Terry Holloway was walking down the footpath, the streets lit only by the dim, yellow streetlights. It was a dark, rainy night in the London suburbs and Terry was keen to get back to his flat after a tiring day at work.
As he turned the corner, he caught sight of two tall figures in the corner of his eye. The hairs on the back of his neck standing up, and a cold feeling washing over him, he turned around.
Two large men were blocking the entrance to the alleyway, into which he had just stepped. Both were wearing dark suits. One was about his age, in his early twenties, and the other was clearly older, judging by his long, greying hair.
"Are you guys following me, or something?" Terry asked, trying to keep the fear out of his voice. Terry was of fairly average height, and the two strangers were towering over him — he couldn't help but feel intimidated.
The grey-haired man smirked, a look that made him seem even more intimidating. "We were. We want to talk to you."
Terry cocked his head to the left. "And to whom am I speaking?"
"McCreany," the grey-haired man said. "And this is Lanley."
Terry looked between the two men, internally debating whether to run. His instincts were yelling for him to do so, yet his cold, logical side was telling him the two would be able to catch up with him if he did. Best to play along for now, he thought.
"Most muggers don't give out their names," Terry said evenly.
McCreany laughed. "We aren't here to mug you. We know you have nothing of value, anyway. We are here to make an offer."
"We are werewolves too, Holloway," Lanley said, smiling with yellow, pointed teeth. "We know what it's like to have the government control us, take everything from us..."
Terry felt his stomach drop. Never before had other werewolves approached him... how on Earth had they found him?
"We know a lot about you, Holloway," Lanley said, as though sensing Terry's thoughts, "we know how you can barely afford rent, how you have to depend on your friend to feed yourself."
Terry cast a glance around him before asking, "I assume you haven't been watching me, spying on me, just to find another werewolf to mope about with."
McCreany let out a loud laugh. "You're smart, Holloway. We need smart people in our cause."
"We're more powerful than they are, Holloway, than humans are. They've denied us a place in their society, so we'll take their precious society from them."
Terry nodded slowly. "I see." He had, of course, heard of these sorts...werewolves tired of being deprived, and taking extreme measures to try and make a normal life for themselves.
Lanley moved closer, "You will never have to live as a second class citizen, again. We can change all of this. All we want is your cooperation — your loyalty."
Terry frowned. "I'm sorry to say, lads, that you've rather got me all wrong. You see, I happen to consider myself human — at least every day other than the full moon."
Lanley scowled, but it was McCreany's change in expression that secretly terrified Terry. His face contorted to a look of utter disgust. "You abandon your fellows? You choose to play the human's game?"
Terry nodded. "If that's how you wish to phrase it, yes."
"Then you really leave us with no other option."
Helen Miller sat in her flat, basking in the quiet calm after a day running around trying to get interviews and information for an article she was writing. She was sitting in the living room, curled up on the sofa, clutching a book, while she waited for Terry, her roommate, to arrive home.
Terry was, of course, much more than a roommate to her. She had known him since they were both fifteen. She shook her head, after checking the time on her watch for the umpteenth time that night. He was running late... but he sometimes did. Terry had a tendency to take the scenic route home.
Helen set her book down and stood up to look out the window that overlooked the cul-de-sac outside, lit only by the lights bordering the house's path.
She was on the verge of calling Terry's mobile, when the landline phone rang, making her jump. Recovering herself, she hurried out to the hall and picked up the receiver. "Hello."
"Miss Helen Miller?" a professional-sounding woman asked over the phone.
"Yes. Who's this?"
"It's about Terry Holloway. He's asked to see you."
Helen's mind instantly started jumping to the worst possible conclusions. "What do you mean?"
"He's resting in one of our wards, in the Royal London Hospital. He was assaulted and has requested you come see him. He's stable, don't worry," she added, correctly interpreting Helen's silence. "He's a bit rough, but he's sitting up and talking."
