He strides unseen into the card room at the Reform club and finds he's too late – Druitt has arrived an instant ahead of him. There's nothing to do but take his place in line and wait.
Watson stands and greets Druitt with a handshake that should have been his, an honest expression of warm friendship. They seat themselves without any sign of awkwardness or uncertainty; they are the masters of this universe. Their brandies arrive in matched glasses, brought elegantly to their notice by a server who is utterly nondescript, so insubstantial as to be invisible. He had never thought much about those who served his friends - and himself - when he was in their company at Oxford. Invisible people had held no interest for him, then.
They toast and sip at their drinks in the undeniable comfort of the Reform club. The chairs have leather covers smoother than human skin, the gas is high enough to see the features of your nearest companion, but not so high that a casual glance could ascertain the identity of a club member across the room. It had not occurred to him before how well his 'betters' increased their own visibility by diminishing the world around them.
He shifts and then freezes in place as Watson casually glances in his direction. He knows better; there is never anything casual about the 'glance' of James Watson – his eye focuses like a microscopic lens on anything that catches his interest. A moment more – breath held – and Watson appears to have relaxed. But he does not dare to breathe again until Druitt speaks.
"I've heard you've had some success with the Alfred Street murder."
"Hardly murder." Watson smoothes the edge of his mustache with a world-weary gesture. "Accidental poisoning. A child. Tragic, of course."
A slight smile hovers at the edges of Druitt's lips as he sips his brandy. "Of course. But hardly a case worthy of your talents."
Watson startles – recovers – smiles slowly – it is an old game he has seen between them during their years of friendship. "Only you would torment me with my accomplishments in the face of my current failure. But I did have a thought – something I'd hoped to discuss with you . . . ."
"Ah. And what else might it be?"
"The Ripper. Yes." Frustration edges Watson's tone and features, a modern Job bewailing his fate . . . with the expression of dismay and failure diminished in scope to that acceptable for a man of his station and profession.
Druitt appears to sympathize – but is that still a hint of a smile, hidden as he takes a solid swallow of brandy from his glass?
They are a study in contrasts – Watson and Druitt. They have always been so. Watson was a man of particular breeding, who dressed and walked and spoke as someone entitled to the privilege into which he was born, comfortable in surrounding himself with it, and yet disdainful of it. Tesla matched him in many ways - compensating for a lack of pedigree with arrogance, brilliance, perfect diction and a dandified sense of fashion to cover his humble origins. But Druitt appeared to disdain the life into which he'd been born. He was never properly barbered, his coat was poorly brushed, his collars unfastened, a cufflink missing . . . he always looked as if he were late for some function and had thrown himself together to avoid tardiness.
Even now, Druitt's sideburns are atrocious – and they would have to be for him to notice such a detail. His eyelids slightly lowered, that evil grin playing about his lips, Druitt looked the very picture of—
"Madness," said Watson – bringing him back to over-hearing the conversation. "I cannot think it can be anything but madness that could drive a man to commit such foul acts upon not only one woman, but several. Really, Druitt, can you imagine a man driven to such acts by a single woman?"
"You obviously haven't met the right woman." Druitt delivers his answer with an awkward and somber sincerity, and then dismisses it with a wave. He leans forward with rapt attention, a student hungering for education and elucidation. "What kind of madness, do you suspect? Excessive drink? A drug? A poisonous substance?"
"Hardly. I think we can dismiss those possibilities from observation, despite the lack of academic documentation. Illness, perhaps. Of the body. Or of the spirit?"
Druitt laughs aloud and empties his brandy glass. Another near-invisible server sweeps forward with a tray upon which the glass is discarded and from which a full glass is retrieved. "Shall we be turning your collar backward, Reverend Watson? I've never taken you for a religious man."
"Really, John!" Watson rolls his empty glass between his hands, taking notice of the server only long enough to wave away his intentions. He stares down into the empty glass then looks up at Druitt. Having expressed his exasperation, there is no further sign of affront in his gaze. Intensity inhabits Watson's glance-that-is-not-a-glance. "Did you use the tickets I left for you at the Lyceum? To see Mansfield's performance?"
"No. I'm afraid I was . . . entertaining that night."
Watson sighs and leans back into his chair. "Pity. You missed the performance of a lifetime that evening."
"I wouldn't say that." But Druitt's comment is quickly buried by a question, "What would I have seen?"
