If it had been any other time, it never would have worked.
But Maggie was sick and slow and getting ready to leave New Babbage for a few weeks and her mind was fragmented. She was wrapping all of her music boxes carefully in cloth and stacking them inside her carpetbag and thinking ahead (never a good idea) to what the weather might be like. She wondered if she needed to tar the roof of her little wagon before she set out along the sheep-tracks.
So when she heard a clock skip a beat and stop (she was so used to listening for them now that she hadn’t yet stopped hearing them) it was the most natural thing in the world to abandon her case where it sat next to the forge, and take up her wrench and head off across the city. Her mind was also on the St. Patrick’s Day party at the Gangplank. She thought she might go by, for old times sake, and breathe the memory of Pocket.
Because she was thinking about anything else except where she was going, she didn’t notice that the door to the clock tower was already open. Nor did she hear the faint, tell-tale scrape of a boot on the flagstones. The only warning she heeded was the faint breath of air against the back of her neck which made her turn just as the stave was swung, glancing the blow across the side of her head instead of hitting her at the back of the skull as had been intended.
She sprawled and tried to lurch back to her feet, but her assailants were too swift and she was too weak. One more hard blow rendered her world into swiftly blackening blur. She felt her hands being bound and herself being lifted up. She said a word that made the air suddenly taste like a summer thunderstorm.
“Gag her, quickly!” Said one man, “and grab that hat. Everything goes in the box.”
And that was the last Maggie Lynwood knew of the business.
((Typist needs a bit of a break so I’m going into retirement for a few months. I shall return in one piece (more or less) sometime in the summer I expect. There may be some RP hints being dropped in-world, but I’ve left that up to the assailants. ))