Tuesday, March 29, 2011

One last look around the apartment, and Tori is ready to head for the Gallery. It felt strange, having a place of her own, an actual business other than online. As she pushes open the gallery door, the clerk waves and directs a customer to a new display of sculpture.

The pieces are from Grace's sketchbooks. Stoney and two of the college artists have brought her pages to life.She watches as the woman buys one of the smaller pieces and leaves. Touching base with the clerk, Tori heads into the office. She sets up her laptop, making a pot of coffee as it boots up.  On the screen a small red teardrop pulses and she locks the office door. Sitting down, she enters her encryption code. The screen opens to updates on a town-wide email drop.

She reads through several that turn out to be duplicates of others. These the local Shifters have already resolved. Halfway down the list a new usercode appears. She clicks it open, reading the message.

Patrol in South Side notes blood scent of regular in center of street. too many tire trails to follow accurately. could not find regular in his normal haunts. will notify day patrol to watch for missing street kid.

Blood and a missing body? Any link to the bloody alley? Tori taps out a code and forwards the message to Mortuis. She reads on, sending what is new, filing what isn't. Half an hour later, she encrypts the email, locking it with another password, and closes the screen. She brings up another, inventory at the warehouse that has Stoney's previous work, along with things bought from Other artists around the world. She moves to the door, unlocking it and opening it wide. The clerk brings her a list of phone messages and Tori sets herself to the running of the Gallery.

In the back of her mind is how far, in the last few years, she has come from the nomad musician she was for centuries to the businesswoman of today.

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