Helen wasted no time in gathering her car keys and driving off to the hospital. She broke every speed limit but didn't care: at the moment she didn't even care if she lost her license or got stopped — she just needed to see Terry was all right for herself.
When she arrived, flustered and a little dazed, a nurse walked her to a ward and pointed out Terry. Just as the woman on the phone had said, he was sitting up.
Terry was wearing striped hospital pyjamas and flicking through a car magazine. Although his brown hair was usually untidy, it now looked as though he had been caught in a hurricane and was matted in blood.
"Terry, oh thank heavens," Helen said once she had approached his bed.
Terry lowered the magazine and smiled at her, revealing a missing front tooth. That was hardly the only damage, she thought, noting a black left eye. "Are you okay?" Helen asked, taking a seat and pulling it closer. "What happened?"
"I'm fine," Terry said, which Helen thought was a pointless lie to be telling in his current position. "Or at least I am for now."
Helen's eyebrows contracted. "What do you mean 'for now'? Terry...what's going on?"
Terry gestured for her to come closer and whispered, in a barely audible voice, "It was werewolves that attacked me, Helen."
Helen eyes widened. "Werewolves?"
"Ssh!" Terry said, looking around wildly.
"Sorry! It's just...how did...how did they know you're—?"
Terry shrugged, but it must have hurt because he winced and gripped his shoulder. "I don't know," he eventually continued, "but they knew my name, they knew I lived with you, they knew...they knew I depended on you..."
Helen frowned. "Terry—"
"Helen, please, you know it's true. It's not the point, though. They have been watching us."
"But...but how could they possibly have found out? I mean...how did they know to spy on you in the first place?"
"I don't know. They wanted me to join some sort of...some sort of werewolf rebel group. When I declined, they started on me. If a copper hadn't been passing... well, I wouldn't be sitting here, that's for sure."
Helen shivered involuntarily. "We're going to have to move out."
Terry nodded, his eyes now not meeting Helen's. "I'm so sorry. After all you've done for me, this is what I bring upon us."
"Don't be thick, Terry. I just wish I wasn't there to show them what happens to anybody who messes with my roommate."
He smirked at that remark.
Terry left hospital a day after he was admitted, completely against the advice of the staff. Terry's physical wounds would heal themselves; Helen was more worried about the mental toll. They had decided to move out of their London flat immediately. As they packed (Helen had tried to convince Terry to let her do the packing, but he had refused to sit down and take it easy), Terry would jump every time Helen accidently brushed against him or dropped anything.
Still, time and friendship could heal any wounds, Helen believed.
As they loaded the boxes containing their possessions into Helen's car, which really wasn't made to transport so much luggage, Helen looked at the house they had called home for three years wistfully.
"I'm going to miss this place," she said. Her thoughts turned to their landlord, Mr Stephens. "Mr Stephens was so cut up when I told him we were leaving, too."
"I can't blame him," Terry said. "To him, it must have looked like we just got tired of being his clients. We gave him absolutely no notice...or reason for leaving"
"I'm going to miss him. Still," she said, "we can keep in contact. Is that everything?"
Terry nodded. "I don't think the car would hold anything more, anyway."
They decided not to hang about longer than they needed to, and so, after saying a quick 'goodbye' to Mr Stephens, they drove off and were soon on the M1, heading away from London.
Roger stood back to admire how clear his reflection was in his glistening car. His Corsa may be old, may barely work, but it was looking its best. He had just washed, dried and polished her and now was the time to admire his hard work.
As he emptied the bucket of warm, soapy water down the drain and went to stow his cleaning things away, he noticed a red-haired, tall woman walking up his driveway.
"Hello," he said, setting the sponge and hose spool down and walking over to greet the woman. "Can I help you?"
The woman nodded. "Helen Miller. I saw your advert. About the two rooms? You are Roger Fitzpatrick, I assume?"
That explained it. Roger had put an advert on a property website, advertising two of the rooms in his house to potential renters. He didn't particularly want others sharing his living space, but he was in no financial position to keep funding this house by himself.