"Brilliance." The glass abandoned momentarily on the smoking table located between their chairs, Watson lifts his eyes to the ceiling, and then closes them. "Excellence. Magic." His reverie passes and he focuses again on Druitt. "An incredible performance. Edward Mansfield as Henry Jekyll – plain and tasteless, a man of science stunted by the mores of religion . . . ."
"Careful – you could be describing Griffen."
He has taken far sharper barbs from Druitt and Tesla during their days at Oxford – he is past caring about them. They can no longer wound him. But the flicker of amusement on Watson's face, stings. He might say, "Et Tu Brute," were he there. But he is not part of the conversation, so there would be no point in exposing himself. He may be mad, but he's not stupid.
"—And Hyde," continues Watson, "as villainous and ruthless a devil as can be imagined in human form. Evil incarnate. Loathsome depravity so foul it cannot be spoken aloud except in a whisper. Like the Ripper."
It is Watson's tone that carries his words – disgust so palpable as to form an invisible miasma that threatens to choke them, in that small corner of the elegant Reform Club. For the first time, Druitt shows less affect than effect; he pales, his lips draw tightly together. "Like the Ripper."
His words echo, the tone hollow. In response, Watson hisses, "Yes!" emphatically and slaps the arm of the chair with his hand.
He has summoned the attention of those around them – the near-invisibles momentarily achieve substance at the disturbance and stand still, stunned into inaction. It is only when Watson raises his hand slightly in an apologetic gestures that the absolute quiet is replaced by the active stillness of the club – a newspaper is rattled in disgruntlement, low conversation resumes on the other indistinct islands of gentleman, who are addressing gentlemanly affairs in a more acceptable fashion.
He would mirror Druitt's amusement at Watson's momentary outburst, but the knowledge of the uncommonness of the outburst blunts the humor of the moment. Has this obsession with the Ripper case driven Watson to drive? Or to his more medicinal vices? Concerned, he dares a step closer to his 'friends', praying that Watson's excitement will cloud his acute awareness just this once.
It appears to work – there is no glance or flicker of interest by Watson in his direction. Instead, Watson nods his agreement with Druitt. "Yes," he repeats, somberly. "Like the Ripper."
"Aberline hunted that fox once before. Are you saying--?"
"No, Mansfield isn't the Ripper. Absurd. He was on stage for at least two of the killings and however brilliant an actor Mansfield might be, he cannot occupy the Lyceum stage and the streets of White Chapel simultaneously." The idea is dismissed with a wave. "But that's not to say that Aberline didn't miss . . . something."
There's an edge to Druitt, a bow-string tautness as he leans forward. He touches the arm of Watson's chair, moving closer as he whispers, "How so?"
"Mansfield's performance provides the explanation – we're not looking for a Mr. Hyde, we're looking for a Jekyll. A Jekyll who may outwardly appear as normal as you or I, a man who might – right now – be in this club." Watson taps the hand Druitt has placed on the arm of the chair several times to accentuate the point – Druitt stares down at his hand as if Watson has stabbed him with a lit cigar. "We're looking for a someone who changes, a transformation from normal into abnormal. The Ripper is undoubtedly one of us."
Druitt has gone pale. He withdraws his hand from the chair and holds it to his chest, as if it has been wounded. "One of us." Druitt continues to stare at Watson and lifts the glass of brandy to his lips – a slight muscle tremor in his hand sends a droplet down the side of his face. Druitt places the glass on the table, his hand holding it there as if the world might slip sideways into the looking glass and gravity no longer be the law of the land.
And then, as the back of Druitt's hand swipes the droplet from the edge of his mouth, he straightens in his chair. Druitt is in full command of himself again. "Tesla?" he asks, with just the correct amount of disbelief and possibility.
It was subtle – so subtle that one would have to be waiting for it to happen, as he has been. Watson appears unaware of the living example of his theory coming forth beneath his gaze, dismissing the diversion with a shake of the head. "If Tesla had been back to his old habits, there'd be no blood in the bodies or at the crime scenes. And he swore to all of us – he swore to Helen – that was an aberration. It's under control. Not Tesla. Not one of The Five . . . an abnormal."
The moment has passed. He's disappointed, but can say nothing. He gave his word.
In front of God. In the chapel. He gave his word.
Even if he cannot be seen, he can still be heard. And his word – that last, solid bit of him, that last honest piece of his humanity – cannot be betrayed. Or he would fall into absolute madness.
