Jack Wierdstone flitted through the corridors of the hotel, taking a shirt from this room, trousers from that, a pair of polished shoes from outside another. He strode through the foyer as if he had shares and crossed the street into Wetherby Park, ducking down to the culvert at the canal's edge.
Once out of sight he let the glamour fade, his stylish, if dated, clothes turning to rags on his bony frame. He dressed in the spoils, finishing with a Windsor knot in his new silk tie and sliding his feet into warm brogues. "Socks," he said, feeling the leather press into his calloused soles. "and a razor."
He picked up a piece of glass from the floor and angled it to catch his reflection. "And food."
He cast about on the floor, picking up the remains of a long-dead crow, a crisp packet, a scrap of cloth from his old rags; leaves, a piece of string, a bent nail. A handful of the long fronds of dry grass outside provided the means to tie these together into the semblance of a grotesque doll. Mud from the canal fleshed out the crow bones and heat from his foul breath dried it into flesh and sinew. "Uth var-a-nicht," he hissed as the figure squirmed in his hands. "Nas va penthe os ul veratu."
The fetterling dropped from his hands onto the ground, its plastic shirt crackling with each movement its beak opening and closing. "Go," said Jack. "Bring me food."