"Yes. You're interested in renting one, I assume?"
"Both, actually. I have a friend that will be moving in, too."
Roger nodded. "Is she with you?"
"He couldn't come. He's a bit under the weather, at the moment." This was completely true: yesterday had been the full moon and Terry was still laid up, recovering from a tiring night.
"Okay, well, you might as well come and see if the rooms are suitable for you."
Helen followed Roger into the modest-sized house. She couldn't help but wonder how a young man like Roger could afford such a nice house.
The house, from the outside, looked like a tidy detached house but once inside, it resembled more a pig sty, in Helen's opinion. Clothes and papers were scattered around the place, as though Roger had just threw them in the nearest empty patch of floor.
Roger led Helen up the stairs. "What's brought you down this direction, then?" Roger asked, trying to break the somewhat awkward silence. "Not many people need somewhere to stay down here." He knew this all too well, he had been looking for renters for months.
"We needed a change of location," Helen said. "City life lost its appeal."
Roger nodded and pushed open one of the doors on the landing. "One of the rooms."
Helen stepped in, her footsteps echoing off the wooden floor. The room was modest in size, but — unlike the rest of the house — tidy and presentable. It was decorated simply, with plain, wooden wardrobe, a chest of drawers and bed frame.
"The other rooms the same, except it has an en suite."
Helens looked out the small, dingy window on the far wall. Nodding and turning around, she said, "This seems to be just what we were looking for."
Roger and Terry got on surprisingly well. Roger had never sought company when he put up the advertisement for his flat, only money to maintain the independence that his house gave him. Terry, however, was just the sort of person he could have around: friendly and down-to-earth.
Helen, on the other hand...Helen preferred to keep to herself when Terry wasn't around. She spoke to Roger only when it was necessary to do so or when it would be impolite not to.
"So, are you two...you know...together?" Roger asked as the three of them sat at his dingy dining room table, eating a meal that Terry had whipped up. Terry wasn't just good company, he was a fantastic cook.
Terry grinned wryly, Helen more-or-less just ignored him. "Not romantically, no," Terry said. "We've been friends since school, though."
"Ah right." Silence, except for the sound of munching, ensued.
"If you don't mind me asking," Helen said. "How is that you have a house like this?"
Roger smirked. "Same way anybody has a house. I work, I pay the bills."
Helen raised an eyebrow but said nothing.
"It's a nice house," Terry offered.
Roger opened his mouth to reply but a sharp rap from the front door made the three jump. Roger frowned. "Who on Earth would be calling at this time?"
He got up to go answer the door. Helen noticed Terry looking alert and fidgety. "Relax," she said, "it's probably just his mum checking up on him or something."
When Roger reappeared in the kitchen, he was not alone — but it definitely wasn't his mother accompanying him. A man in a dark, sharp suit, with steel-grey hair stood next to him.
"I need to talk with Holloway," he said in a voice of authority. "Alone."
Casting a look at Helen as he did so, Terry rose from his seat. Roger showed them into a back study and the stranger closed the door once Roger had left.
"My name is Lawrence," the man said, surveying Terry with dislike. "Your new Monitor."
Terry looked at him bemusedly. "What?"
"When you change residence, move house, you may — depending on how far you travel — be reassigned a new Monitor, as detailed in the Dangerous Creatures Act 1894. Now, I just need to address a few things."
Lawrence indicated for Terry to sit, which he did, at a swivelling computer chair. Lawrence decided to remain standing.
"As you know, under the Dangerous Creatures Act 1894 and Werewolf Provisions Act 1948, any job application you make must be first vetted by your Monitor, that's me. Your monthly earnings are also to be reported to me, so that I can ensure your Werewolf Tax is deducted."
"I know," Terry said, trying to keep his tone even. "I've been doing all that since I left school."
