The cold night wind whipped around me as I made my way to the home of @Eerie_Coppernight, running as quickly as one can with a sick child on your back. I try my hardest not to go out at night, however, Annie had caught something recently, her face was blue and her eyes red. The last child I'd seen this ill died within two days. I praise the Great Engineer for having a friend with a warm house.
I skidded to a halt as a dark figure came into view above me. He was running towards me, or, in my direction at least. I dropped Annie from my back and pulled her into the nearest alley, hoping she wouldn't cough or sneeze as the gang member passed us. At least, that's how he appeared from afar.
If he truly was a member of one of the Business Districts notorious gangs, I hoped to find out. However, as he passed the alley, I got a glimpse of the fellow.
He wore a coat of dark red with a black top hat; he had un-kept black hair, and brilliant green eyes. From the glimpse I saw of his eyes, I could see the strong emotion of freedom, he was free to roam the streets and do his will! However, there was also a shadow within them, sadly, he passed the alley before I could fully discover what this shadow held.
Some other time, perhaps.
I hoisted Annie onto my back once again and finished my journey to Eerie's home. Eerie opened her door before I had even finished knocking, she has seen something recently; something, or someone.
"Come in, friend," she greeted, not acknowledging the sick child on my back. Her mind was far too preoccupied to notice.
"I hope you don't mind if Annie stays with you a while, until she gets better at least."
Eerie nodded, barely hearing what I had said. Her mind was lost in thought about some mysterious new person. I set Annie down in Eerie's arm chair and wrapped her up in a blanket.
"I saw him in my coming here," I told Eerie, snapping her out of her trance.
She shook herself before asking, "What do you know of him?"
"Sadly, nothing much," I replied, sitting on the floor next to Annie, "Not his name, nor living quarters. Hopefully I'll learn these things soon, however, I did learn something of his situation."
"Oh?" she asked, sitting in the chair opposite Annie, not noticing the urchin's presence.
"He felt a sense of freedom when I saw him, as if some heavy load was lifted, for that moment at least." I rose from the floor and began to pace, the image of the mysterious figure turning about in my mind, "There was a shadow though, an old shadow, old, yet very painful."
"Does he, by any chance, use fog pills? Or belong to any of the local gangs?" asked Eerie.
"Neither, he doesn't stalk the streets in any of the gang's formations, or go by their dress-codes, I should know. As for taking fog pills . . ." I stopped my pacing to consider this, "He doesn't." I decided, "You supposed the fog pills by his eyes I suppose?"
"Indeed, I saw him staring into my window a few moments before, I assumed he took fog pills by the brilliant green of his eyes. However, a gangster wouldn't be caught staring through my window, now would they?"
"True, yes," I replied.
"Does the Resistance have any record of him?" Eerie asked.
"None to speak of, unless he's come to Aethasia tonight. There is, however, the Resistance does hold record of a fellow who came to Aethasia a few days ago."
"Oh? Who might that be?" she asked.
"His name is Henry Jekyll, that's all the Resistance knows about him." I said, returning to my seat on the floor
"So, he isn't a member then?"
"More of a hermit then anything else, the invitation for him to join is still fresh, he simply prefers to live alone." I replied.
"Where does he live then?" asked Eerie.
"No one really knows, he can sometimes be seen in the market place. I tried following him to his home once, however . . ." I sighed irritably, "Sharpgaze caught me and hauled me off to Loiterer's prison."
"Ah, and I assume you haven't seen him since?"
"I'd have more to tell if I had," I rose from the floor and turned on my heals to leave, "Goodnight friend, goodbye Annie, be good for hat lady!"
"Wait a minute, what did you say?" asked Eerie, now noticing the sick little urchin swaddled in her arm chair.
"You agreed to take care of Annie out of the goodness of you heart! Farewell friend!" I called, pulling the door closed behind me.
Out in the cold night air once more, I scampered ahead my metal crate in the grotto. Suddenly, the chill feeling of being watched crept over me. I glanced around at the dark streets, and then up at the rooftops, wondering if one of the gangs had secretly cornered me once again.
No, only one is watching . . . Somehow, that wasn't very comforting.
"Hello?" I called out into the night. The only reply was the sound of a garbage can crashing to the ground just around the corner of the next house, and a frightened cat screaming to get away. I withdrew my knife from my side and advanced slowly. A scampering met my ears as well as human gasps of fright.
Obviously not a gangster then I thought.
"I don't wish to harm you," I said in a steady voice, "just come out where I can see you."
My request was met with nervous muttering and the sound of fleeing footsteps. I ran around the corner just in time to see Henry Jekyll retreating into the night.
Henry Jekyll? What are you doing on the streets at this hour?