Yellowjakket sped east, darting through London Fields and continuing was through the small streets. She’d slowed enough to be seen, now it was time to move back North and West. She needed to meet the boys and guide them to the next conductor. He would guide them out to points north. She turned north, hiding in between buildings and away from the large main streets, sticking to feeders and cutting between buildings. She ran through Highbury Fields and turned Northwest, It took another half-hour to work her way up to Hampstead. Hampstead Heath is on the north side of London, still in the city proper actually.
This was the toughest portion of the trip. Pryor’s Field was a large area, and out here, while more remote, was out in the open. The fog thinned as she moved north so travel was much easier under near cloudless skies and a full moon. If they were spotted, there was no quick escape. The boys would be taken to Rochester, if they were lucky. If not, to Control, and then to god knew where. She was dead if they caught her.
It took ten minutes of searching quietly around the prior to find them. They’d huddled in the trees as she’d told them, going up to Joy pond to hide. One of the boys yelped when she seemed to step out of the shadows next to him. She stifled a tired giggle, then said quietly. “This is going to be the hard part. We need to traverse north, to Monken Hadley. I’ll be staying with you more on this leg of the trip. It will take a day, and we’ll find a place to hide at sunrise.”
The trip to Monken Hadley took two days, as the neighborhoods between there and Hampstead had active police patrols going day and night. One of the boys found out that there was an escaped felon loose in the area. Taking it slow and careful, the small party made it through without attracting attention. She finally ushered the tired and hungry students inside the building. The lights were left off, leaing Yellowjakket and the fugitives in the dim light.
The place had a surreal look. The building was one large open room, with double doors front and rear. One small water closet, and a bank of dimmable switches for the interior lights. Light coming from the streetlamps was filtered by the closed curtains, bathing the interior in a disturbing greenish glow. Dust seemed to dance in the beams of light, making the place feel almost disconnected with reality.
The Hadley Memorial Hall, and most of Monken Hadley, had been abandoned when it had been deliberately burned by Control. A small group of metas had used this area as their home, until someone had informed the authorities about their activity here. Control adopted a ‘scorched earth’ policy to send a message and create an object lesson as to their intentions. Whole families had been taken and tossed in the new isolation camp at Water’s End. Only a few still lived here. Those who stayed were unswerving in their loyalty to the Council, and Control.
So, on one hand, this location was one of the worst to choose because of the people. It was also one of the better places as most of the people had been removed. From here, they were in the hands of the UG, until they made it to Scotland. Yellowjakket decided to take a quick turn around the small town before turning in. She started to the door, when she heard a lock turn at the back door of the hall.
Everyone froze in place at the sound. She moved next to the door, ready to attack should something attack. The door rattled as someone pulled at it, then a second lock was turned at the bottom of the door. Yellowjakket drew a breath, and focused, as an old woman entered. She took a quick look at the boys, pointedly ignoring the black and yellow meta by the door. Hse was dressed in a dingy looking dress that looked a sickly green in the light. A darker, purplish-green shawl was around her shoulders. Her heavy black-framed glasses made Yellowjakket think of a librarian. Her skin had the same sickly greenish tone as the light. Her nose was a classic Roman nose with the prominent spur between the eyes. Her thin lips were a garish pink, and pressed in a thin line as she gave each boy in the room a once-over.
“Hurry up dearies, let’s get you out and to the house. We’ve got food and a warm barn for you to sleep at.” She smiled then turned as Yellowjakket stepped behind her. “How do we decide to trust you?”, she asked bluntly, her hand beginning to glow with a yellowish cast. “Oh how clumsy of me”, she chuckled. “Ah, oh dear my memory.” She frowned in concentration, and then looked at Yellowjakket. “You’re that girl in London that’s got everyone in a snit. Yellowjakket’s baker’s dozen. So what is the countersign?”
The smile left her face, and she made a claw of her left hand. A bluish liquid seemed to form there, smoking and spitting like boiling fat. “You’re Granny Goodwitch.” Yellowjakket said, and watched the old woman’s face wrinkle with distaste. “Yes, you’re the one and I’m the one. No one would call me that to my face around here.”
She looked at the children. “You’re a day late, and you’re way out of your home, girl. Why?” “Gewlry asked me to. She had some difficulties crop up and wanted these out soonest”, Yellowjakket informed her. “As for the late part. There was a report of an escapee around Hampstead, and the patrols were heavy. I prefer stealth to speed, especially when none of the boys can outrun a car, or a bullet.” Granny nodded. “That’s very true. I heard about that escaped prisoner. Bloody rotten luck the timing. But when is timing good for anyone?”
“You seem to do well by it.”, Yellowjakket smiled. Granny frowned at Yellowjakket, who could see the mischievous twinkle in Granny’s eyes. “If you mean I’m old and slow, you’re a cheeky one.” Yellowjakket shrugged, and looked over to the children. “They’re yours now, I’ve got to get back to Londinium. I’ve got to find where they’re training the children to be Control members. If that place could be shut down, there might be a chance to really disrupt things. Maybe even get a full resistance going.”
Granny looked at her. “The resistance is there already. Someone just has to start calling for it.” Yellowjakket looked at the old woman. Granny Goodwitch opened the door, which turned the shawl from a sickly purple green to a warm lavender. “Well? We’ve not all night to chatter, fun as it is. Let’s get you to the house and some food in you.” She stepped out the door, and slowly walked towards the back of the lot and then turned north. The boys filed out and followed her in a silent gaggle, turning north and disappearing around the edge of the wooden fence at the edge of the property.
The slim huntress watched for a few minutes, then stepped out the door, quietly closing it behind her. The streets were empty of any moving traffic. Curfew was in effect. Yellowjakket flitted quickly from house to house. She could move much faster now that she needn’t worry about the boys. She swung wide around downtown Monkton Hadley, then paralleled the tracks back towards London. She was far enough outside of London proper that it was easy travel, without the dangers of overhead reconnaissance. She moved east intending on coming in from the last direction she’d lured them towards. If they took the bait, the area around Stratford would be futilely searched for her, at least for a few days.