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There was a figure on horseback at the far east end of the street, silent and silhouetted by billowing fog. Something about his shape raised George Hutchinson’s hair. Musn’t stare, he thought. The shadowy figure did not concern him. And he certainly did not wish to draw the rider’s attention.
The mount was as still as a grave. The figure astride it seemed to hunch in the saddle. The rider stared down the dark, quiet street.
A distant whistle sounded as a steam engine puffed its way from Fenchurch to Moorgate. As the last piping note faded, the air lay heavy with unnatural silence. Whisps of fog were everywhere, lengthening shadows, adding an eldritch feel to familiar sights. The spectral shape of the rider and his strangely unmoving horse loomed in his peripheral vision. Mustn’t look, he told himself. You don’t see him.
He passed a man standing on the corner of Commercial and Thrawl. Hutchinson kept walking. He would not let himself be bothered by either stranger tonight.
By the light of a gas lamp, he saw young Miss Mary coming his way, humming to herself. He had not realized his heart was thumping loudly until he felt it slow now that he saw someone he knew.
“Mr. Hutchinson!” she called.
“Mornin’, lass.” He doffed his cap.
“Can you lend me sixpence?” asked Mary.
Inwardly, he groaned. “’Pologies, my dear. The last of me money I squandered in Romford.”
“Good morning, then,” she said. “I must go and find some money.” He shook his head at her retreating figure. Whatever she could need money for at this hour of the day couldn’t be good, but he decided it didn’t concern him.
The stranger at the corner of Thrawl Street emerged from the darkness and called to Mary. Hutchinson liked the man’s look no more than he did the rider. No laborer he; the man was wearing an astrakhan over his thick dark hair and a pair of aviator goggles over his eyes. They did little to hide his appearance. Bushy brows, pale skin, hook of a nose. An aviator?
Mary made nice almost immediately with the stranger, who murmured to her too low for Hutchinson to hear. After a moment they strolled off, arm in arm.
Hutchinson moved on, a trifle disgusted. Miss Mary was a pretty thing. She could have herself a fine man, if she could ever pull herself out of her squalor and become a fine woman. He turned and headed for his flat.
The rider was still there. Hutchinson’s face began to break out in sweat. What could the horseman possibly want?
In the distance, he heard three clanging tones of a clock.
The figure suddenly shifted position. The horse beneath him sprang to life in a screech and clank of old gears. A dull roar sounded from the beast, and a cloud of vapor rose from its muzzle. The mechanical mount and its gaunt, eerie rider began a slow, methodical trot down Commercial Street. The rider held something large and oddly shaped beneath his arm. In the mist, Hutchinson thought he saw the glint of eyes on the object. He decided great haste was required.
He never saw Mary Kelly again.
Fred Abberline stood on Commercial Street, taking in Elizabeth Prater’s fearful account.
“And you’re certain of what you saw?” asked the Inspector, smoothing his whiskers. The Kelly girl was the seventh murdered in this fashion. He was slowly growing beyond exhausted.
“More than certain!” said the stout woman. “I’ll never forget that horrible face!”
Abberline’s brow creased. A year ago, he would have dismissed this Prater woman as either lying or insane, but now he paused and wondered. Of the last six deaths, twice prior a figure similar to the one Elizabeth Prater was describing had been glimpsed, but never observed so openly.
“This means I’ll be next, don’t it?” she was wailing. “All my life I been taught you ain’t supposed t’look ‘im in the eye! That means he come for you next!”
“I somehow doubt this…apparition is responsible for the crime,” said Abberline. “Isn’t that right, Dr. Phillips?”
“Aye,” said the stocky physician. “The, ehrm, body, was in bad shape, to be sure, but it appears a common slash to the throat what done the poor lass in.”
Abberline frowned. The body had been in abysmal condition. The girl had been disemboweled, her breasts sliced off, her right arm partially severed, and her genitalia removed. Just like the other six. Clearly the work of a madman, but could he leap to the notion of this fantastic creature?
“…Safe?” Prater was asking.
“Pardon?” Abberline had been drifting in reverie.
“I said, are we safe, Inspector?” Prater still sounded near hysteria, but now also seemed a trifle annoyed.
“I daresay ‘safe’ is not a word I would use to describe the Whitechapel area as a whole at the moment,” said Abberline. “But all the same, try to put this from your mind. Stay indoors tonight, lock your doors, latch your windows, and heed no noises. I should advise your neighbors of the same.”
