The Drache Girl – Chapter 12 Excerpt

Police Constable Saba Colbshallow and Police Constable Eamon Shrubb led the three men down Seventh and One Half Avenue toward the docks.  Though they had stopped short of getting the service revolvers out of the gun case, both policemen carried their truncheons on open display.  For their part, the three men looked nervously in every direction.  Several times, one of them shrieked when he saw a little blond girl walk by.

“Kafira,” said Eamon.  “Buck up, man.  She’s not even the right little girl.”

“Keep walking,” said Saba.

Saba had come in first thing that morning to find Eamon slumped over asleep at his typewriter.  That was not particularly significant in and of itself, but when he found out that the last thing the other constable remembered was a visit by a certain young sorceress, things looked more ominous.  Lon Fonstan in cell one was asleep, and upon waking at first, claimed not to have seen anyone at all.

“Maybe we can have a little magic tell us what you’re not remembering?” Saba had said.

“Oh yeah?” Fonstan sneered.  “Who you going to get to do that?”

“Maybe Zurfina.”

“I don’t think so,” had said Fonstan.

“I’ll bet Mother Linton could do it.”

Fonstan had chewed on the possibility for a moment.

“Well, Senta came in to say hello.  She was only here for a minute.  Gave me her best.  Said goodnight.  End of story.”

“And you didn’t see or hear anything unusual in the cell next door?”

“I was busy reading the book you gave me,” said Fonstan, holding up Pilgrimage into Danger.  “I quite like the part where they have to fight off the adulterous women.”

“It’s supposed to be metaphorical,” Saba had suggested.

“Well, I didn’t see or hear nothing.”

Saba suspected that his double negative hid the truth in plain sight.

As for the three men in cell number two, they all had seemed in perfectly good health, with the exception that all three had soiled their pants sometime during the night.  The stories they had told of the demon child who had visited them with plagues, while fantastic, were not dismissed by the police constables.  All three were adamant about booking passage on the S.S. Majestic as soon as it came into port, an idea both PCs thought had merit with or without sorcery.  The men had demanded protection on their way to the ship.

The formation reached the dock area, where a fourth man met them.  He had been present for the first run-in with the lizzies, which the constables had managed to stop, but apparently was at home when the second incident involving the slapping of the lad had occurred. He had arrived in Birmisia with his three friends and had decided that if they were leaving, he would leave as well.

“Oh blooming heck!” said one of the men in custody, scrambling at once to hide behind his fellows.  “There she is.”

Sitting on a wooden crate not fifty feet away, wearing a multihued blue dress, was a twelve-year-old blond girl.  She had her hands crossed in front of her chest and her feet crossed at the ankles.  She definitely had her eye on the four men.

“You’re the law!” squealed one of the men.  “You’ve got to protect us!”

“Eamon, take them and see that they are able to purchase steerage class passage back to Brech,” said Saba.  “I’ll see about our little friend.

He walked across to stand in front of where Senta sat.

“You know you could be charged with assault, aggravated assault, assault on a police constable, interfering with a police investigation, and illegal entry into a secure facility.  I imagine I could find several more charges if I opened up the Corpus Juris.”

“I doubt you’d be able to hold me.”

“Don’t get too cocky.  Mayor Korlann and his daughter may be very fond of you…”

“That’s not what I mean,” said Senta.  “I doubt your jail would be able to hold me.  And if by some chance it did hold me, how long do you think Zurfina would allow it?”

“Zurfina has to follow the law, just like everyone else.”

“That’s why you were at our house about to experience life as a marsupial or a toad.  But you’re about the only one in Birmisia with bullocks like that.  Zurfina exterminated what… a hundred thousand lizzies?  Nobody has come to call her on that.”

“That was a time of war.”

“Yes, sort of.  Well, I’m done being afraid of anyone because they’re bigger or stronger, or because the law says I have to be.  If somebody gets in my way, I’m going to knock them down, hard.”

“These men aren’t in your way,” said Saba.  “In fact, they’re doing their damnedest to get out of your way. They’re leaving the continent. Leave them alone.”

“I’m not even here for them,” said Senta.

“Then what, pray tell, are you here for?”

“I want to see who gets off the ship.  There’s another practitioner of the arts aboard.”

“Great.  You going to kidnap them, like Zurfina did?”

“Probably not.  This one’s a great deal more powerful that Miss Jindra.  I just want to get a butchers.”

Saba sighed.

“Pick which road you walk down carefully, Senta.”

Then he turned on his heel and followed after Eamon and their charges. Once the four men had their tickets, they went aboard the ship.  It wasn’t going to leave port for another four days, but Saba doubted that the men would step back on land before then.  The two constables strolled back from the dockside to the opposite side of the street.

“That girl is going to get herself into a pack of trouble,” said Saba.

“Those tossers only got what they deserved, if you ask me,” said Eamon.

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