Lawrence looked vaguely irritated. "The rules are the same, Holloway, but I will be tightly enforcing them. You slip up, for any reason, and I'll be on your case. You know the power I hold over you."
"Yes, I know."
Lawrence surveyed Terry carefully before straightening up. "Well, good afternoon, Holloway."
Lawrence opened the door and slipped out without a backwards glance. Terry ran a hand through his untidy hair.
He had known the regulations, lived with them for all of his adult life. Lawrence's visit had, however, brought it all back to the surface. He didn't want anything to do with the rebellious werewolves that resorted to terrorism, but he could understand why people would be sucked into their ranks at this moment.
Sighing, he stood up and headed back to the kitchen.
Terry tapped his fingers noisily on the plastic table in front of him, which rumbled and vibrated from the movement of the train. He was travelling to Bristol, going for a job interview.
It was an office job, completely boring in Terry's eyes, and most of his wage would be confiscated by the state but any sum he could pay towards his living costs, to lift some of the burden off of Helen's shoulders, he'd gladly work for.
"If you're bored, mister," said a grey-haired lady in front of him, "read that newspaper." She inclined her head towards a folded up paper and went back to typing furiously on her small laptop.
A tall man took a seat next to the woman as Terry pulled the paper over and flipped it open. After scanning the front cover, his insides froze.
SEVENTEEN BRUTAL MURDERS THOUGHT TO BE CONNECTED, SAY POLICEby Jeremy Hawkton
The City of London has been shaken by the savage murders of seventeen different people. The victims were found dead and mutilated in their London homes.
The attacks are spread out in a five mile radius but police believe that the manner of the attacks indicate that there may be a connection.
"All victims were mutilated in a similar fashion," Detective Chief Inspector Martin O'Hanlon confirmed. "We are unable to find a motive. As far as we can tell, the victims were completely unrelated to each other."
The police have asked anybody with information to come forward. (See page 6 for more information and contact details)
Terry set the paper down with shaking hands. He had a very good idea who had carried out those attacks... or rather, what.
"Yes," said the man who had just sat down opposite Terry. He was a tall, bald, black man in a business suit, and he was surveying Terry with a knowing look in his eyes. "Terrible, isn't it? It's like the attack of a crazed animal..."
Something about the way the man said this made Terry uneasy, and he decided to get off the train at the next stop.
The train, mercifully, stopped soon enough and Terry made his way through the throng of disembarking passengers and sat on a green bench on the platform. He took out his mobile phone and called Helen.
As it was ringing, Terry became aware of somebody standing in front of him. He looked up: it was the man in the business suit.
"Running away, Terry?"
If he hadn't been before, Terry was definitely uneasy now. "W-who are you? Should I know you?"
The man shook his head and took a seat on the bench next to him. "No, but I know you...and what you are." He leaned in closer and whispered one word, "Werewolf."
Terry jumped and edged away from the man. "What do you want? How do you...how do you know?"
The man smiled. "Take it easy, Terry. I'm not a member of The Uprising."
"The Uprising? What...?"
"The group that attacked you in London. The group of werewolves intent on overthrowing the government."
Terry wasn't sure whether to believe him, or what to think. Thankfully the man seemed to not need a response.
"You can call me Felix. I want to help you, help your kind. I've been watching you, following you, for months. So, too, has the Uprising. I needed to make sure that you weren't with them before I approached you."
"Who are you with then?"
Felix, still smiling, watched as the train he and Terry had got off pulled out of the station. "I'm the leader of the Ancient Order of Warlocks. We want werewolves to be given the same rights and civil liberties as other human beings. We've been campaigning for it for many centuries now, in fact."
Terry narrowed his eyes. "The Uprising would probably say the same thing."
Felix laughed. "I'm glad you aren't to be easily won over. You're right, of course. But their group is about power. They intend to overthrow the government, but they aren't really interested in werewolf rights. They seek to use werewolves as a tool for power."
"And why should I see your group as being any different?"
