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The Dorchester Alibi

Underby stood looking out the windows as Dorchester scribbled out page after page of copies behind him by dim candle light; the sun had dipped down over the horizon of buildingtops hours ago.  The halls of City Hall were quiet at this time in the evening, after all the secretaries and pages, runners and civil servents, had gone home for the evening.  He and his small assitant had been the only two left in the building for over two hours.

The footsteps which ran through the halls echoed like an army approached.

Dorchester looked up from the desk; Underby turned.

A young teenage boy ran into the room, huffing and puffing.  “The feh-the feh- suh-sir, the feh…” he panted, leaning on the large brass doorknob.

“Pull yourself together, lad.  What is it.” Underby barked.

The boy continued to pant.  Underby sighed.  “Fetch the lad a glass of water, Dorchester.”

“Get it yourself!” Dorchester cried out in his strangely brittle high-pitched voice.  Underby turned his head, settling a deadly gaze on the small man.  Dorchester exhaled loudly, then hopped down from his chair and walked out of the room.

“Sit.” Underby commanded.  The young teen sat down, wiping his brow.  

“I’ve… I…I’ve been running all over to tell.”

Dorchester walked back in, carrying a pitcher of water and a tall glass.  Underby poured a glass, and then drank it down.  He turned to the lad.  “Tell what?” he asked.

“The Fells!” the lad spat out, his eyes wide.

“What about them.” Dorchester said.

“The train tracks!  They exploded!  I saw it!”

Underby leaned down over the boy.  “The tracks you say?  Are you certain?  Good lord, Dorchester, the mayor is due back this evening!”  He stood, looking down at the little man, who for the first time in Underby’s presence seemed alarmed.

“No!” the small man cried out.

“How long ago?”  Underby asked the lad.

“I, er.. I… maybe twenty minutes ago?”

“Who did you tell before me?” he demanded in a booming tone.

“Underby, this is not the time!” Dorchester wailed.

The tall bald man turned, looking out the window again.  He had seen nothing.  “Dorchester, telegraph Falun and get them to stop all trains headed south.  Contact Commore Dagger and have her crew start an investigation immediately.”  He put on his coat and muffler, looking back at the two.  “I am heading out to survey the damage.”


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