Subsection: 1 February 2016 (strange things at sunset) Up Subsection: 1 February 2016 (strange things at sunset) Subsection: 15 February 2017 (another riot and a drunken chat) 

Wednesday, 25 June 1930

A report from Miss Allen reveals that there were more muggings than usual in London last night: on a typical night it’s ten or so that get formally reported, and last night it was twice as many, the extras all being around sunset. Audrey plots times and locations, and reckons there are two extra sequences: both are centred on the West End, though roaming fairly far afield, one involving someone who just hit people (only men) without speaking, the other involving a knife-man who demanded money (of men and women), with “a whispery voice with a German accent”, but stabbed his victims anyway. The victims seem to be a fairly random cross-section of the sort of people who’d be around at that time.
Audrey and Lin Tan try visit some of the victims in the Middlesex Hospital, but don’t manage to talk their way in, though Audrey does get a glimpse of patient details and find out which ward the victims are in. Lin Tan doesn’t manage to evade the porters there, but does sneak in through a back door and get up to the ward. The first victim has been beaten with two or three very powerful blows, judging by her martial arts experience, and there’s some shine visible round the edges of the bandages.
This first victim is semiconscious, but reports a huge man who stepped “out of nowhere”, confronted him and struck him; he didn’t see anyone else. When he woke up his jacket was torn and wallet gone. The second victim is unconscious, but the third is rather more awake, with a bandaged head and left shoulder. He clearly assumes that Lin Tan is one of the hospital visitors, and recounts a similar experience. He clearly assumes that his attacker was a foreigner (unlike Lin Tan who is a Good Foreigner).
On her way out, she’s challenged by someone, but gets out of sight and runs; she isn’t pursued outside the building.
Meanwhile, Bessie and Gertrude have been looking around the sites of the attacks. At each one, they find a smear of shine from ground level up to about six feet (for one lot) or seven and a half feet (for the other), about ten to fifteen feet long. It’s not a human outline, even if viewed obliquely. They are all facing west, where light might fall on them at sunset. The two think about the sun’s movement, but can’t immediately work out details; though going by the times of the attacks it can’t have taken more than ten minutes. There aren’t any footprints of shine visible.
It’s clear from the reports that the assailants moved around, rather than being fixed in one spot. One victim describes his attacker (the knifeman) as having stepped “out of the wall”.
When the groups get back together, Audrey reckons that the lens (if any) must have been at least a couple of hundred feet away. The people who were robbed lost wallets, watches, and anything else obviously valuable, but not change. If any of the relevant films were being shown in the area, it wasn’t for public exhibition.
Gertrude goes to see Mrs Smith; she hasn’t heard of things like this, but her general feeling is that, while Western magician types like to taxonomise spirits as they do everything else, she treats every spirit as an individual that has to be learned about specifically.
The afternoon is spent talking with street vendors and other possible witnesses. Nobody saw the attacks, which is mildly unexpected; also, there was no sign of people with cameras (which might have disguised projectors), or cars being driven around slowly.
Around sunset, the group splits into pairs, keeping a fair bit of distance between them. Gertrude sees a seven-foot shadow on a wall where no shadow should be; it moves, gradually becomes plainer, and eventually takes on three dimensions and starts walking towards her. She and Bessie run, hoping to lead it somewhere; Gertrude doesn’t make much of a pace, and Bessie tries to draw the attacker off without success. Before it catches up with Gertrude, though, it fades into another sunlit wall, in a reverse of the process of its appearance. (But it had passed another such wall during its pursuit.) It was probably out for less than a minute. Gertrude looks westward along the streets, but doesn’t see anything unexpected.
Audrey and Lin Tan hear a scream that turns into a gurgle; they see a victim lying on the ground in a pool of blood, and a sunlit patch of wall nearby, but no attacker. The man’s been stabbed in the abdomen; Audrey does some basic bandaging, and Lin Tan blows a whistle to call for help. There’s a little shine round the wound, and no sign of robbery (it will later become apparent that nobody was robbed this night, as people have read the reports and decided to scream and run). A policeman arrives, and calls for help and an ambulance. Audrey and Lin Tan give statements.
Some time later, Audrey and Lin Tan hear the sound of a pub fight that’s turning into a junior riot. Even a fight is fairly unusual here, and this mob seems to be shouting “smash the state” while it looks around for things to break.
They try to work their way round the mob, of about thirty people, to get to the pub (on the north-east corner of a block) that they came from. Lin Tan manages to sneak past, but Audrey is engaged in mildly hostile conversation. The rioter who’s spotted her – they’re all quite well-dressed and not the type to do this sort of thing – says that she should join them in smashing the system; he’s clearly repeating anarchist propaganda he’s heard elsewhere, but whoever he’s been listening to apparently knew their stuff.
Lin Tan gets to the pub: it’s empty of people, and has been slightly broken up but not seriously. There’s a central brightest magical point, prints from women’s shoes standing on the chair, and it gets dimmer further from that location.
A publican comes out of the back, looking nervous. A woman (dressed fashionably, he thinks, though he’s not an expert, and with short curly blonde hair) came in and started rabble-rousing. She might have had a slight German accent, but he’s not at all sure.
Audrey talks her way out of the mob and into the pub. The police arrive to quell the riot, which folds quickly when confronted.
Later in the evening Gertrude takes a look at the Aubrey house, but doesn’t spot anything magical.
 Subsection: 1 February 2016 (strange things at sunset) Up Subsection: 1 February 2016 (strange things at sunset) Subsection: 15 February 2017 (another riot and a drunken chat)