Without waiting for her reply, Abberline returned to the steam-carriage. Lowering his motoring goggles into place, he fired the ignition and blared the whistle. He guided the carriage to H Division Precinct.
“You cannot seriously be suggesting what I think you’re suggesting,” said Arnold, coughing as he waved away the smoke from his calabash.
“I would not have mentioned his name if I did not think his services were warranted.” Abberline stood solemnly before the superintendent’s desk.
Arnold rose and frowned at the Inspector. “Out of the question,” he said. “We are not in the business of employing frauds at H Division. Perhaps you became too accustomed to not having your methods questioned at Whitehall or the yard, Inspector, but here we practice genuine police work.”
“Professor Ketterly is no fraud,” said Abberline. “He comes with recommendations from Oxford and Cambridge, and is a celebrated member of the British Order of Alchemists.”
“The British order of…!” sputtered Arnold. He stood and paced to the window and back to his desk as he spoke. “We shan’t explore my opinion of the esteemed Order of Charlatans. Godley, tell the good Inspector that we simply cannot tolerate…”
“In point of fact, sir,” said Godley, rising from his chair. “The professor has a solid reputation in numerous past cases. His methods might be…unconventional, to be sure, but I would hardly call him a fraud or a charlatan. And as the Inspector has observed, it is not merely the Prater woman who saw this apparition.”
“Yes, well, Whitechapel is renowned for its lushingtons and opium-addled dollymops! Who can trust their word? Are we to believe our murderer is a ghost?”
“I’m not certain the being described is our suspect,” said Abberline. “But there does appear to be a connection. As to what, I admit that this falls outside my purview. That is why I believe it would be prudent to retain the good professor to investigate this matter. The principle case would remain with H Division, but it would be folly to ignore such a striking connection.”
“Folly,” repeated Arnold. “Folly is what I face from my seconded chief Inspector. Nonetheless, Abberline, if I’m unable to put a cap on this foolishness, then hire the fellow. And be it on your head.”
“We’re quite out of our way, sir,” said Thick as the steam-hack sputtered to a stop at Gloucester and Dorset.
“Indeed,” said Abberline. He had decided the sergeant would be the only one he brought with him. The fewer eyes he drew, the better. Thick climbed out of the hack after him. A few seconds later the growl of the engines began again and the jarvey piloted the machine toward Portman Square.
“This Ketterly bloke,” said Thick. “He a bit of a nutter?”
“Oh, for certain,” said Abberline. “But he is also brilliant. Follow me.” He made for the door to the professor’s flat. The rooms sat above a pipe shop and seemed strangely humble for a fellow of Ketterly’s reputation. Abberline rapped twice on the door and waited.
The clank of heavy machinery began to echo from within the flat, and seemed to draw closer. Finally the door was opened, and a large, bulky figure stood silhouetted in the frame. Bright red lights blazed in its head where eyes were supposed to be. The automaton’s iron body ticked incessantly but it was otherwise silent.
“Ahem, yes,” began Abberline. “Would the professor be at home?”
More ticking. Finally the automaton stood straight and a tinny voice buzzed from a speaker at the front of its head. “The master is otherwise engaged at present time.”
“I’m afraid it’s urgent,” said Abberline. “My name is Inspector Frederick Abberline and I’m here on official police business.”
“The master is otherwise…” began the machine again. Before it could continue, another voice, this one rough and throaty but unmistakably human, shouted from behind it.
“Shut up. Shut it, you bleedin’ clank-box!”
The automaton slowly backed away from the door as a short, stout man in dusty trousers and a cambric shirt appeared from a side room. His ruddy face and ginger hair and beard were grease-stained and he wore a pair of brass workman’s goggles.
“Apologies, gents,” he said, placing the goggles on his brow. “Rickey knows better than to open the door. Or at least, he usually does. Now then, how can I be of service?”
Abberline cleared his throat. “I’m Inspector Abberline of the Yard, and this is Sergeant Thick of H Division. We need to…”
“The Yard, aye?” The workman cut him off. “Then you’ll be wantin’ the chaps one block over.”
“Not in this case. Might we come in?”
“Oh, aye,” said the workman. “That is, have you come to see the professor?”
“We have,” said Abberline. “And on a matter of some urgency. I assume you are his…?”
“Valet,” said the man. “Well, valet, engineer and, well, his colleague, I s’pose. Cattermole Bright’s the name. I look after the professor’s machines.”
