Olly was hurried into the small, cramped hiding place that was supposedly a basement of Glor’s small slum house. However, it felt more like a small, dank cupboard. To her left was her Grams, to her right was Grandda, and creepily enough, to her back and front, were simply what felt like slimy walls, sleek with some sort of sludge. Beneath her feet, Olly could feel the muddy floor, and she felt the hole would fast run out of the air, although truth be told, she could feel a breeze coming from somewhere above her head and knew that they wouldn’t technically suffocate to death while hiding here. Or at least, that’s what Olly was hoping for.
Above them, the thuds of several feet rung out like hollowed noise, and surprisingly, Olly felt herself hold her breath for fear they may be found out. She had no idea who they were hiding from or why, but if they had her Oldies terrified, then that certainly meant she wanted nothing to do with those people either.
They could hear Glor talking, rather loud. “So what brings you here this evening, Lieutenant Meyers? Certainly not one of my famous teas, now surely?”
Olly felt Grams squeeze her hand hard. She squeezed it back.
“You once worked with the Bainbridges’, did you not?” Lieutenant Meyers ignored Glor’s question, eyeing the cups that were waiting on the table to be filled.
“Yes, I used to work with them, when I was allowed to work, as you’d remember.” Glor laughed. “Now I’m just a crazy old bat who makes wonderful teas and shares it with others in exchange for company. But yes, to answer your question, Lieutenant Meyers, I once used to work alongside the Bainbridges’, as did you.”
Lieutenant Meyers considered Glor for a moment before he pulled a chair out and sat down. He neatly placed his leather gloves on the corner of the table, as if making himself quite at home. He turned each cups so that their handles were all parallel to the side of the table they were facing, and each handle pointed to the right side as if already predicting that the sipper will hold it with their right hand.
“Seems my guests are delayed this evening,” Glor sighed. He was here for longer than she’d hoped, so she picked up the whistling kettle from her fire-powered stove. “Perhaps has something to do with the Officers you’ve brought to my place. All this tea I made in anticipation will now go to waste. Shall I pour you a cup, perhaps?”
The Lieutenant nodded and watched Glor pour tea into the cup in front of him. Then she poured herself a cup as well.
“Might you have any biscuits?” Lieutenant Meyers asked. “I do love my tea with biscuits.”
Glor nodded. “I might see if I have any left in the pantry.” She started off towards the small pantry at the back of the kitchen, in plain sight of the officer. When she opened the door half expecting to see the three scurrying into the hold, she almost sighed in relief that the floor looked undisturbed.
“These days I barely get a chance to go outside, what with your many curfews against certain members of the population.” She found what she was looking for, an old tin that still had one or two cookies left which she’d made a month ago when a guest had traded a bag of flour for one of her teas. She took the tin back to the table.
“Next time you drop in unannounced and ruin my plans for the evening by scaring away the company I was expecting, might you be kind enough to bring me some flour?” She placed the meager cookies in front of the portly man, almost a whole head smaller than she was. “So what truly brings you here tonight?”
Lieutenant took a cookie in hand, looked it once over and dunked it into his tea before popping it into his mouth, and savoring the sweetness. “They weren’t lying when they said Glor’s teas are the best, this side of the veil. But of course, I’m not much of a tea person.” So he said as he took the second and last cookie and savored it also.
It took him a good minute or two before the tea was drained, and he squared his shoulders. “There have been numerous sightings it seems tonight of criminals on the run. Criminals who have not been seen in these parts for well over 15 years. You wouldn’t have happened to see them too, now would you?”
Glor shrugged and sipped her tea. “As I said, I had been busy making my teas and waiting for my guests. Didn’t have the time to look outside. Any idea who they were? So I can keep my eye out?”
Lieutenant smiled. “They were certain members of the Guards. You’d know them very well, Ms. Featherfield. It’s only natural for me to assume that they’d head to yours if they thought they were seen tonight.”
Glor shook her head. “And you think they are dumb enough to come to here when they’d know I’d be the first place you’d look? Come on, Mace? Really?”
“It’s Lieutenant Meyers, Glor. Don’t call me Mace anymore.”
“Why? Cause you’re ashamed that you once had been with me, the Forbidden? Because I’m not the prescribed bride type for a potential General of The Seekers?” Glor stood up suddenly and started clearing up her table. “I think you’d better leave now. You don’t want to be giving the wrong impressions to you colleagues. They may report you.”
Lieutenant got up slowly and approached Glor as she clanged and purposely banged the cups around, making a show of washing up. He stood so close she could feel the heat off his body. “If they are here…” Glor threw him such a look that he changed what he was about to say into, “If they come tonight, any night, please, Glor, send them away, anywhere. Just not here. Not with you. You know the dangers. You know what they do to traitors.”
Glor stood triumphantly. “I believe I’m detecting some concern there, Lieutenant Meyers. One would almost think you had a heart left.”
Mace Meyers turned around and grabbed the gloves off the table, casting a quick glance towards the closed pantry door. “Consider this your one and only warning, Ms. Featherfield. You could be in contempt of the Monarchy if ever found harboring fugitives.” He pulled on his gloves and saw himself to the door. “Goodnight to you, and may the fairies keep you,” with a whisper, he disappeared, and his last words lingered on in Glor’s mind. ‘May the fairies keep you.‘ Of course, that was it. That was what they needed tonight.
Glor rushed to the trap door in her pantry and beamed down at the three heads in the hold. “The fairies. We have to find the fairies, tonight. Mace has given me tonight to get you out of here, undetected. Why didn’t you just use a glamour on your face, you dumb, dumb, Bainbridge?!”
She burst out laughing. “Come on, let’s get you out of there and on your way to where you need to go.”
Grams was first one out, hoisting herself up and out of the hold with Glor’s hand to guide her. “So, you and Mace Meyers? When did that happen?”
Glor laughed. “Long story. And we’re out of time tonight.”
Glor threw her hand to Olly. “Grab it kid, and let’s get you to safety.” Olly was about to speak when she added, “Then we’ll talk.”
“And I can ask questions?”
“Certainly. I’m obliged to answer your questions.”