“Was it hard to get into her phone?” Jude asked, perching in the back seat, resting his knees on the back of Sparrow’s chair. The car rumbled through the snow, which fell in quiet little whorls.
Big wide halls, thick red carpets and all the effort a building made in two thousand and five could put to look like it’d been standing since the sixteen hundreds didn’t hide things from Tally. Of course, Tally wasn’t using eyes to see – holding a smartphone in hand, browsing wireless information. The whole estate was built with Old World Charm, which seemed to mean terrible wireless access. There was wi-fi, sure, but it was bad, bad enough that it dipped in hallways and only seemed to improve when Tally approached an actual access point.
Outside, beautiful and lush greenery didn’t whirl past because it had all died. Instead, sticks of barren black and a cloud of heavy white, featureless but for the occasional jutting stick or utility post, flew on by, less like the New England greenery and more a magical wonderland that looked suspiciously like someone had piled a rather large amount of cocaine outside. The outside of the car yielded no relief for the mind, but the inside had its own problems.
“God, do we have to listen to this?” Eris groused.
“Sparrow’s driving, so Sparrow chooses.” Jude murmured from the back seat.
Eris squirmed around in her seat, holding the shoulder of the chair so she could look over into the back seat at Jude. “It’s Taylor Swift,” she said, waving one hand. “Taylor. Swift.”
“Ms Mycroft does not see visitors.”
“I hate driving these things.” Sparrow grumbled. “If Ms Mycroft was going to pay for rent a special car for a job, couldn’t she have gotten somethin’ nice?”
The car was white, with a charming green and red stripe by the rear door, for visibility. It was also a few rounded edges away from being nothing so complex as a rounded metal crate. Sparrow’s own ride had had a nice deep back seat, at least when the driver’s was pulled forward as far as it could go, and Jude had enjoyed the extra foot room.
“I’m not a big fan of them either,” Jude noted, unwrapping a fabric pile on his lap which clinked slightly. “But this is how Ms Mycroft wants things done and I know better than to expect better results ignoring her.”
Sparrow unconsciously brought his arms in by his side as he stood behind Jude. Hands bunched up into fists, he tried to suppress a quiet squeak of worry. Clearing his throat, he made to speak, but somewhere between voice and brain, the words turned into a long, soft, “Oh noooo.”
Jude turned slightly, putting one arm back so he could brush against Sparrow’s side. Big calming hand came down over Sparrow’s shoulder. “’Scuse me, gentlemen,”
Sundown Car Repair was ten blocks from the Mycroft Manor. With snow on the streets, the walk took the better part of an hour, which was not helped by all the people who were not Jude having such a loose relationship to space and time. It was snowing, which at least meant nobody stood in the street gaggling around before Christmas displays. Jude was a figure in a green greatcoat outlined against white streets and pale grey building faces. When he crossed the street, too many drivers thought maybe they could save a few seconds by acting as if they weren’t going to stop, which availed them nothing.
“This weather, you know?”
The cab’s wipers squeaked through the powder-soft shapes spreading on the windshield. Fifty miles away, there was a peak on the point that was, officially, known as the place with the worst weather in the country. That was good, it meant here in the closed in, cow-arsed streets, there was no competition about who had the worst weather, and so each drifting locale in the bitter winter snows could get about the business of really fine-tuning and hand-crafting the snowdrifts and the black ice and the slurry and flurry, while children mashed refresh buttons on local public school websites in the hopes of a snow day.