It was a derelict, tumbledown hulk that looked to have been built in the Tudor-era and which survived by simple virtue of that Knockturn Alley was never at shortage of empty-pocketed castaways with little want from life beyond a roof over their heads. Nola wondered if it leaked when London rained. Though, it had not rained very much recently. Even the bleakest of Londoners had came out in droves to bask in the hottest August that graced Europe in years. She had only been here just under half an hour and already the young woman lost count of how many times she raised her hand to swipe away a thin sheen of perspiration from her forehead.
She was beginning to lose count, too, of how many times the graffitied and visibly abused front door swung open to reveal a stranger. Was this the eighth? The ninth? An eclectic assortment of characters shuffling in and out. Men, women, a bald goblin with only half of his right ear, an espresso-skinned girl who couldn't be older than Nola's half-brother but wore a weary expression of one who'd seen too much that they'd rather forget. No morose half-Asian wizard, with blue veins blossoming underneath pale skin and a tattooed neck and listless abyss in his eyes, but if she needed some reassurance that this was where he lived, Nola need only point to the varying degrees of scowls that everyone wore whether entering or departing the building. Birds of the same feather flocked together.
Still, she didn't need clues the way pigeons scrabbled for scraps of breadcrumbs. She knew who she saw, even if it was only the back of a raven-haired head disappearing behind a door and swallowed by the jaws of a dim-lit passageway behind a cobwebbed windowpane. He lived here. She knew it. Call it sixth sense, as her father would say. A fool's name for wishful thinking, Lisbeth Falstolfe-formerly-Fitzralph would correct dismissively. Nola didn't care. So long as he eventually turned up, so long as she was eventually correct, it didn't matter what name anyone gave this madness of crouching listlessly against the brick wall of some unnamed flat for the third day in a row waiting for someone who may not even be in the country.
May not even be alive, though she stampeded down the thought as her bored fingers ravaged a strand of weed that had been determinedly sprouting its way between two grooved bricks. She would have heard something on the vine if he had went and got himself killed.
It might still be a good joke to begin with: I thought at least half your face would have rotten through by now, just like your soul.
Except that when the scuffed and worn tips of a pair of shoes intruded in her vision a mere inch away from her own feet, prompting the caterpillar that had been crawling across the toe of her espadrilles to hasten its escape, Nola found herself blanking on the joke. Mouth dry and wordless, breath captured in her chest whilst her head froze somehow at its lowered, bowed angle. A droplet careened off her face to blossom in a darkened blot on the brown leather.
Last edited by Nola Fitzralph on 06 Feb 2020, 00:38, edited 3 times in total.