkway. Using the wagon as cover, she walked down a bit looking for a staircase to the second floor balcony she saw on the block of buildings to her right. A quick turn into a doorway led her up to the open hallway that ringed the courtyard of the building. She found a bench that gave a clear view of the street below from where she sat, and offered a less clear view of her from that position. The bench was not quite as comfortable as the seat on the coach, but for the moment she played the part of the winded shopper. A few moments later the man passed by, looking rather nonplussed that his quarry had managed to slip away from him. She watched him poke around a bit, and finally in a bout of resignation walk back off the street towards the depot. Just to make sure he was gone she sat a few more moments, then regained her suitcases and made her way off the balcony by the opposite staircase.

Emmanuelle walked along by the docks, making a mental map of where she had already been and what she saw as she walked along the street towards her destination. She noticed the change once she entered the part of town called Clockhaven, how the street shifted to what she felt was a cart path at the bottom of a deep brick canyon once it shifted from Abney Parkway to Prince Drakkar Boulevard. A short time later, she found herself standing in front of the business. A long glance through the window showed that the inside of the shop matched the exterior; clean, neatly organized and fairly well stocked. She allowed herself a slight smile until she found the door to the shop locked. The note clipped to the interior of the window read “Back in 5 minutes”. For that one moment, she let her composure slip and found herself standing in what her father called “l’attitude”; arms crossed, lips pursed, head down and hip cocked to one side. This had all the appearances of becoming another one of those days…

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  1. Emerson Lighthouse Emerson Lighthouse February 2, 2012

    *notes with increasing interest the resourcefulness and ingenuity of Ms. Huntress.*

  2. Sky Melnik Sky Melnik February 3, 2012

    Gotta hate those kinds of days…

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