Sebastian walked unhurriedly down Dovehouse Street, pretending to casually be enjoying the red brick houses that comprised the neighborhood. His violin, protected by the beaten black case, swung easily at his side and the small cylindrical lump in the interior breast pocket of his old chocolate brown trench coat was invisible from the outside.
He turned left on King’s Road, softly humming one of his favorite tunes. He tried to distract himself from his fear and excitement by imagining what the object might be. Perhaps it was a sophisticated weapon that would bring an end to this underground war. Or maybe it was a bomb and he would explode at any minute. Or maybe it would explode when he tried to give it to someone.
This thinking was not helping him relax, so he decided to think about the man who had given the small object to him, instead. They had met once before, in Nick Gun’s bar, where he had been playing his violin. The man, then dressed all in black and very imposing with his dark eyes, pale skin, and long black hair, had complimented him on his playing. He had particularly liked the jig Gobby-O, which he has said reminded him of a childhood vacation. Sebastian had never learned the stranger’s name, but when he was called on to do this transfer run, he had agreed and had been sure to play Gobby-O. The stranger looked very different now, with his hair cut and his ordinary leather jacket covering a yellow collared shirt. Sebastian wondered if he should change his own appearance, but decided against it. The ragged, unkempt look with the dramatic hair cut and the long tails on his trench coat all went well with his fiddle gig.
It was a twenty minute walk to his destination and it began to drizel when he reached Sloane square. He turned right onto Lower Sloane Street and a few minutes later was standing before another row of redbrick houses. He took a deep breath, trying to slow his quickly beating heart, and walked swiftly up the three steps to the door, where he rang. No one answered, so he rang again. Still no one. After a few moments, during which he shifted nervously from one foot to the other and the his knuckles grew white from clutching the handle of his violin case, he tried the door handle. It turned easily, so he opened the door and took a few cautious steps into the dimly lit hallway. He went in just far enough so that he could peer into the living room.
The still body of his contact lay on the floor and a red stain colored the cream carpet around it. Sebastian hurriedly retreated, swallowing the bile that rose to his throat. He closed the door behind him, and wandered away down the street, unable to think about what he should do next.
He had known that he would regret getting involved, but it was for a good cause, (at least he hoped so,) and the extra money was helpful. He almost threw up in a trashcan, but, pale-faced and shaking, he managed to go on. He knew that he would be watched. Besides, London was the city under the most surveillance in the world. He wondered if he should report the dead man to the police but decided against it.
A few hours later, Sebastian stepped across the yellow gap and stood holding a brightly painted bar as the tube sped him to the train station.
Nick Gun’s frightened half whisper kept repeating itself in his head like an old tune that had gotten stuck. “If whatever you’ve got got him knocked off I don’t want anything to do with it. Take it to them yourself.”
Sebastian had desperately wanted to just throw the small machine away, but he knew somehow that he couldn’t do it. “Where do I go?” he had asked against his better judgment.
“Take the train to Leeds and look for the sign of the alligator, near the city square. That’s all the info I’ve got. But I recommend that you loose the cursed thing and get out of this business before you end up in your own little puddle of blood. You’re young, kid. Find someplace to lay low, change your name, maybe.”
“Thank you,” Sebastian had said and left before Nick could convince him.
Now here he was, on the way to the train station, with the metal cylinder still in his breast pocket, expecting at any moment to be shot or stuck through with a long knife, like the long knife that had been sticking out of the corpse on the living room floor.
“What did he take from the basement?” Dr. Malpus asked her for the fourth time. And for the forth time, Sandra repeated “I don’t know.”
“He must tell you some things.”
“Nothing about this. And he’s very cagy in general.” Sandra was beginning to hate this middle aged man and his unnaturally bright, glowing house and his strange cat and his awful technology.
“What would you guess it is?” Dr. Malpus kept pressing.
“I don’t know!” she stood up and paced over to where the still Garith lay, and then back to the screen, where Garith was finally getting out of the taxi. The frightening thing was, she did have a guess. It was probably the thing that the blueprint she had been ‘carrying’ belonged to. Whatever that was. And whatever it was, it must be really important.
“Do you think he gave it to that musician? He did pause long enough.” Dr. Mapus was not going to drop this.
“How should I know? We both saw the same thing.”
“I wonder who the musician is. It was hard to see him, but it looked like he had a Mohawk, don’t you think?”
“Frankly, I don’t really care.”
“Yes, you do care,” said Malpus. “You care a lot about anything involving this Garith, don’t you?”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” she asked, knowing full well what he was trying to say. Then, before he could answer, she went on, “look, I know we don’t see eye to eye on everything, but let’s please try to be civil. Maybe we just shouldn’t talk. I think it’s just all this tension. And it is so warm in here.” She had already unbuttoned the front her shirt, revealing her white undershirt, in an attempt to cool down.
Dr. Malpus said nothing in response, but turned back to watch the screen intently.