Abberline cast a glance at the automaton, which stood motionless where he had stopped when Bright had shouted at him.
“Ah, well,” said Bright. “Some machines need more tendin’ than others. But ol’ Rickey has his uses after his own fashion. Now then, could I offer you gents something to wet the whistle?”
“No, thank you,” said Abberline. “We must speak to the professor as soon as possible.”
“Er, well, yeah,” said Bright. “He’s, ahh, sort of indisposed at the moment.”
A loud bang sounded from the rear of the flat. A moment later, a stream of loud curses that would make a stevedore blush began. Smoke billowed from under a door at the rear of the drawing room. Bright clapped a hand to his forehead and looked chagrined.
“A genius, you said?” Thick whispered to Abberline.
“According to some,” said Abberline.
A few seconds later the rear door burst open and a figure in a white lab coat appeared. He was reasonably tall, his hair going to silver yet still full, and his face well-lined yet handsome. He held his hands before him pointing up, and smoke was coming off the black rubber gloves he wore. A bizarre pair of goggles with multiple articulated lenses of different sizes and colors covered his eyes.
“Confound it all!” he exclaimed. “That blasted chromnambulator has destroyed my Wimshurst influence machine! I shall have to find a new power source now. Of course, the only person brilliant enough to dream up something with the power to run such a device is myself! This means another interminable time spent in research when by this time I had meant to…” He paused and looked at his drawing room for the first time. “Bright, we have guests? Have you offered them tea, or brandy? Terribly sorry, gentlemen, I’m afraid you have caught me at a rather delicate time, and…” He seemed to notice the Inspector for the first time. “Good Lord. Abberline.”
“A good evening to you, as well, Professor,” said Abberline. “Sergeant Thick, might I present Professor Roderick Middlestone Ketterly, of the British Order of Alchemists.”
Ketterly peeled the gloves from his hands and unbuttoned his coat, revealing gentleman’s garb beneath. He took a waistcoat from a nearby rack and shrugged into it, removing the goggles as well.
“I did not expect visitors this afternoon,” he said. “And certainly none of your…caliber. Might I enquire as to the nature of this visit?”
“You know the case I’m working on,” said Abberline. Ketterly nodded, his eyes narrow. “I sought you out, Professor, because of a peculiarity in the case that would seem to fall right in your wheelhouse. In three of the murders, witnesses have reported a strange apparition on horseback in the immediate vicinity of the crime, stopping at exactly the moment it occurred. The figure does not seem to be the one committing the attack, but the corroborated reports of its appearance I simply cannot afford to ignore. Witnesses reported that it sat astride a mechanical horse, and seemed to be carrying something large that, according to two of the witnesses, bore a face upon it. It may be simply a trickster, but its appearance before the crime is even carried out, combined with its propensity for halting usually only a few feet from where our killer strikes, leads me to believe it may be something for you to look into.”
Ketterly was silent for a moment, fixing the Inspector with a glare. Finally he nodded curtly. “Indeed, I can see why you came to me. Although I admit to some degree of surprise, considering the outcome of the Regency Park incident.”
“You were cleared of any wrong-doing there,” said Abberline. “And I have done my best to put it behind me. Are you saying you’ll take the case?”
“I’m saying I shall endeavor to look into it. Now, Bright,” he turned to the engineer. “Prepare the Concorde and give Rickey the spectrophotometer. You’ll want to ensure we have supplies of phosphoric acid, sodium chloride and a hand-mirror.”
“Thank you, Professor,” said Abberline. “Shall I meet you at H Division tonight?”
“No need,” said Ketterly. “You shall have my report in the morning. Assuming, of course, that Bright and I survive the night. You appear to have the Dullahan in your district.”
The road was shrouded by mist, and the Concorde motored along the alleys and back roads of the commercial district at a clip just faster than a brisk walk. A few paces ahead, Rickey plodded along while the steam-bike kept pace, his gears and pistons echoing among the flats and storefronts. The spectrophotometer clicked and whistled in his iron hand.
“Quite a seedy locale for London’s foremost authority on the arcane, innit, Professor?” said Bright from the pilot’s seat.
“Less prattle, please, Bright,” said Ketterly. He sat in the sidecar, driving goggles down and topper held on with his right hand. He was watching the wireless responder gauge in his lap corresponding its readings to the direction Rickey was headed. “Getting some strong readings up by the George. It would appear Abberline was right. The spectre does appear to be following the murders.”
