Welcome to the second part of the story=) Hope you enjoy.
The Talented Part Two
“You want out of here?”
“Maybe.” She hugged herself tight. Alex just waited, meeting her eyes as she considered him. Finally. “He understands human languages. I understand anything else. We were a team.” Tears slid down her face and she scrubbed at them angrily. “But they won’t let me see him now.”
“Who are they?” He shouldn’t have asked. The less he knew about the job the better, but stealing a human? It just didn’t jive. And a young girl to boot? What the blazes were these people doing?
“Master Waylin and Master Gillent separated us. They said it would be safer.”
Steps on the stairs brought Alex up short. He dove under the bed, lifting it off the floor before he settled onto his back.
The girl squeaked at his sudden movement but then she tossed her blanket over the side of the bed to hide him.
The door groaned as someone shouldered it open.
“Wakey, wakey, Miss Brianna. Must eat your breakfast. You’ve a long day ahead of you.”
“Yes, Ma’am,” the girl, Brianna, answered.
The bed sagged under more weight. Sucking in his stomach, Alex held his breath as the cross bars of the frame pressed against his chest. He eyed the rat still in his hand as its red eyes glowed at him, almost seeming to laugh at his predicament. It hummed but because of the girl on the bed, its noise didn’t seem out of place.
“Every bite, Miss Brianna.”
Silence fell except for the clicking of silverware against porcelain. Then the weight on the bed disappeared and Alex breathed in relief.
“Eddy will be by to get you in a few, Miss Brianna. Be sure to dress soon.”
Steps and the groaning of the door told Alex the person left. Holding the blanket off the floor, he scanned it before sliding from under the bed.
Brianna watched him as he stood and stretched. “Blast it all,” he muttered.
“I won’t go back to Master Merrell,” she said. “But if you help me find my brother, we’ll disappear and pay you for your troubles.”
The rat stilled, waiting for his answer.
Enough of this. He held it by its neck and squeezed until the metal cracked and the eyes dimmed. Tossing it on the end of the bed, Alex sat beside the girl.
“Okay, explain this to me,” he said.
“Master Merrell’s our uncle. When he found out about our senses, he sold us to the spy network as translators. They did this,” she gestured at her face with its jerky, mechanical movements, “to pass me off as an advanced automaton but then something happened. About a week ago Master Waylin put us in a carriage and split us up. He says they’re just moving us but I don’t believe him.”
Alex nodded but something still didn’t feel right to him. “Master Merrell sold you?”
“Waylin paid for us. He showed me the bill of sale.”
Swallowing his revulsion, he pointed at the trunk. “That yours?”
“You fit in it?”
“Maybe.” Her chin tilted up again.
“Easiest way out,” he said, “is for me to carry you. I get the feeling they’re moving you today anyway, so it might not be questioned.”
“Great.” Despite her sarcasm, she moved to the trunk and pulled out her clothes. “Throw them in on top of me,” she said. “Eddy’ll at least open the lid when you go to load the trunk.”
“Great,” Alex muttered, throwing the clothing overtop Brianna and closing the lid.
Eddy was a big man with a mustache trailing down past his chin. He ordered Alex to set the trunk on the luggage rack of the newly fixed carriage and then he flipped the latch and shoved the lid open.
Alex’s nerves felt like trip wires. Holding his hands behind his back, he kept himself from making a run for it. He was still wondering how he, a hired thief, got roped into helping two kids.
Probably his Mama’s ethics. Every once in a while they kicked in like they had to make up for things. The poor woman was probably wringing her hands and praying, for once, her boy would do the right thing.
Eddy slammed the lid shut. “For an automaton, she certainly has a lot of girlie frills.”
Alex grunted a response. Was the man unaware?
Watching him walk away, Alex leaned against the carriage and lifted a foot like he’d stepped in something. He snatched a stick and cleaned his boot until Mustache Eddy was gone.
Lifting the lid, he gave Brianna a hand crawling out. “Keep low and follow me.”
She nodded and they headed out the back of the carriage house.
“You’re sure?” Brianna asked.
Alex frowned at her. She wasn’t good at keeping quiet. “As sure as I can be,” he said and cut off her next question by moving farther forward.
They lay in one of the gardens of the Waylin estate, watching as the house wound down for the night. Several windows glowed with firelight but it’d been awhile since anyone wandered outside.
Alex’s best guess was Brianna’s brother was held here. They’d followed Waylin’s carriage home and no one had left since. He couldn’t think of another reason for an assassin to visit the estate, so it was as good a guess as any.
Deeming the time right, he motioned for Brianna to follow him. Her gears whirred just like the rat’s had the night before. He glanced back to make sure she was still the girl and not a spy from Merrell. She gave him a questioning frown and he just shook his head.
Nearing the house, they settled against the edge of the porch. A window squeaked as a servant opened it.
“Why’d we have to get the fighter of the two?” asked someone inside.
“Just go,” ordered a voice Alex recognized as Master Waylin.
A door opened and a man emerged with a tray. He wasn’t a servant judging by his dress but he was carrying food and his face bore scratches like he’d been clawed.
Alex moved to follow him. Brianna’s gears whirred as she kept close. They rounded the corner of the house crouched low but the man wasn’t paying any attention. Alex wondered if he could walk right up behind him but then decided not to try it.
They moved across the back yard to a house set apart for the servants. It was nothing more than a bunkhouse for the single men. Instead of entering it, the man opened a door set against the ground at the back of the bunkhouse. It could be a second cellar but Alex couldn’t tell.
The man set the tray on the ground and turned to lower himself down a ladder. Reaching what must be the bottom, he reached over his head and grabbed the tray. Then he disappeared, leaving the doors laid open on the ground.
Alex moved to follow…
To Be Finished on Friday…
P.S. I love feedback, so if anyone has suggestions, questions, or comments on what they like or what doesn’t seem to work, please let me know. Just be gentle to my poor thin skinned feelings. Thanks.