Watson picks up his glass from the table, again staring into the empty depths as if he could scry an answer from the reflection of the gaslight. "Consider how many abnormals that we know of who can lead normal lives. There could be hundreds, perhaps thousands of abnormals on the streets of London every day. There are so many variations – it's impossible to calculate the permutations."
"Even for you?" Druitt is at ease again, lounging back against the chair. The bow has been unstrung, the danger of discovery having dissipated. "Surely Gregory could assist you?"
"Not in this case." Watson looks up from his glass. "But can you imagine such a thing – a man goes about his life and then one day . . . becomes something else entirely."
"I can more than imagine."
"Not like us. We knew that what we were doing was dangerous. But to be an ordinary man who is suddenly, with or without his will, transformed into a demon and then back into a man again . . . ." Watson sets his glass on the table between them. "Having seen Mansfield's transformation on stage – madness may be part of it. The evil of it is not to be denied, but how can a man live knowing that he has, in another guise, committed such horrors and still remain sane? How can his face his family, his friends, his colleagues knowing what he has done and may do so again?"
Druitt stills, not with the nervous panic of revelation or the predatory aspects he had shown earlier, but stares at him – through him – past him – into the space beyond him. He is almost certain that Druitt is not looking at him, but is looking at his own future. However, the man's gaze is so intense its purpose little matters . . . it still unnerves him.
Watson, too, is contemplative, leaning back into the glorious comfort of the club's chair and staring upward. "It would not surprise me if we never apprehend the Ripper. I suspect that if he has the smallest part of a soul left, he would end his own life. Nothing flamboyant – that would draw attention to him and his crimes; his memory and his family would be disgraced. An accident. Or he'll be fished out of the Thames with rocks in his pockets, like any other nameless, benighted drowned soul. He'll disappear into obscurity. If I were the Ripper, that's what I'd hope for."
Druitt's gaze has frozen into place. He does not know what Druitt sees. He does not want to know what Druitt sees.
It is beyond his capacity to remain still any longer. His muscles are screaming, shrieking at him, they are invisible but do not have the dead, unfeeling inertia of polished marble. He has to move. He shifts . . . and sees the expression on Druitt's face change; an eyebrow rises ever so slightly . . . .
"Look!" says Watson, his hand pointing upward, at the ceiling.
Freed from Druitt's attention, it's enough of a distraction for him to move a foot to the left, beyond a chair. Only then does he feel free to discover what Watson has indicated.
There is a letter carved into the ceiling patterns, at the joints and cornices, wherever wood appears overhead – the letter 'R'.
"Even the Reform Club taunts me," sighs Watson, although he grins as he glances over at Druitt. "Now I shall have to solve the Ripper murders, or the R emblazoned in every damn room of this club is going to haunt me to my grave."
"You're too hard on yourself." Druitt taps his friend's shoulder with what appears to be a consoling gesture. As he rises from his chair, his eyes rest upon the spot he had studied a moment before. He smiles, and then takes Watson's hand in his own. "I'm sorry to leave you at such an early hour, but I've an appointment."
"An affair de Coeur."
"Oh." Watson's face betrays no expression – he suspects it's because the man has no understanding of such things. "Well, thank you for your help. And for not laughing aloud at my latest theory."
"I would never laugh aloud about one of your theories." Druitt releases Watson's hand and steps back. "Although I hope that our friendship is secure enough to survive an occasionally internal chuckle?"
Watson smiles wanly - a gesture of self-deprecation, as he stands and watches Druitt leave. Only then does he seat himself in his chair again. Picking up Druitt's glass before the near-invisible can snatch it from him, he whispers, "Griffen?"
For a fleeting instant, he contemplates running for the door. No one would see him – no one could stop him.
But he still has some pride left. Of the cowardly man who had injected himself with the ancient vampire blood, nothing remains to be seen. Perhaps his cowardice has disappeared as well? And what should fill the absence of cowardice, but bravery?
He walks toward Watson's chair and stands behind it, out of the paths taken by the near-invisibles, and places his hand on Watson's shoulder. "Here," he whispers.
Watson moves as if touch his own shoulder and touches Griffen's hand instead, locating him. "How are you, my friend?"
It feels odd to have human flesh touch his skin. "You knew I was here." A statement – not an accusation. But in whispers, there is not so much differentiation. He wonders if he still understands his own intent in speaking.