“We sure it’s the Dullahan?” asked Bright.
“It could hardly be anyone else,” said Ketterly. “Appearing before the murder occurs. Stopping at the location. Carrying his own head. Sounds like our chap, does it not?”
“What do you intend to do about it?” Bright slowed as Rickey stopped at a street corner and turned slowly, waiting for the clicks and whistles to begin again. Ketterly’s eyes were glued to the gauge’s needle.
“If it is the Dullahan, we keep our distance. Set the trap and wait, then ask a question. If properly bound, he shall be forced to answer.”
“What you gonna ask him?”
“I prefer not to give voice to that yet.”
A door opened up by the George and a pretty young lady stumbled out. “Kill the motor,” said Ketterly. “Ahead is a woman who could be sister to our previous victim. And she appears to be in the company of a gentleman.”
Bright shut off the Concorde’s engine and called Rickey back. Ketterly climbed out of the sidecar and fixed his motoring goggles on his topper.
“Aye, what, you plannin’ to just saunter on up to the lady and slip her a speckled hen?”
“Of course not,” said Ketterly. “But I do plan to stay within sight of her, and the Concorde’s engine noise shan’t be wanted.” He took his cane from the sidecar floor and went to stand under a gas lamp. After a moment, Bright followed. Rickey clanked after Bright.
“Why don’t you stay here, aye, old boy?” Bright said to the automaton. The sound of rushing steam came from Rickey’s gauges and in a moment the machine man was still. “S’right,” said the engineer. “Keep watch. The professor and I will scout ‘round.” Rickey said nothing.
Bright peered into the shadows in the alcoves and arches, gazing down side streets he and the professor walked past. Was that movement he saw? Shapes, vaguely human, flickered in the clouds of steam from nearby pipes. Could there also be a still figure on horseback?
Up ahead, the young lady was swaying drunkenly on the man’s arm. Bright noticed the man was wearing an astrakhan felt hat and aviator goggles. He looked upper-class, slightly Semitic, and unlike the lady, he strode ahead with purpose. “S’pose I’d hurry, too, if I was headed for a bunk-up.”
“Quiet.” Ketterly was watching the man intently.
“Aye, guv,” said Bright. “Don’t you reckon you could get in over your head again? I mean, the phantom dog of Regency Park was a little…”
“I. Said. Quiet.” Ketterly bit off his words, casting a glare at Bright. “That man. Does he look like a local here?”
Bright considered him. “He seems a flyboy, don’t he?”
“Yes. And it’s several miles from the Beddington Aerodrome, is it not?”
“Aye, long way to go for a bit o’ tail, innit?”
“Quite. And the lady in question is not unlike the last known victim, correct?”
“Aye. You think we found ol’ Jack?”
“That’s a matter for Inspector Abberline. But if my theory is correct, the Dullahan should appear near wherever he takes the lady. To the Concorde, Bright. They look to be headed toward Poplar High Street. We shan’t stray far from him.”
The chill in the air was creeping into Bright’s bones. Even his thick wool-lined leather pilot’s jacket wasn’t keeping out the cold. He pulled on the straps of his leather cap.
“Where’s the fella?”
“He’s definitely in Clark’s Yard,” said Ketterly. Before them, Rickey held the spectrophotometer; the device pinging loudly. “Our quarry, however, is there.”
He pointed through the fog. Bright’s eyes followed the professor’s finger, and his blood froze in his veins. Up the street, enshrouded in steam, stood the figure of a man on horseback. Bright could see from here that there was something off about the shape of his shoulders. “Nothin’ in between ‘em,” he muttered.
At his words, the apparition began to move, the mount beneath him breathing steam from its muzzle as it clattered and screeched forward.
“It’s heading for the spot,” said Ketterly. Bright barely breathed as the Dullahan rode closer. “Be ready,” said Ketterly. He pulled a vial of acid from under his cape. Bright reached into his jacket pocket for the vial of rock salt. The Dullahan was a mere twenty feet away from the spot now. Ketterly stepped forward from the shadows and hissed “Now!” Before Bright had moved, Ketterly was jogging forward, holding aloft the mirror while flicking the stopper from his vial with his other hand. The horse-machine reared and the scream of its gears rent the night. Ketterly threw the acid at the creature, and a roar escaped from the terrible head the creature held. Bright stared dumbstruck. The head was yellow, mottled, and sneering with a mouth too wide for its face and full of razor-sharp teeth.
