“I need someone to dial it,” Brooks said. “Maybe it’s close enough to hear the ring - or someone could find it.”
“Can’t call without a phone,” Dex said. He turned a bit red, crossed his arms and looked at his feet as he ground the toes into the floor.
“I’ve got mine,” I said, quick-scrolling through my very short contact list to find the number Brooks had put into it after Cavanaugh’s class. I pressed the button and prayed my mad-genius of a best friend was either out of range or had thought to turn the ringer off.
I was also praying neither Brooks nor Dex could tell I was holding my breath until I was sure there wouldn’t be a ring.
“Where’d you get that?” Dex asked, while I pretended to search the food court for a hint of sound.
“Uncle Paul,” I said with a shrug, then hung up. “He wanted to make sure any news got through, so he gave me a new phone.”
“Who are you related to? Seriously?”
“Just Uncle Paul,” I said, turning to Brooks to add: “No answer, sorry.”
Dex was practically salivating. My phone wasn’t the usual pre-paid-from-the-drugstore piece of trash I was used to. It was a gift from one of the companies with a buy-in on Uncle Paul’s game – a beta version of a model that wouldn’t hit stores for another three months. They were hoping he’d give them special consideration on an app or something to increase their audience base. (I’m sure the company suits would have passed out if they knew Uncle Paul had handed their next-big-thing to his teenage niece, who then dragged it around the city on her quest to skirt the line between misdemeanor and felony.)
I slipped the phone back in my pocket, and for once I was fairly sure hormones had nothing to do with why Dex was staring at my backside. He looked like a starving man forced to sit at a banquet with his hands tied. At Lowry, he had a well-polished suit of social armor in place – no different than making sure his tie sat straight – but in the wild, when he didn’t have to conform to a set way of acting, the want for things he couldn’t have showed through. It made the moment uncomfortable enough that I was happy to join in on a physical, if pointless, search that meant we all had to split up to cover more ground.
"You’ve seen this before – I only want to know who made it. It saved us. There’s no mark on it, but if I didn’t know better, I’d think it was something of my father’s."
Squint ran his calloused thumbs over the medallion, and gave a heavy, resigned sigh.
“It’s Magnus’ work all right. Early stuff, though. Way before The Show – before your mother, too. He’s always had the gift.”
“But how would Sister Mary Alban have gotten something of my father’s?”
“That may be the name she uses now, but I’d bet it’s not the one she was born with. Did she look familiar at all?”
“As familiar as a mirror.”
Squint nodded along, as though he had suspected as much.
“Renata. That’s the only one she could be.”
It wasn’t a common name, and certainly one I’d never heard before.
“Your father’s youngest sister. His twin.”
“My father had brothers and sisters?”
I had aunts and uncles? No one had ever mentioned them.
“Only sisters,” Squint clarified.
“Where are they? Why aren’t they here? Why weren’t they with us on the train?” It seemed that every time I got an answer, three new questions came to take its place.
“He had only sisters, Penny Dreadful, in the same way you have only sisters. Renata was the fifth… like you. They were like you and the girls, where do you think they went?”
To “no one knows,” that’s where. No one knew where the Estabulary kept their Hounds, or how many there actually were.