Up in the Rafters: Hammersmith (thirty-four)
A curious feature of Mossbunker’s factory (or, for all Aimee knew, an ordinary feature of any factory), was this concealed catwalk below the skylights. Zetland’s Renegades crouched here in darkness…
But she could picture workers below looking up to a dazzling white daylight, unable to know if Mossbunker or any of his foremen looked down.
The coinage for their little band was Vic’s. He’d whispered it to her, bitter-humored…and not an especially, as to bygones being bygones, thawed-out whisper. Aside from their own inroads into the Patriots’ strength, Nico’s Workers’ Brigade had picked off Abel, Derfinger, Hugh Braithwaite, Ed Brainerd, and the chief, Mossbunker himself.
A narrow escape, and Biyah’s knowledge of the cable works’ layout, had won them this perch. Lanterns throbbed in the corners of a staging area. Or of, at any rate, a cleared floor space…and Mossbunker, being tallest; being inclined to carry himself as a mighty rock—a fair Gibraltar of disapprobation—was easy to spot, mouthing like a buffalo at his bandanna-gag. He was back-to-back with Abel, their hands bound together.
“I like that. They have spared themselves rope,” Zetland observed. His trailing silence seemed eloquent of regret.
The passage, exposed as such by Vic…during his difficulty with Elton…serving as gateway to Mossbunker’s secret avenue under the wall, its factory-end terminus offered the outer rim of a corner light’s halo. Aimee had found it a relief, the view of her own hands this afforded.
Then, a figure too young to be a Patriot, fist closed on a stone or brick, sneaked round the main structure, pivoted and took a backwards step, cupping a palm to beckon, in the way of one followed by another. He glanced across.
Armed likewise, a second scudded up from cover.
Both veed their fingers, and hooked their thumbs.
She and her new acquaintances, it occurred to Aimee, were dressed, all of them, in vagabondish castoffs. She decided against mimicking back this sign…her disguise was a thin one; Zetland and Vic might be nearby or well out of earshot. Instead, she smacked her forehead, stamped a foot, then flung an arm out straight, like an exasperated sergeant.
This, at least, confused them.
(2018, Stephanie Foster)