“I said now, Bright!” shouted the professor. Bright shook his head and darted forward, pouring the salt on the cobblestones as he ran a circle about the creature. He refused to let himself see the awful head.
He felt the surge of power go through the circle as it closed. The Dullahan howled with rage and Bright ran to the professor’s side, finally turning to look fully at the spirit.
It was clothed in strips of black leather from head to foot, metal spikes protruding from its shoulders. Ticking, spinning gears appeared to be powering the body’s motion, just like the horse’s. Only the head appeared free of machinery, and its chasm of a mouth was roaring at the two of them.
“That’s our Dullahan, for certain,” said Ketterly. “All that’s missing is the whip.”
A hiss went up from the Dullahan and a greyish white cord flicked toward Bright’s head. He ducked, but felt a trifle foolish as the whip, made of a human spinal column, he saw, lashed against the invisible barrier and fell harmlessly.
“You…” growled the Dullahan.
The professor was remarkably unperturbed. “Me,” he said.
“Release me!” howled the Dullahan.
The spirit fell silent but the face kept its scowl. The horse snorted more steam.
“You come tonight to claim one newly dead,” said Ketterly.
“What of it?”
“Why are you here? You are known for arriving at unnatural death sites. These are common murders.”
“Are they?” The Dullahan laughed lowly. Bright felt the ground tremble slightly at the sound.
“Are you telling me there is something unnatural about these deaths?”
“I tell you nothing,” said the Dullahan. “But you said it yourself.”
“Where will the next one occur?”
The creature was silent.
“Where will the next murder take place?” demanded Ketterly.
“Release me, and I shall tell you.”
“A fool’s bargain. But tell me, and I shall release you, provided you let myself and my colleague depart.”
The Dullahan hissed. The arm held out the head before the horse. “Curse you both,” it said. “I shall tell you, and I shall leave you alone. This night. But another night, long after both of you have forgotten me, I shall appear at the moment of your deaths, and claim your souls for my purposes.”
“I care little for your threats,” said Ketterly. “Answer the question.”
“This creature takes the souls of its victims and leaves me with naught but a husk. The next murder this he commits shall occur in the middle of your warmest month in an alley named for the home of your queen.”
“Buckingham?” asked Bright.
“Don’t be obtuse,” said Ketterly. “Castle Alley. That’s what he means.”
“During the warmest month?” asked Bright. “You mean we gotta wait over half a year?”
“The creature you track,” said the Dullahan. “Believes his work to be finished tonight. But he shall discover his mistake almost too late. And now, release me, foul one, and forget not my warning.”
“I shan’t,” said Ketterly. Mirror still held high, the Dullahan’s head always in it, Ketterly stepped forward and broke the circle with his foot.
“I must hand it to you,” said Abberline. “There has indeed not been another ripping since the last. I assume your quarry told you?”
Ketterly sipped his tea as he narrowed his eyes at the Inspector. “I rarely discuss matters of the spirit world with those outside my profession, Abberline. You know this. However, I shall tell you that I have it on good authority that if your men patrol Castle Alley during the week of 14 to 20 July, you shall find your man.”
“I would, of course,” said Abberline. “Appreciate it if you would make yourself available during that time.”
“Then you have my thanks.”
The Inspector left shortly after. Bright looked up from the analytical engine he had been working on and glared after him. “You agreed to be there when they hunt the killer,” he said. “Why?”
“Curiosity,” said Ketterly. “Little more than that.”
“Little more?” Bright put his spanner down and stood. “Professor, you’re startin’ to trouble me. Ever since the business with that dog, you’ve been…distant. Distracted. Not yourself. Even allowing the chromnambulator to overload the influence machine is not like you. And you seem determined to put yourself in harm’s way. And all for…curiosity?”
“My reasons are my own,” said Ketterly, fixing Bright to the spot with a glare. “And I’ll thank you not to question my motivations. I hired you to tend to my devices, Bright, not to govern me. I’m quite capable of that on my own.”
“I wonder, oft times,” said Bright. But he went back to his work and didn’t question the professor further.
“That’s him!” Bright whispered fiercely as the hook-nosed man with the felt hat strolled out of an alleyway. Abberline looked to Ketterly.
“Quite,” said the professor. “Time to follow him.” The three waited until the man turned his back and filed out of the steam-carriage, following the man at a distance until he approached a young woman with long brown hair.