Felix adjusted his tie. "Words prove nothing, Terry. So I won't waste your time using them. Come and see for yourself." He took a small card from the inside of his blazer and handed it to Terry. "We meet every Wednesday, seven PM. Be there, Terry, and if you aren't interested after the meeting — there's no commitment, you can pretend you never met me."
"You've got to be joking!"
"No, Terry. Just because this guy seemed trustworthy...for all you know, it's just the nicer political wing of...of those idiots that attacked you!"
Terry took a calming breath. "Look, this guy was perfectly rational and reasonable—"
Helen laughed. "I imagine that's what many Germans said about Mr Hitler when he ran for Presidency!"
"I'm not stupid, Helen. But you have to admit...Felix—"
"Assuming that's his real name..."
"—has some pretty good things to say."
Helen stood and raised her hands above her head. "Terry, for heaven's sake...it's not the message, it's what these people get up to. Just because you've been dealt a bad hand doesn't mean you can just take up arms and do what you like!"
"I never said it did. I just want to go and check this group out, all right? If it smells even remotely dodgy...I'm out of there!"
Helen let out a breath in frustration. "Well, I'm coming, too. You aren't going to some mysterious meeting by yourself. Heaven knows how you ended up last time you met up with a bunch of werewolves by yourself..."
Helen pulled up her car handbrake. They were parked in a dingy, unlit car park just outside the address given on the small card Felix had given Terry. Helen's car headlights were the only things providing any light in the car park.
"Is this the place?" Helen said sceptically. "Because I don't feel particularly safe getting out of the car here, let alone meeting a pack of werewolves."
Terry smirked. "Well," he said, tapping the satnav, "this thing rarely leads us astray. Let's get out and have a look."
Helen shut the engine off and they both got out. Helen went to the boot to retrieve her torch...but it soon proved unnecessary.
A large yard light came out of nowhere, blinding Terry.
"Identify yourselves!" came a voice.
His vision starting to adjust to the intense light, Terry could see a tall man in a long, black overcoat. "Terry Holloway," he yelled. "We're here about...about the meeting..."
The man approached them slowly. Terry was relieved to see a warm smile on the man's face. "Mr Holloway. And who might this be?" he gestured to Helen, who had abandoned the search for a torch.
"My friend, Helen."
"Is she one of us, too? Felix hadn't mentioned..."
"No," Terry said. "But she...sympathises."
The man smiled and shook Helen's hand. "It is a pleasure, then. The name's Stephen, come inside — it's a cold night."
Stephen led them up towards the light that was mounted on an industrial-style building. He pushed open a metal door and allowed them to go on ahead. Helen and Terry walked down a set of stairs.
The building may have looked industrial on the outside, but inside it was warm, softly lit and decorated comfortably. At the bottom of the stairs they found themselves in a large, spacious...living room of sorts. Two large, brick fireplaces held roaring fires and around them were several large, comfortable-looking leather sofas.
There were about a half dozen or so people occupying the sofas, and upon their entry some started to look up from their conversations and look at the new entrants curiously.
"Who's this, then?"
"Find them outside, did you, Stephen? Are they...?"
Stephen smiled and placed one hand on Helen's shoulder and his other on Terry's. "We have new members."
A moment's silence was interrupted by cheering and clapping. Terry felt himself flush and Helen found herself a little annoyed at the attention.
Terry spotted Felix rising from an armchair close beside one of the fireplaces. He was still wearing a three-piece business suit. A smile on his face, he approached Terry and Helen.
"I'm glad you came, Terry. And who might this be?"
"Helen Miller," Helen said, extending a hand. Felix shook it.
"Felix. I don't believe I know of you...and there are few lycanthropes I don't know of..."
"I'm not a werewolf," she explained. "I'm just Terry's friend."
"Then, you are most welcome. We aren't discriminatory here, so long as your heart is in the cause."
"Yes," Stephen said, with a smirk, "heck our leader, Felix here, is just a simple human."
