Anarchy In The, UK Part III


nigel_icon.gif zachery_icon.gif

Scene Title Anarchy In The, UK Part III
Synopsis Meanwhile, in Surrey…
Date April 19, 2021

Crickets softly chirp in the sparse tree cover of a quiet suburb.

It’s too late for children to be playing, and the sun is setting in the west, already below the brown shingled rooftops of identical cookie-cutter homes scattered through the neighborhood. Each home here is the same, and each backyard nearly identical. Rows of trees providing some privacy, a slatted fence to keep out stray pets, and in one yard’s case, a tent.

Soft music echoes out from a portable radio inside of a pop tent pitched in the backyard of an ordinary, suburban home. A pair of empty beer bottles lay in the grass amid chirping crickets. The tent flap is open, allowing the gangly legs of its resident to spill out into the cool dusk air. Inside the tent, a half-eaten microwave dinner sits on a little folding tray next to a sleeping bag, an untouched copy of a Gillian Childs paperback novel, and one half finished bottle of beer, presently being imbibed by the tent’s occupant.

Zachery Miller stares up at the ceiling of his tent, beer in hand, and is left to wonder:

Where did it all go wrong?

Surrey, England
United Kingdom

April 19th
8:05 pm Local Time

A yard away, inside the dining room of a perfectly ordinary suburban home, Nigel Fernsby sits at a breakfast nook with a far more loved copy of an entirely different Gillian Childs paperback novel laid out beside his dinner. Zachery’s tent is visible out the window to his right, though the waning sun makes it harder and harder to see over the glare of the inside lights.

Nigel’s houseguest had been here for over a month, on and off, and in that time he’d done little to improve his lot in life short of getting a battery powered radio to keep himself company. Well, that and dog-walking. If you could call it that.

The man sighs, setting down the book and lifting up the cup of tea, sipping it as he peers out the window to Zachery’s legs. He shakes his head slightly. He’s offered the man a guest bedroom, and he certainly can’t see why it’s not perfectly acceptable, even if it’s still decorated in mid-eighties aesthetic and Widdershins the cat, since the cat’s litter box currently sits in there. Nigel would have moved it, if Dr. Miller had taken him up on the offer to live inside.
The cat has also spied Zach’s legs, outside as Widdie is at the moment, and the ginger tom stalks Zach from a few meters away, lowering its belly into the grass. His tail swishes silently as he waits for his moment. Nigel could warn Dr. Miller — the cat has a penchant for pouncing body parts — but he’d rather watch.

Mere seconds pass before— "You little goblin!"

Zachery's knees shoot upward with a jostle of the whole tent and a swat of a hand at the inside of the unzippered front. Widdershins has long and deftly jumped out of the way already by the time the tent's inhabitant comes stumbling out the front of the tent wholesale, righting himself with decidedly less than grace. While holding onto the bottle's neck, he tugs a warm but worn in hiking jacket straight, and scrubs his free hand over the face he's fully given up on shaving the past month and a half.

After a scan of the yard around him in a lazy sweep - left eyelid drooped over an empty socket - he calls in no particular direction but halfway up, "Nige?" The name leaves him with a casual air that the scowl below his mess of hair does not back up. "Would you miss that cat, or…?"

He halfheartedly kicks the toe of a boot against a poorly staked tent peg, nudging it partway out. Feels like time to move again.

Zach can hear Nigel’s chuckle from inside the nearby house, even through closed windows. The homeowner sets down the book and lifts his teacup for a sip, before calling back a reply.

“If you stayed indoors like a normal human being, you wouldn’t have to share a campground with the critters, now, would you?” His tone is one of good-natured exasperation at the doctor who refuses to stay indoors. Nigel reaches for his cell phone, fingers sliding over the glass to find the weather app — clouds, fog, the usual.

“More rain later this week.” The news is hardly surprising. It is Surrey, after all.

With no phone or wristwatch to tell him the time, Zachery glances around to gauge the light before loosing a heavy sigh.

"So what you're saying is I won't need to come here for a shower, then?" Not that he looks like he's had one in recent days, straightening while turning to look at the window properly with a look of hesitation quickly swallowed down. "I'm off again. For a while. Drive me north a bit in twenty minutes, after I pack? I'll do the rest of it on foot."

Wherever 'it' is.

