Indra was busily adding some renaissance-themed plastic army men to the battlements of the Carstle. Each of the figures was about three inches high, which made them a bit smaller than she'd envisioned when she was setting up the scale for the Carstle, but visually, they worked; mainly they just made the Castle look like it was bigger in scale. She'd been up for two nights with little bottles of nail polish, painting all of the figures so they'd all be in the same uniform, like good little soldiers.
She was setting up a siege defense force. It was plain and simple, soldiers going to and fro about the work of defending a medieval castle. The command post was above the gate; here the castellan could watch and his orders could be quickly distributed by runners and squires. A pair of lookouts in each tower, and the abandoned post of a semaphore flagman. The commander of this army didn't need the flagmen to transmit the reports from the towers. There were a half-dozen farmers with wheelbarrows full of rocks, brought up to the top of the towers where soldiers could throw them down at attackers, and a tiny ballista for hurling tiny logs, the size of telephone poles in scale, at any towers or siege engines the enemies tried to build.
It was the ballista her attention was focused on now. Telephone-pole sized, in the scale of the Carstle, meant a dowel pin about half an inch wide and a foot and a half long, with a wicked arrowhead on it and painted to look like a log. The bow of the ballista itself she'd carved with a torch and a grinder out of a leaf spring she'd pulled off the custom suspension of a Ferrari in a junkyard. The bowstring had once been the throttle cable of the same car. Right now she was in the delicate process of joining the bowstring and the bow, which meant carving notches in the ends of the bow and closing loops in the ends of the bowstring with tiny cable swages. Lots of artists would have cut corners here and just glued it, but Indra was a stickler for getting every mechanical detail right.
She wiped sweat off her face, absent-mindedly smudging grease all over the snarling kitten tattoo on her cheek, then pulled out a filthy hanky and wiped her forehead. It was hot in the shop because her big kiln was still hot with her latest gargoyle, which had fired the previous Thursday and was cooling on a three-week schedule. Finally the swaged ends of the bowstring fit properly and without slippage around the ends of the bow. With a grin she set up the four little action figures around it to act as crew, and glued together a little pile of a dozen more logs for them to shoot. A few dabs of hot glue set the feet in place so they wouldn't come loose even if the Carstle shimmied and shook and drove fifty miles an hour.
Rose, Mitch, and Wolf had been following another art-car - a '75 Maverick with big fake swim fins on the back bumper and a big fake scuba tank on top. When they'd found the place, it had gone on and they had turned into the parking lot.
Philo's approach to defending a place from intruders was more modern, less symbolic, and more practical than Indra's. Wolf and Mitch were looking dubiously at the Red, Yellow, and Black Industrial Arts Community murals, and even more dubiously at a conspicuous sign which read, 'Come on in, Let's talk Amway!'
"Are you sure this is the right place, Rose?" Said Mitch.
"I'm sure," Rose said.
She walked up to the big double door and knocked, loudly. Nothing happened. She knocked again. Finally, they heard footsteps, and the door swung open.
Alex and Axel stood side by side in the doorway. "Damph gespatchen, Rose?" Said Axel. Both brothers listened for the reply.
"Mitch is a detective, trying to catch the Hook," Rose replied, gesturing to Mitch, behind her. "And this is Wolf," she went on. "The Hook got his wife a couple years ago."
YOU ARE READING
This is a story that tells, among other things, why it really sucks to be psychic, what people who endlessly collect art and trivia are really doing, and where Gods, Goddesses and Devils come from. Rose is a telepath - but it isn't really "readin...