Any other day he would have teleported. Not this day. Jhaer’s feet knew the path, fortunate for that since his senses barely registered the surroundings through the deafening layer of shock. Pastureland yielded to civilization as the early morning light glinted on east-facing windows in Kilkenny. Humans milled about, as humans are wont to do. Jhaer paid them no heed and they returned the courtesy.
From the outside the safe house appeared to be an unremarkable brick building in an unremarkable neighborhood of light industry and inexpensive apartments. The kind of place, if someone noticed it at all, one would assume was probably unoccupied and unworthy of interest, much less renovation. No mundane human eyes would notice the man in the dirt-smudged clothing turn down the alley and then slip through the Glamour that hid the only unbarred entrance.
Inside the long, two-story building, remnants of the former occupants remained by way of dusty and discarded industrial equipment and random cardboard boxes of broken junk and packing material. Through a grimy window, not a bit of this rubbish appeared worth the effort to steal. An intentional ploy.
Glamour again disguised the back hallway to the office space beyond with the illusion of a wall. Behind these multiple layers of protection, Jhaer opened an office door.
The Unseelie slumped at last in the leather chair behind the desk. Just bonelessly surrendering to the postponed fatigue, staring at nothing in particular. After an unmeasured amount of time, Jhaer opened one of the deep desk drawers. Nudging aside fake IDs and papers of random variety and usefulness in the paper-obsessed culture of the earth realm, he selected one of a handful of cell phone devices he’d procured.
He found the compatible cord and linked the phone to it and then to the power outlet in the wall until the device lit up, announcing it was charging. Not waiting for it to satisfy its hunger for the power it required to function while disconnected, Jhaer slid his finger across the touch screen.
The contacts symbol appeared on the first screen. He tapped it, then selected the first name of a Sidhe he scrolled to. The device chirped several times before the fake voice asked him to leave a message. Probably this particular Sidhe had been in the Mounds.
Jhaer rubbed at his face with his hand, as if this might wipe away the memories. Might prevent the thought of her as the crushing weight of failed magic snuffed out the light of her spirit without even the echo of her scream surviving to mark her passing.
They could not all be dead. They couldn’t be. Even though at the moment he felt utterly alone and disconnected from all he’d known and held dear. Jhaer slid his finger over the device to scroll the list again. Hunting… Searching for a name… Any name… Of someone who would not have been in the Mounds that day.
And found one.
Part 5/16 of "Aftershock" coming on 12/9/11!