The knock on the front door says that may have to wait. Four sturdy knocks. “Mr. Fernsby?” A stern voice calls from the other side. Out the front window, Nigel can see a pair of black SUVs parked on the side of the road, one is unmarked, but the other bears a seal on the door, a pair of rampant dragons flanking a torch. Around the perimeter of the seal, words in portent:


“Er. Hold that thought, Zach. Someone’s at the door. You might want to book it,” Nigel mutters, as low as he can so that the sound, hopefully, only travels out the back window and not through the front. “Gonna send the bat signal to Bea, but she might not make it on time.”

He takes a gulp of tea, then hollers, “One second!” Nigel quickly types in his phone to Reeves and hits send, no time for bants:


Standing, he glances over his shoulder at the window, before crossing from kitchen nook toward door, not fast, but not so slow it should arouse suspicion.

He pulls the door open, though a chain lock keeps it from swinging fully open. “What can I do for you?”

"… Excuse me, come again?" Zachery's questioning comes quietly and sluggish, courtesy of the drink still loosely hanging at his side.

But fortunately for him, the drink does not make him an idiot. After a dart of his eye from the window to the back door, he turns, sets the bottle down quickly enough that it falls and spills its contents into the grass, and sinks onto his knees in front of the tent.

Something small is patted for and then swiped from just inside, then crammed into a jacket pocket before he rises, and bolts. Sideways, vaulting a wood fence that halfway collapses outward and onto a flowerbed when his weight pushes it over into the neighbouring garden. Unfortunately, the drink does not prevent him from hissing some extra words, in the midst of stumbling forward to find his balance, "Shit, sorry about those geraniums again, Ms. Loughty!”

Inside the house, Nigel is face to face with a pair of Torchlight inspectors. One produces a badge with the same rampant dragons and torch logo on it. “Inspector Evans, this is inspector Walker.” He indicates the man behind him with a jerk of his thumb. “We’ve reports of a fugitive that may be on the loose, we’d like to ask you a few questions…”

Inspector Walker reaches into his jacket and produces a folded photograph but keeps it to himself. “Just a moment of your time.” He turns his attention to the interior of the house. “May we come in?”

Outside, as Zachery lands in the neighbor’s yard, he hears a commotion of voices coming from around the side of Nigel’s house. Out of the corner of his eye, Zachery sees a pair of men in dark suits and long jackets running up along the green past Nigel’s flowerbeds. A third is already in Ms. Loughty’s yard with an unusual pair of goggles pulled down over his eyes. When he spots Zachery he’s quick to raise a bright yellow taser in his direction. “You! Hands! Right now!”

Inside the house, Nigel is spared having to find a way to turn away Torchlight inspectors as one of their radios squawks to life. «We’ve got a suspect fleeing on foot, just took out part of a fence!»

Inspector Walker looks from his radio to Nigel.

“A fugitive? I certainly don’t have any information about any fugitives, Inspector,” Nigel replies in owlish bemusement, eyes widening and managing to look properly scandalized at such a notion. “I-”

The radio’s interruption makes the man’s stomach sink a little with worry for the odd man he’s housed, if one can call it housed, for the past month. Nigel considers Zachery a bit like the battlescarred gray stray cat that comes looking for Widdershins’ scraps sometimes — a little odd, a little aloof, but mostly harmless and in need of a bath. In short, he’s fond of the man, and doesn’t want him to be caught by Torchlight.

“It seems you’ve caught your quarry, lads. Was there anything else I could help you with?” he asks in that mild-mannered tone that exudes ignorance of any wrongdoing.

"Barely even asked it out for a drink," Zachery meanwhile argues regarding having taken out the fence, his hands halfway up, palms out, and his eye keenly fixed on the man with a taser aimed in his direction. "But alright, fancy man. Alright."

His brow knits with agitation, but he leans forward, slowly onto one knee, as if remembering what he's been taught about cooperating - if only just this once. One has to learn eventually.

But his hands never reach all the way up, and the moment he breaks eye contact to look downward is the moment one of his hands shoots sideways to hook his fingers around a mostly empty clay flower pot at his feet, aiming to hurl it directly at the nearby threat and to push off immediately sideways again— intending to take his chances with the next garden beyond a picket fence.

It’s—super effective.

Which, really, seems strange. That clay pot with a flailing, half-potted begonia in it goes sailing at one of the Torchlight operatives and it knocks him the fuck out. In fact it knocks him out so hard that it also knocks out two men standing roughly eight feet from him as well. They jerk to the side and let out little whimpers before collapsing to the ground in groaning heaps. I mean, the flower pot didn’t even hit the one guy in the head, it hit him in the chest.