"I . . . suspected. How long were you . . .? I know Druitt treats – has treated – you abominably."
It is awkward to hear the erudite James Watson reduced to half statements – his mind running so rapidly from one thing to another that a single thought cannot finish before another overtakes it. But he understands the sense of it. The former is almost an apology made for the comment made about him that he might have overheard tonight, the latter a near-apology for Watson not having defended him from Tesla and Druitt when they taunted him back at Oxford. The latter has been attempted many times since their degrees were bestowed.
He does not remind Watson that he still does nothing about them.
"It doesn't matter."
Watson's fingers press down upon his again, a light touch of acceptance and change of subject without any real understanding. "Tesla?"
"Is in New York. I've confirmed it. He's not your killer."
"Not the latest one, no," agrees Watson. Releasing Griffen's hand, Watson raises his fist to his lips to hide their movement from the other members of the club – they both know he has a substantial reputation for eccentricity that does not need to be embellished with club tales. "And Helen?"
"Did not go with him. She's still in London."
He has no desire to recount the conversation and Watson, thankfully, doesn't ask. There's an awkward pause before he asks, "The money?"
"I left a letter of credit at the bank."
" Good-bye, then."
As he lifts his hand from Watson's shoulder, Watson covers it again with his fingers – catching it to ask him to stay in place. If there had been any force to the movement, he would have bolted. As it is, he stays.
"Where will you go?"
He chuckles in spite of himself and a passing invisible looks around blankly at the sound that seems to have no source. "I have nothing to hold me here. Unlike you or Druitt, I have no land or family. Tesla can rule the world for all I care. I have done the greatest thing I will ever do. Now, if God grants me his grace, I'll find a life far away from here, far away from you all. And I shall never see any of you again."
"If you need funds—"
"I won't. And I wouldn't ask. You've paid for the services I've rendered."
"I should never have asked such things of you. Theft. Spying on . . . she's in love with Druitt, isn't she?"
He takes a breath, enough of one for it to be audible to Watson. For the sake of Watson's will to protect him if not the effort to back it up, for Watson's guilt of paying him to become a sneak thief and spy if not the ability to stop asking, he answers. "Yes."
Watson's hand falls away from his. "I thought so," he whispers. "But with women it's so hard to tell these things . . . . "
It's as much of a dismissal as he's likely to get – he's only ever gained Watson's notice when Watson needed something from him. Why should now be any different?
He makes his way through the club and waits just inside the door. It's not long before a club member enters, the door held open wide for him by the porter. Griffen slips out into the weather, again glad that he's trained himself to make his clothing invisible. The rain pours around him. He'd have been sick and miserable for a week if he'd gone out into this sort of weather right after his gained his abilities. Watson was the one who pushed him toward learning that – there's something to his credit. And Helen. But that was always Helen's way, wanting to help, no matter what the cost, no matter how much her help was unwanted . . . .
He's slammed into a wall as enters an alley. Looking down, he sees the outline of his own hand in a pattern against the wall – the lack of raindrops has betrayed him. He still hasn't conquered that. Meant to, but never got around to it.
Druitt's body holds him against the wall, one hand against his head and pressing the side of his face into the sooty brick. It's an awkward hold because Druitt can't see him, but Druitt uses his height to advantage. Griffen knows he's overmatched. He's been here before.
Then again, that had been prior to Druitt becoming the White Chapel murderer.
"I think I've caught a spy," says Druitt, pressing hard against him.
He forces himself to go limp. In the past, if he didn't resist they'd lose interest and wander away to torment someone else or each other. He hopes that rule still holds true. "What do you want, Druitt?"
As he speaks, Griffen reappears. He no longer uses his party piece – reappearing in layers of bones, organs, and skin, but comes to himself fully. He flexes his fingers against the wall and watches the raindrops slide down them. He always forgets how transparent the water is and finds himself fascinated by the way each raindrop magnifies his skin.
"You've learned some new tricks." Druitt releases him and takes a step backward.
"I want nothing more than to impress you. And stay out of your way."
Druitt steps close to him again, staring down his nose. "Then why are you interfering in my affairs?"
He hesitates, but the look in Druitt's eyes makes him reject the lies. "I wasn't. I was reporting to Watson."
"Really?" Druitt's smile doesn't fill him with anything but dread. "About me?"
"About Tesla. He's headed for New York. He asked Helen to go with him."
"He did . . . what?"
