From the Journals of Senjata P. Witt: October 12th
While exploring the shops in Babbage Square today, I met with a most unpleasant fellow. Initially, I believe he was following me at some distance, though I might have imagined this after the fact- I cannot be certain. I ducked inside a shop selling Ladies’wear, both outer and intimate, thinking surely no gentleman would have the temerity to follow a lady inside such a place, and, should he prove temerious, then his presence would be instantly conspicuous, and I might have the support of the shop’s staff, at the least.
Misfortune alone was my companion, it seemed- for follow he did, and of staff, I found none. I feigned interest in a rather spectacularly blue-feathered bonnet, hoping he would realize his presence was conspicuous, and leave me unaccosted, but the fellow came up uncomfortably close behind me, and murmured something to me, so close that I could both feel and smell his breath against my cheek. So overcome was I with sheer fright that I cannot now even recall his words- nor am I certain I heard them to begin with. I could not without turning see his face, but he was a largish man- (to me, honestly- all men give that impression,) and smelt keenly of bourbon whiskey and black tobacco. My impressions at the time were striking- like little silhouette picture frames in my thoughts- The docks, and creosote, but not the filth of a vagabond. Also- his accent was foreign and strange. Vaguely French, but somehow not French at all.
I made some shocked exclamation without turning, clutched my packages tighter, and scuttled myself toward the door- he did not immediately pursue, but laughed loudly at my hasty and timid escape. I am still uncertain why there was no shopkeeper apparent. Perhaps the presence of the stranger was enough to keep them from coming forward. Never the less, I was unassisted in my plight.
Now, perhaps a wiser woman would have made straight for her home- but in truth- my own was remote, and devoid of anyone who might render assistance, should this stranger decide after all to give chase, and so instead, I wound my way along the darkening streets, toward what I hoped would be a denser, more populous part of the town. I must confess, though, for an experienced explorer, my sense of direction has never been keen, and in the narrow byways of downtown New Babbage, I was quickly turned about, and quite lost. Still, being lost has never frightened me overly much. It’s a frequent enough condition to which I am much accustomed, and in fact, the sensation proved to put me more at ease. Even as I came out of a shadowed byway onto the moonlit and deserted docks, I felt myself breathe more easily, the tension of one pursued passed from between my shoulders, and I strolled confidently along the boardwalk, angling my steps back toward my home. Indeed- I laughed aloud at myself for such a folly as my flight had been. Surely, I had behaved as any silly woman might, frightened by my own imaginings, and I felt myself blush in the cold harbour air, for you, of all people, surely know how I loathe such behavior.
I slowed my steps, even paused to walk down along the bleached and tarred wood of the docks themselves, taking in the salt air, denying the uncomfortable association that odor suddenly carried with it, and pointedly refusing to allow myself to be shaken by imaginary shadows.
There is a precarious edge in the mind between irrational fear and stubborn resolution, along which one can discover a folly wholly beyond casual misstep, and it was such that I uncovered in my singular resolution, for I resolved that I did not smell whiskey nor tobacco in the air- that it was only my own mind playing tricks, and so when I turned to find the stranger close on my heels, I was utterly taken aback. So much so in fact, that I nearly lost my footing and tumbled, posterior-first, into the bay.
It was he that caught me. By the upper arm- his hand was wide as a dinnerplate, I think- and his grip painfully tight, but he reeled me in and a few steps away from the dock’s edge, then remained, looming over me, too close, and blocking out the moonlight. [img=274×190]http://cityofnewbabbage.online/reader/sites/default/files/images/Snapshot_001_9.jpg[/img]
I still could barely make out his features- but he was a dark man- an islander perhaps, broad-featured and rough-shaven. We spoke. Again, I cannot recall his precise words to me, only that he affronted me with his words, insulted me, made vulgar implications. His name was… Geddy something, though through that strange accent, it was difficult to be certain. Difficult to be certain of anything at all. I spoke harshly in return, bade him leave off these unpleasant attentions, and I recall he laughed at me again- and I recall he carried a cane, now, because he raised it as if to strike me- then darkness overcame me, and I recall nothing more until waking in my home, on my green fainting couch, the embers of a fire I do not recall lighting now dying upon my hearth, and the sun already high in the sky.
I do not know entirely what to make of such a dark encounter. Does this man intend me greater harm? And if so, then why did he not do so while I was under his power, and stricken of my senses? I cannot say, nor can I think even to level any formal charge- for with what would I charge him? Speaking rudely? Rescuing me from a nasty and wet fall in the middle of the night? Surely I could charge him with assault for the blow he raised against me, but of such, I had no evidence whatsoever. I shall simply have to be more on my guard, and wander less far afield of home when the sun has taken to it’s slumber.