"Yes," Felix said, "but the amount of time I spend with werewolves, I consider myself an honouree member of the species."
Terry laughed. Helen was still looking vaguely suspicious; Terry was just thankful that Felix either hadn't noticed or wasn't put off by it.
Felix led them over to various members of the group. They met a woman known simply as 'Merchant', who seemed very chatty; a man named Peter Gregory, who seemed to prefer to blow smoke from his cigarette in their faces than make small talk; Susan Bond, a woman that spoke with a thick Dublin accent; Henry Bluestone, a man that bored the both of them by talking about the fascinating hobby that was coin collecting; and finally, Felix's brother, Jinks.
"Do the two of you not have a surname?" asked Terry amusedly.
Jinks smirked. He looked very similar to his brother, except that he dressed casually in a pair of jeans and a polo shirt. "With Christian names like ours, you don't need another name."
"Right," said Felix, rubbing his hands together. "Let's get started."
Everybody seemed to understand this as a signal to turn to face Felix, some having to push the heavy sofas they were sitting in around to do so comfortably. Helen and Terry took a seat next to Jinks and listened intently.
"You have all, by now, met our new arrivals. One of them, young Terry, has had the displeasure of meeting our enemy all too closely."
"Poor bastard," muttered Gregory behind his smoke plumes.
"Now, they know of our cause. We need to put a stop to The Uprising before they force the government's hand into further discrimination against werewolves...or worse, get power and wreak havoc upon the whole country."
Gregory muttered something that sounded like, "Hear hear."
"Now, Terry and Helen, to help you decide whether or not you want to be part of our cause, we'll be assigning you onto a mission with Merchant and Gregory — nothing too demanding, but enough to give you a taste of what we are about."
"I have a question," Helen said. "And don't bother lying, I can always tell a liar..."
Felix smiled, as though she hadn't just been rude towards him. "Go ahead, Helen."
"You say we're here to fight The Uprising...but will that eventually evolve into fighting the government and civilians, too?"
Felix's smile didn't shift. "No. We fight The Uprising because we must show the world that werewolves don't support thugs like that — or, at least, most don't. We will pressure the government into reforms peacefully."
Helen muttered something under her breath.
Gregory seemed to hear it. "Damn right you'll see, girl. And when you see, you'll see why we do what we do."
Helen, to Terry's surprise, had no retort for this.
"Right," Felix said. "Terry, Helen, you're new to this...so you won't understand entirely how we work yet. Gregory will be your mission leader, so he will explain your mission.
Felix looked around at all of the faces around him, that calm smile still upon his face. "We are in a better position than ever before. Let's never give up hope."
Gregory was a large man, wearing a tweed jacket and trousers. He looked like the typical country estate sort, in Terry's opinion, but when he spoke, everybody listened.
Even Merchant, who usually never shut up, sat quietly as he spoke, drawing diagrams onto a whiteboard, explaining the plan of action.
Gregory was explaining that he, Merchant, Susan and Terry were about to break up an Uprising initiation of new recruits. They needed to ensure they didn't have too easy a time getting new people into their ranks.
"They aren't expecting a fight, and so I don't think we'll get too much resistance. If they thought we knew about the meeting, they wouldn't have picked a public place like a library," Gregory said in his rough voice, smoking a cigarette and blocking the white board behind a thick haze of smoke.
"Should we be making such a public attack, then?" Terry asked. "I mean, won't we get arrested or something?"
"We won't, because we'll do what we need to quickly and then get out of there in an instant."
Helen raised an eyebrow. "And how do you expect to do that?"
Gregory smirked. "You'll see. Just leave that to me."
And so, on a Sunday night, Terry and Helen found themselves with Gregory and Merchant, quietly making their way up to a large, dilapidated library.
"It's locked," Merchant said, after trying the door handle. "They must've locked it from the other side."
"Well, now what?" Helen said impatiently.