Griffen draws in a breath as Druitt picks him up by the shoulders of his coat and pins his face against the wall. "It's true. I swear! Tesla asked Helen to go with him to New York. She turned him down. She's still in London."
"That . . . bastard!"
More words follow, but Griffen no longer cares, as Druitt has released him. He drops down to the ground and rises quickly, as concerned about the filth he'd just fallen into as what Druitt might do to him.
Druitt, however, turns away, his anger exploding in a loud, animalistic cry.
He does the only thing he can – Griffen turns invisible and starts running. He keeps to the shadows and out of the rain as much as possible, knowing that Druitt can't use his powers to follow him if he can't see him. He doesn't stop running until a stitch in his side brings him to a halt at St. Albans.
There's no sign of pursuit, but Druitt's cry still rings in his ears. He knows someone will die tonight. He'll be damned if it's him.
He has to leave, sooner than expected. He can't touch the bank draft until tomorrow; he'll need a place to stay the night.
His pace toward St James is more sedate and infinitely more careful – every shadow seems to hide Druitt's mocking smile. The church clock tower ahead of him tolls the hour of eleven – his steps quicken as he slips between the street lamps and holds tight to the darkness.
There are no gaslights along the alley at the rear of the church. As invisible as he may be in daylight, he feels one with the night. There are moments when he wonders . . . if he stops trying to think and forgets everything, will he disintegrate entirely and disappear? Tonight, he's tempted.
She's standing in a hooded cloak at their meeting place, the alcove formed by the rear door. Even in the darkness, he can spot the wisps of blonde hair peeking out from under the hood. Helen turns one way, then another, searching the night around her. He knows her thoughts, they would be his own – he's late, so stay or go?
He concentrates and makes himself visible again while he's still a hundred feet away so as not to startle her – it's only polite, after all. She sees him, smiles . . . and he wonders what any of the others would have given for that smile.
Griffen doesn't smile in return. He knows what he has to tell her. "I've been to the Reform club."
The slightly raised eyebrow she gives him reminds him of Druitt – he can't suppress a shudder.
"Are you cold?" she asks, reaching out from beneath her cloak to run her hand down his sleeve, as if to warm him.
The gesture touches something inside him that begs for kindness. And makes it even harder to tell her what she doesn't want to hear. "I went to see Watson. Druitt was at the club. I waited for him to leave."
There are no words from her. She waits, eyes wide, but open to all possibility.
"I told Watson that Tesla had left for New York and that you hadn't gone with him."
She nods. Her lips open slightly, as if she's going to ask a question, but they close again just as quickly. Any other woman would have asked what Watson's response was, but not Helen Magnus. She knows James Watson. She knows what he has said. And she shows no reaction to that response.
"There's more." When she nods, he adds, "Druitt cornered me outside the club. I told him about Tesla."
A slight hiss escapes from between her teeth. She looks down and away from him – she doesn't need to ask this question, either. She knows John Druitt also, if not the monster he has become.
"I ran." He almost giggles, as the tension starts to release him. "I ran from him."
She meets his eyes in a stern stare and for a moment he wonders if he's going to be subject to a lecture . . . but then she softens and squeezes his forearm, holds onto him.
"Nigel – you're safe now. John can't hurt you."
"No – not safe. Not yet. Not until I can leave here." He takes a deep breath, but it doesn't help – his will is shattering like an eggshell. "Watson doesn't know Druitt is the Ripper. Tesla doesn't know Druitt is the Ripper. You know and I know. Druitt doesn't know we know. If he knew I know, I'd be dead. And you . . . ." He stands there, stares into her eyes and wonders how she cannot comprehend the danger she is in. "Dear God, Helen, I'm the only one of the Five not desperately in love with you and even I'm terrified about what he could do to you. Call Tesla back, tell Watson . . . save yourself."
"Let's start with saving you first, shall we?" She smiles and leans her head forward, so that her forehead touches his. "Leave the rest of it to me."
His cowardice has returned with his visibility. She draws him under the protection of the stone archway, pulls him in from the rain, and he lets her. Standing closer to her, he feels stronger. He wonders if that's part of what the vampire blood did for her.
"You have funds?"
"A bank draft from Watson."
"I'll help you change that to currency. We should be able to buy you enough time for you to get away before he can figure out where you've gone."
Guilt plucks at him as he remembers Watson's latest attempt at an apology. "Watson won't try to find me."