Inside the house, Nigel can’t help but feel a palpable sense of relief as Inspector Evans and Walker break away from the stoop to go running around the side of the house, shouting into their radios. Good news for Nigel, bad news for Zachery.

As Zachery scrambles over the downed picket fence into Ms. Loughty’s garden there’s a clatter-clomp of feet on the wood fence behind him. But when he looks back there’s no one there to—FUCK.

Zachery has the wind knocked out of him, sending him tumbling into the grass by what feels like a nearly two-hundred pound sandbag with bony parts. Sucking in a sharp breath, Zachery tries to right himself, only to feel what is distinctly a headbutt strike him in the brow, followed by a “Stay perfectly fuckin’ still you bloody idiot.

A split second later, two inspectors round the corner of the fence, looking around with wide eyes. One takes a knee by one of the three downed men, checking to see how badly injured he is. “They took his goggles,” he says with exasperation.

“Dispatch, this is Torchlight 7, suspect is still on the run. We need air support with IR.” Inspector Evans says into his radio, walking backwards from the split in the fence. He looks directly at Zachery but…

…doesn’t see him.

«Confirmed Torchlight 7, we’ll have a heli spun up to your position.»

Walker and Evans notice the tent in the backyard, look at each other, and then head around the house to investigate it. Meanwhile, where Zachery lay on the ground, the bony sandbag laying atop him grunts softly, and after a few moments—almost like focusing on a magic eye puzzle—Zachery can start to make out a grizzled, bearded man.


“Who the fuck’re you?” The invisible man demands to know in a whisper.

Expression stuck on some severe point between twisted up with pain and wildly confused, Zachery finally does the wise thing of doing exactly as he's told.

"Not…" He begins to answer through gritted teeth and in a low volume to match, while shooting stunned looks between enemy and… presumably something else? He squints up at Claude, blurred vision from the impact doing him no favours. There is no satisfaction in his answer, even if it's not a straight one still: "Not the fucking man they're looking for, then."

He twitches as if momentarily fighting the urge to wrench an arm free in case of retaliation, before adding on the next beat, quickly, "Miller."

“Right then,” Nigel says, blinking as the men go running. He turns to peer through the back windows, returning to retrieve his teacup and taking a sip. With a heavy sigh, he looks down at his phone, which unfortunately has no alert from Reeves yet. It’s still working hours across the pond. She could be doing any manner of things for the DOE, he reasons, trying to save the world.

Widdershins sits, tail swishing, inside the tent. The Torchlight agents may get pounced if they stick their heads in too fast.

“Rains,” Claude says as he rolls off of Zachery, once more becoming fully invisible. “Claude Rains. You’ve just stuck your bloody foot in a very big pile’f shit, Miller.” There’s a rustling sound, pockets being emptied out. Crinkling paper. The smell of… citrus?

“Is that your tent?” Claude asks while chewing a mouthful of gum, watching the Torchlight inspectors approach it, then starts to double back. Zachery feels a grimy hand at the back of his collar as he’s dragged behind the partly-toppled fence to stay out of line of sight.

“We have three inspectors down.” Evans says as he takes a knee beside one of the groaning, injured men. “Send medical.” Evans then looks to Walker. “Go back inside, get the resident and secure him. We want to lock this down.”

“I sure hope that ain’t your bloody house, either.” Claude whispers, and Zachery can see a depression in Ms. Loughty’s flowers in the shape of a middle-aged man’s ass.

Unseen, the phone lights up on Nigel’s table with Reeves quick reply:


A moment later, she steps out of the closet, disentangling herself from the coats and rubbing her nose to try to dissuade a sneeze. She’s dressed for work, in a dark suit and heels, her DOE badge still on. One hand holds her cell phone still, and she turns out of the hallway into the nook to stand beside Nigel, watching the men inspect the tent.


“Bollocks,” she mutters. “Where is he?”

Nigel shakes his head. “He went over the fence. I heard them call for medical for three men? I didn’t reckon him to be that capable, to be honest,” he says, sipping from his tea cup. “Can they arrest you for being here?”

Beatrix doesn’t answer, a tiny door glowing in the center of each pupil as she turns to look at the doorway to the hallway, closer than the one in the closet by a few yards. “If they catch me. For not going through the proper channels.”

Outside the house and dragged back like an angry dish rag, Zachery ends up halfway into a crouch against the fence, shooting a sharp look in Claude's direction.

