Up from Beneath

It’s been a bone dry year, to the point where she can’t quite remember what a pain in the ass rain is and sleeping’s hard without the white noise to cover everything up. There’s the bay, of course, but the breakwater’s ten miles out and won’t drown anything except sailors. Months and months of sunny days, and everyone alternately laughing and irritated, phantom limbs gone withered and dry.

Markfeet’s spent the better part of it below ground, though, so she’s kept hold of her proper Albion pallor, her and the magicians who barely notice the weather when it’s terrible and not at all when it’s good. Albion’s been plagued, if that’s the word, with a throng of returning dead come trooping up out of the sea, faces and flesh eaten away by bottomfeeders and nothing to say who they were or what they want. They’re not violent, which is some kind of a relief, and they don’t rot any more than they already have, which in this endless April is all kinds, but they’re uncanny and messy and persistently dead so they’ve been dropped in her lap to figure out.

They’re not getting anywhere. Forensics is biting nails and even her University contacts are getting a little wild around the eyes. Every so often some enterprising pack of hooligans goes wading into the crowd with machetes and flamethrowers, but for every one they kill another comes oozing out of the blue, blue water to take its passive, unresisting place.

Everyone tries to take it in stride, but she knows how these things boil over. It’s all laughs now, but people weren’t built to take such an endless regard; sooner or later the weather will break.