"Not tomorrow, perhaps, but eventually. He won't be able to stop himself from taking advantage of your abilities, should he need them. He likes to think he's the spider at the center of the web."
"And he has no idea that you're the one with the whole web wound round her finger."
She grins at the compliment – they both know it's true. "Can you manage a team of horses and a cart?"
"The best plan is to hide you in plain sight. I suspect even Watson won't look for an invisible man who's visible."
"Nor Druitt. And with Tesla on his way to America, I can go to—"
She touches her fingers to his lips. "Don't tell me. Tomorrow, we'll get you the cart and some boxes – you'll leave town with everyone else who's sold their market goods. Go where ever you need to go, wherever you feel safe. Contact me if you need help – I'll make sure I can always be found."
There's a flicker of light down the alley, past the shadows. He shivers, waits for reality to tear asunder with a flash of blackening light, waits for Druitt to step into the alley, waits for Druitt to kill him.
"It's only the gas lamp flickering. The rain's stopped." Helen's hold on his arm keeps his knees from buckling; the calm in her voice soothes his shattered nerves. "Have you somewhere safe to spend the night, someplace Druitt might not think to look for you?"
"Other than here?" He glances at the church. "I think they'd be hard-pressed to offer me effective sanctuary against Druitt."
"Then let me offer it to you. There's a warehouse near the docks – my father's used it before for equipment. The caretaker likes me. Druitt doesn't know it exists." She watches his eyes, knows what she's asking. "Can you trust me?"
She has never offered him anything but kindness. Druitt and Tesla kept their games hidden from her, knowing she would have put a stop to the torment and would have thought the less of them for it. It occurs to him only now that he could have told her. At any time, he could have told her . . . and it would have stopped. He's not entirely certain why he didn't.
But, he stares into her eyes and sees her for her true self – the spider at the center of the web. She'd ensnared Druitt and Tesla and Watson, but never him. He'd never asked anything of her, never owed her anything.
"Yes," Griffen says. "I'll trust you."
Helen's nod is quick, sharp, short . . . there's never really been any other answer. She smiles as she places her arm over his, a socially acceptable strolling position for two dear friends. "You haven't eaten," she announces, without bothering to consult him, "but there's a public house nearby – I can fetch you something there. I'm afraid the warehouse lacks linen and a bedstead, but at least it's dry. And secure."
"You do realize this is the end of us, the end of The Five." She slows her pace to match his - he makes an effort to move faster. "There will be no return from this. When Watson finds out about Druitt—"
"He will." He meets her gaze, holds it, and stops her at the street corner beneath a gas lamp. "I've sworn to you that I won't say a word to Watson. You won't tell him. Tesla doesn't know and doesn't care – we're all too far beneath his notice. But Watson will find out, eventually. When he does, he will not forgive."
"Perhaps." The edges of her lips curl slightly. "Not now, but in time."
"He'll forgive you – that's not to be questioned. But he won't forgive Druitt."
She presses him to move onward and they cross the street, without acknowledging his assessment.
"It's done, Helen." Griffen tries again, taking her silence for denial. She'll kill herself trying to rebuild what they had – The Five. That's his payment for her kindness. Make her aware. Make her see reason. "It can never be as it was. It's done."
"No – not done," she says. "There's still a chance John can be saved."
Her tone is unconvincing, at best. He knows she will try . . . and fail. Perhaps Druitt won't kill her, but she will fail. "And then what?"
"I've been thinking—"
The words chill his blood. He heard them first at Oxford, when rumors of the existence of the ancient vampire blood first reached them. It had been Helen's plan. Helen's idea. Helen that had led them all to their separate and oddly interwoven hells. Helen who had both offered and denied salvation to each of them in the form of a vial and a needle and a saucy, daring grin.
"I have been thinking," she repeats. "Studying abnormals isn't enough. In seeking them out, we make them vulnerable, subject to harm. We must protect them, care for them, offer them . . . ."
Her gaze, which had wandered the rain-soaked street ahead of them as if chasing ghostly images of her thoughts made real, turns back to him. She smiles, nods, "Yes. A sanctuary. I like the sound of that."
He plods beside her, no longer hearing her words. Now he knows his safety lies elsewhere. The breaking of The Five has set him free from Druitt and Tesla and Watson . . . and Helen. He will go as far away as quickly as he can. He will do what he knows how to do best – he will disappear.
And he will avoid, at all costs, Helen Magness and her sanctuary.