Only— not to find him, but signs of him. The confusion takes some of the edge off of his expression before he hisses out while tugging his jacket's collar away from his throat, "Do I look like I'm paying mortgage?" Current state of scruff probably dictates no. Besides, "Nige'll be fine, he could talk a pump into believing it's a windmill." His inebriated glare at the nothing tightens as he leans forward slightly to whisper, "Why are you fussing about the tent if it's you they're after?"

“Oh, these idiots couldn’t catch me if they had hands the size of Scotland.” Claude admits from where he sits with his back up against the fence. “They weren’t lookin’ for me,” he says with some smug sense of self-satisfaction.

A split second later there’s a concussive shockwave that sounds like a grenade going off. The blast wave hits the fence and rattles it, kicks up dirt that flies over the top. When the shockwave hits Nigel’s house it blows out the windows facing the back yard, where he sees the Torchlight agents launched off of their feet and onto their backs in the grass. The tent is obliterated and standing in its place is a short, thin young woman with chin-length curly hair and wide eyes. She is carefully holding a very frightened Widdershins against her chest.


“They were lookin’ for her.” Claude says with a hint of pride in his voice. He then shimmers like a heat mirage and becomes fully visible, a grizzled and tired-looking old man chewing a mouthful of gum. He whistles in a two-note signal style, then pops up onto his knees and looks over the fence and makes a click with his tongue.

The girl drops Widdershins and starts to move across the backyard toward where Claude is, looking around nervously as she does. She has a broken collar around her neck, thick and dark plastic cracked at the middle with a screw bolt still in place keeping it loosely held on. Prongs facing inward on the inside evoke images of a dog’s shock collar.

“But I guess they’ll be lookin’ for you now, yeah?” Claude says with a chuckle, slapping a hand on Zachery’s shoulder.

Widdershins bolts before he even hits the ground, his tail a bottlebrush, and only regains some of his moxy when he’s across the yard and up the other neighbor’s fence. He turns and hisses, before disappearing over the wall of morning glories into Mrs. Pritchett’s yard.

Inside the house, Reeves gets back to her feet first, then tugs Nigel up afterward. She chews her lower lip a little nervously as she assesses the damage to the window, then nears the now empty frame, to peer out.

“There’s a girl!” Beatrix exclaims. “We need to help her… and poor Dr. Miller. They must’ve been looking for her. What are the odds?” She tsks with a rueful shake of her head.

Not seeing Claude and Zachery to the side, she beckons to the girl, trying to flag her attention without alerting the Torchlight agents. Reeves is definitely not in her jurisdiction, but if the young girl enters the house, they can disappear to Narnia New York through the wardrobe cupboard under the stairs.

Nigel, for his part, is staring at the window, completely useless, his mouth opening and closing once or twice as he tries to find the words to speak.

Utterly lost himself, Zachery only snaps out of his newest stupor when Claude's hand lands on his shoulder. He jerks back and away from it, half turning where he sits with both hands curling immediately into fists as his eye fixes itself on the other man's face.

For a second, he looks the part of a stray dog trying to size another up for a fight.

As if at least partially aware of the lack of wisdom in this internal struggle, he looks away — to Nigel's house, first, then casting a longer look at Esme. By the time his gaze lands back on Claude again, it's unfocused, and there isn't any hostility left on his words when he argues, "Maybe a year ago, but now I'm… I'm not anyone." A short, bitter laugh leaves him again, to match the bitter, unspoken truth.

And then, his expression just clears, leaving nothing but weariness behind. "I'm just a normal…. everyday…" He rises to his feet, shoulders and arms both up in an exaggerated shrug as he smiles a tight, mirthless smile and takes a step sideways and back into view of Nigel's garden and those within and beyond. "Distraction?"

“You’ll be a nobody if Torchlight catches up to you,” Claude says, rubbing at a ringing ear from the sound of the blast. He rises up to stand and takes a few steps around the fence, meeting with the girl coming from the back yard.

“That was all well’n good, kid, but we need to get out of suburbia.” Claude instructs, looking over at Zachery. “D’you have a car, Mr. Nobody?”

Claude.” The girl says, grabbing his sleeve, then makes eyes at the house. Claude follows her line of sight, not seeing what she saw, and looks back to the kid. She tugs on his sleeve again, and Claude glances at Zachery then gives a nod to follow before following the girl toward the back door to Nigel’s house.

At the back door, Reeves sees the girl come back into view, followed by a shaggy-haired and bearded man who looks absolutely homeless. “I don’t have time t’apologize about the flowers,” he hiss-whispers at the girl who gives him a look like he’s completely an idiot.

“Sorry,” the girl says in apology to Reeves. “We need to borrow your car.”