Gregory smirked and closed his eyes. A click came from the door and it swung open, seemingly of its own accord. Terry shook his head, sure he had missed something. "Er...what just happened?"
Merchant looked amused. "Oh, Peter, you really do like the dramatics a bit too much."
Gregory did a mock bow. "I'm one of the Warlocks left in the Order, Holloway. Now, wrench your jaw off the floor and let's get a move on."
They entered the library and Gregory gestured for the other three to follow him. For a large, beefy man, he moved with a surprising grace and without making any noise. He led them to the back of the library and up curved, cast-iron stairs to a small dingy backroom that was crammed tight full of crates and papers.
Gregory indicated a wooden door in front of them, from which voices were coming. The other three nodded and took the pre-planned positions: Terry to the left of the door, Helen to the right and Merchant and Gregory getting ready to storm forward.
Gregory waved his hand and thrust it forward. The door flew off its hinges and slammed into something hard on the other side.
After the dust had cleared, the view of seven people, six of which were wearing brown robes, came into view. It took a moment before they started yelling, some producing guns.
With another wave of his hand, Gregory disarmed the men who had produced guns and he and Merchant stormed in. Terry and Helen nodded at each other and both pushed into the room.
Merchant produced a silver revolver and The Uprising members soon realised that they had been overwhelmed the smaller attack force.
"Which one of you idiots was about to join these bastards?" Gregory asked, looking between the group.
A young woman with red hair held up a shaking hand.
"Well, then, you're coming with us." Gregory grabbed a hold of her and shoved her out into the backroom again.
"How'd you trick her, then?" Merchant asked, moving her aim between the men and women in front of her. "Promise her freedom under your new regime?"
"It's more than you can promise, I imagine," one of the men said in a cold voice."
"Yeah, well, we'll see."
Helen checked her watch. "We should leave, in case somebody heard..."
Merchant nodded and they backed out, Merchant, revolver still pointing between The Uprising members, walking out last.
They hurried down the metal stairs but ran into trouble before they could reach the doors. A gunshot echoed through the library and the Order members all fell to the ground.
"I guess we underestimated their aggression!" Merchant yelled over the sound of more shots.
"Can't you do something, Gregory?" Helen asked.
"I can't touch 'em if I can't see where they are!"
"I'll distract them, you three get ready to bolt! Gregory, get the doors," Merchant yelled.
Merchant stood and, aiming high, fired three shots from her revolver. Gregory used the distract to stand and open the doors from which they had entered the library.
Terry, Helen and Gregory bolted out. It was now raining outside and vision was somewhat limited.
"What's your great means of escape, then?" Helen yelled over the loud rainfall. "'Cause, I hate to break it to you, but someone is bound to have heard those gunshots!"
Gregory produced glass vials from within his tweed jacket and handed one to Terry and the other to Helen. "Drink," he said, "I'll wait for Merchant."
He then hurried off back into the library, calling for Merchant.
Helen and Terry glanced at each other. "Er-?"
"After you," Helen said, raising an eyebrow, looking at the vial in her hand suspiciously.
Terry popped the stopper and, not liking the look of the yellowy-green liquid inside, downed the whole thing in one.
After a moment, Helen asked, "Did it do anything?"
"I don't—" but before he could finish what he was saying, he suddenly found himself standing in the meeting house of the Order. Felix, who had been writing something on one of the blackboards along the walls, turned.
He smiled. "Let me guess: Gregory didn't tell you about the potion?"
Back at Headquarters, Helen and Terry were sitting by the fire, on one of the leather sofas, clutching cups of strong tea.
"What are you thinking?" Terry asked her. "You haven't said much since we got back."
Helen let out a breath. "That, perhaps, the Order has a pretty good thing going — even if it is all a bit mental."
Terry smiled. "I've spent my whole life running, Helen, running from what I am. It's about time we started trying to make a difference, to change things."
Helen took a sip of tea and then nodded slowly. "You're right. After all, idiots win when the clever people do nothing."