“Another ringer for the Kelly girl,” said Abberline.
The two of them turned down the alleyway, and Bright hurried to follow the professor and the Inspector as they went along after him.
At the mouth of the alley, Ketterly turned. “Leave this to me,” he said.
“I’m afraid that isn’t your call to make,” said Abberline.
“Trust me on this,” said Ketterly. “If I’m wrong, arrest me later, but for now, stay here and let me deal with the man.”
Abberline frowned, but finally nodded. The professor disappeared down the alley.
Bright shifted his weight and began to pace. Everything in him said that staying here was wrong. The professor was behaving so strangely…
“Wait here,” he said to Abberline.
“Now, just a moment…” the Inspector began.
“I’m not interferin’ with whatever he means to do,” said Bright. “But I gotta know somethin’.” Before Abberline could argue further, Bright dove into the alley and flattened himself against the wall, moving forward through the gloom as he edged closer to where he could hear the professor speaking. Thanks to the warmer weather there was no fog, but clouds of steam still drifted through the air, obscuring the pair when Bright finally saw them.
The bloke they’d followed was standing a few paces in front of Ketterly. His shape seemed…different. Taller, thinner, and with more arms than necessary. That had to be the steam clouds playing tricks on him.
“I shall say it again,” said Ketterly. “You’ve taken your last soul, and from this day forward, I shall be monitoring London for any of your activities.”
“I cannot stay in this accursed place,” hissed the man. “It turns my blood to ice merely to walk among you.”
“That’s not my concern,” said Ketterly. “But I warn you. Do not test me. There’s a reason I have a reputation as the premiere authority on matters of the arcane. I can manufacture devices to tear your spirit to pieces. Manipulation of time and space are within my grasp, and if necessary, I can hunt you wherever and whenever you might wish to go.”
“I know who you are,” said the creature. “Your true nature. You hide so well among these pathetic people. I wonder what the inspector would think, if he knew. If your assistant knew.”
“Yes,” said Ketterly. “You know who I am and you know I do not jest. Begone with you, and never blacken this city with your presence again.”
“Wherever I go, I will simply try again.”
“Appear far from here, then. Elsewise, you shall be mine.”
The creature began to fade, disappearing from view. Bright hurried back to the mouth of Castle Alley.
“What…” began Abberline.
“Just wait,” said Bright. “And don’t tell him I followed you.”
A moment later, his cane clacking on the cobbles, Ketterly appeared, his expression smug.
“There shall be no more rippings, Inspector,” said Ketterly.
“Is that so,” said Abberline. “And where is our suspect?”
“Dealt with,” said Ketterly. “And I urge you, Inspector, please ask me no further questions. Consider this my gift to you, to make up for what happened with the hound at Regency Park. Tell your superiors that the man has disappeared. They will leave the case open, naturally, but the last murder was the unfortunate lady at the end of this alley.”
“My superiors will do more than leave the case open,” said Abberline. “They shall want to question you, and just what happened in there.”
“I do not joke about this.” Ketterly’s face turned deadly serious. “Leave my name out of this report. Do not come to me for this matter again. This is where our business ends.”
He stalked off, leaving Bright to shrug apologetically to Abberline.
“Right,” said the engineer, after he caught up with Ketterly’s fleeing form. “What was that? Who was that man?”
“The being you saw me treat with in the alley?”
Bright stopped and swallowed.
“Oh, don’t worry, old chap,” said Ketterly. “I knew you would follow, but thank you for keeping the Inspector back. At any rate, the being simply wants to go home. It’s a shame the doorway to his realm can only be opened by harvesting tainted souls.”
“Right. Hence slicing up the judies.”
“Indeed. But if he tries it again, it shall not be here.”
“I know.” Bright stepped in front of the professor and stopped. “Because of you. He was frightened of you.”
Ketterly’s face was stone. “Many unnatural beings are. I do have a reputation, after all.”
“Oh, aye,” said Bright. “But how’d you get it? Where’d you learn all that you know? There’s somethin’ you ain’t tellin’ me.”
Ketterly’s glare could have melted Rickey. “There are many things I choose not to tell anyone, my friend. And if I were you, I should not ask again.”
He stepped around Bright and stalked back toward the Concorde. Bright shook his head and followed silently.
Who are you, Professor? he wondered. Who have I thrown my lot in with?