“Cheeky!” Reeves scoffs at the girl’s demand as her gaze shifts from Esme to Claude and back to Zachery. “I’m afraid I don’t have a car to borrow, miss. I came through other means, but I can get you out of here proper quick, faster than a car can. Nigel?”

She turns to look at Nigel, who still stands agape a few feet back staring at what used to be the sliding glass door.

“I’m sorry, what?” he murmurs, blinking twice, before turning his head to Reeves.

“You still have the Vauxhall?”

He stares at her like he’s never heard the word before, even though there’s one sitting in his garage.

Reeves sighs and looks around, finding the keys in a bowl on the kitchen table, grabbing them. “You want the car or you want the secret passage to New York City?” she asks bluntly, ready to toss the keys without question.

Zachery, who was once in possession of the best car but is no longer in possession of any, means to step carefully over the body of a knocked out Torchlight agent - but trips over one, instead.

He nearly falls, but rights himself to interject with clipped chipperness, "Might I suggest not New York? It's a rat-infested den of misery that eats any remaining scraps of happiness wherever it can find it. Like a flock of fucking sea gulls, descending ravenously on your every packed lunch just as you…" He pauses, with a glance ot the side. "Fucking Christ, my tent."

He lifts a hand, wandering the rest of the way over to say with a much greater level of exhaustion riding on his words, "Reeves, Nigel, you've been lovely, sincerely, but my trust in safety when it comes to being near either of you has… let's say fucking expired." Without pause, he adds, "C— Curt…? Caleb…? Custard— that'snotevenaname— Claude! Can I bum a ride, to… genuinely sort of just anywhere?"

Claude side-eyes Zachery and then grimaces, like he knows something Zachery doesn’t. “Actually, mate, you might’ve been conscripted for a bit.”

“We can’t leave,” Esme says to Reeves with a furrow in her brow, “I have to get Theo.

Rolling his eyes, Claude slides past Zachery and comes up to slip a hand onto Esme’s shoulder and address Reeves. “First of all,” he says with one finger in the air, “m’sorry about the garden an’ you two have a lovely home.” He misjudges Reeves and Nigel’s relationship rather broadly.

“We’ve a bit of a pickle, and unfortunately you’re now in the brine with us.” Claude says with a glance back to Zachery, then back to Reeves. “I’m Claude, which is what it said on my ID card. This is Esme, her memory isn’t so much swiss-cheese. And we just busted out of the Whitehearth concentration camp.”

Sectioning center,” Esme corrects.

Claude makes a face and mouths concentration camp to Reeves.

“Esme’s little brother is still in there, apparently, an’ as you can see those fine folks from Torchlight ain’t exactly taking kindly to our breakout. Now, I’ve about nine hours of collective contiguous memory I’m working on and the rest is a broken bloody bag of glass… so if we’re all on the same page now…”

Esme wrinkles her nose and looks up to Reeves, then Nigel, then Reeves again. “We have’ta save my brother. I’m not going anywhere without him. We have’ta go back.”

“That’s propaganda,” Nigel points out at the child’s correcting of Claude, and he receives a sharp elbow in the ribs from Reeves, along with a pointier look.

“Car then. We’ll help,” the agent declares with a decisive nod to punctuate the words. When Nigel turns to stare at her owlishly, she corrects herself. “I’ll help. Nigel will lend us the use of his fine automobile. Cheers, Nigel, we’ll make it up to you!” She turns to Claude, Zach, and Esme. “It’s this way. Hurry.”

Reeves darts around the side yard toward the separated garage, tapping in the keypad to open the door. Within is a bright green Mokka, and she makes a face. “It’s not the most subtle color in the world. I see he exchanged the other one sometime since the last time we spoke.” Still, it’s a vehicle and it has an engine.

She unlocks the car with the fob. “Are you driving or me?” she asks Claude — Zach and Esme are left out of that debate.

This might be for the best — Zachery's gone quiet, looking off into the middle distance ahead of him before once more glancing behind him to where his tent was. He looks at Nigel, afterward, this time with a much more sober expression of slanted eyebrows that nearly seems to veer off into apologetic— until he turns and meanders after Reeves, scrubbing his face.

"Conscripted," he repeats finally, slowly and with flat affect, as if he's not entirely sure of the context surrounding the word. "Alright, sure. Why not. Why not this."

“I’m not even bloody sure if I know how t’drive a car, so why don’t we hedge our bets and you can drive uh, sir.” Claude says with feigned deference to Reeves as he briskly follows behind her. “Also, I’ll note that Esme here isn’t old enough t’know what a Chumbawumba is and that may not qualify her to make our plans for us.”

“I’m thirteen.” Esme protests, hot on Claude’s heels..

Claude spreads his hands and looks at Reeves, then Zachery. She’s thirteen.

“At least kids in cages is pretty much a fuckin’ thing I’m glad we can all agree is fucked.” Claude mumbles. “Do you have a uh, safehouse? Foxhole? Favorite pub we could lie low in? Because I don’t think we want to just roll up to Whitehearth in your friend’s stubby goblin-car.” He smiles awkwardly. “Lovely as it is.”

Reeves’ brow lifts at being called sir, but opens the driver’s side door, gesturing for the rest of them to follow suit.

“I’m afraid I don’t have much of anything here. I’m an ex-pat, myself, because of those sorts of things. This was my safehouse,” she says, with a sad look at Nigel’s house. “I can pop us any number of places if you want to leave England, but the only two doors I have here are Nigel’s and a tea shop in Blackfriars.”

She glances at Zach. “You mentioned a brother? Would he host us? Otherwise, the White Hart is a lovely pub.

"Sorry, I haven't quite had the chance to process the last five minutes," Zachery answers with a few seconds' delay and with a hand on his forehead as if that's all that's going to keep his fucking brain from falling out of his skull. "You want to pop over to my brother's, who doesn't even know I'm in the country, and ask him nicely if he could hide a homeless northerner who's headbutted me in the face and a presumably traumatised child who's potentially capable of murder on a whim?"

He darts a look between all parties involved, then abruptly wheezes out a strained laugh before moving to claim a back literal seat to the madness. "Sounds great, actually, yes, let's go. Reeves, staying for supper?"

“How d’you know I’m from the North?” Claude asks as he opens the passenger side door. Then, considering the sound of his own voice adds, “Actually, nevermind that.”

“Anywhere but here, please,” Esme says, standing behind Claude impatiently waiting for him to presumably cram in the back of the car. “My hands still hurt,” she says with a flex of her fingers open and closed.

“Wait,” Claude finally catches on something. “The fuck d’you mean pop us?” He asks with a squint while at the same time casually flipping Zachery in his peripheral vision. Then, grimacing, Claude throws his hands into the air and steps away from the passenger side door and grabs Esme by the scruff of her shirt and hauls her into the back seat then shuts the rear passenger-side door.

Hey!” Esme protests, stuffing her face up at the window.

“Shut up! I’m bigger than you and that means I can boss you around,” Claude says before ducking into the passenger seat. “If you’re the popping type and we vanish out of here they’ll look for that. Drive up the road a bit, then we’ll ditch the car and you can pop us from somewhere there.”

Claude pauses, looking at his own hand as he motions to direct Reeves where to drive once she gets in the car. He turns his hand around, looking at his palm. “Uh, if that sounds like a good plan?” It feels like one, but he can’t be sure why.

Reeves’ usually good natured, if anxious, expression withers a little as she stares at Zachery. “Doctor Miller, you are beginning to try my patience, mister.” She pauses, then corrects herself, “Doctor,” because calling a doctor a mister is poor form.

“Grand plan. Let’s go,” she says, starting the car once everyone’s seated and pulling out of the garage. The Vauxhall has a nice back-up display that keeps her barely from taking out a mailbox. At least that will still be standing for poor Nigel. “I’m not a teleporter, per se, so it’s not anywhere you want to go, but anywhere I have mapped out through a series of rooms. Bit of a maze really, and definitely more than a five-and-a-half-minute hallway if it were all in a line.”

As she drives up the road, she looks for a place to pull over. “Oh! I do have a stop in Edinburgh. Otherwise we have to go continental or back across the pond.”

After a quick glance at Esme, then toward those in the front seats again, Zachery admits dryly, "I've genuinely lost track of what's going on. Here, and just sort of, ah— in general, if I'm honest."

With a rustle of fabric, he elbows himself out of his jacket and thunks his shoulder against the door at his side, jacket bunched up against the window as a makeshift pillow so he can dissociate in peace. "But give me a shove if you need a sign of life, or directions or…" his voice trails off, monocular gaze pointedly aimed outside the car.

Claude looks over his shoulder, first at Esme then past her through the rear window of the car to Nigel’s house as they pull away from it. He looks at Zachery next, brows furrowed, then Esme again, before sitting right-facing again.

“Fantastic.” He says in a shaky whisper.


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