Is this Surreal Life?


(The scene travels through various locations — Corrie's vehicle, a warehouse lot, another vehicle, and a Bed & Breakfast)


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Corrie Ghost

After rushing her out of the Undercity, Aidan escorted Corrie to her vehicle (which unfortunately gave away the area of her entrance to the Undercity), and ensured that there was no one following them before taking his leave of her. He really didn't pose much of a threat, and seemed to have been rather gentlemanly about it all.

The night is dark, damp, and a tad foggy. It doesn't shroud the car so much, but for some reason it allows the witch to feel quite a bit more secure about everything.

Eyes closed, head tilted against the back of the seat, she takes several deep breaths in order to calm herself.

"Christ, you've really stepped in it this time, haven't you?" This muttered to herself as she gently bounces her head off the back of the seat.


There are technologies — or perhaps magics… who can say? — in existence that can mask a body from easy detection by a Vampire. They're rare. Few and far between. But they do exist.

It could be that the virtually invisible figure that emerges into the London fog behind the vampire and the witch has access to such technology. Or it could just be that luck is with her.

Again, who's to say?

But, as the vampire retreats and the witch crawls into her car, the figure watches the whole exchange, nonetheless. When the witch leans her head back against the seat, the figure approaches the car obliquely — from its blind spot, until she draws alongside the passenger door on the left and pops it open. Sliding easily into the seat beside the witch, the figure turns to her. "I'm called Ghost," she says clearly. "Rhys Owens sent me. Drive, please. I will give you directions."

There's very little to identify this Ghost. Her voice sounds synthesized — as if it's being transmitted through a radio, which almost makes sense given the concealing mask over her face. The only notable characteristic is the Irish lilt in her accent… and the strong sense of security that accompanies her.


The second the door opens, all the calmness that had come over Corrie seems to escape. Her body tenses, she jerks her head to the side and stares at the figure that's taking a seat.

"What the — where did — how…" Another deep breath is taken and she clenches the wheel with her hands. "How can I be certain Rhys sent you?" For that matter, how can I be certain I can trust Rhys?


Ghost cants her head faintly. "He gave you a piece of mica outside a restaurant called Odette's. You activated it. He called me. I am to get you to a safehouse. You need to drive. Now."


Corrie keeps her eyes on the odd figure, and finally sighs. There are few that would know that, and she doubts that Rhys would go through the trouble of a 'secure' meeting, only to tell his brother's all the details about it.

Turning the key in the ignition and putting the car into gear, she begins to drive. Every so often she gives the figure an odd look in the rearview mirror. "A safehouse? You're poking fun at me, aren't you?"


Ghost doesn't respond to the question, unless it's possible for Corrie to see the faintly arched brow that moves behind the visor over her eyes — which it probably isn't. Though, perhaps the faint cant of her head in response is enough to convey it.

"Turn left up ahead, please. Three blocks down make a right and head to the blue warehouse building on the left."


"So, how'd you get this gig, Ghost?" God, but that sounds so odd to her ears. "Can't be every day one needs to hop into a stranger's car to give directions…" He couldn't relay the directions via the mica?

The vehicle turns left as directed. At that point, Corrie is tempted to simply pull to the side of the road and get out of her vehicle. Instead, she silently continues down the three blocks and begins to look for a blue warehouse.


"It's one of my more unusual requests," Ghost admits, though she doesn't answer the first question at all. "But, Mr. Owens was rather insistent I keep you from the vampire. I am, I admit, glad he chose to walk away." Before she actually felt the need to intervene directly.

As they arrive at the warehouse, she adds, "Park the car over by the fourth loading dock. We'll be leaving it here."


"Why wouldn't he walk away? He was just escorting me out of the — wait. How did you know he was a vampire?" Corrie is full of questions tonight, it would seem, but the whole thing is just surreal to her. First the sudden friendship with Aidan, then the attack on Gideon, and now some stranger telling her that they'll be leaving her car…

"Why are we leaving my car in a warehouse? I can't imagine that it'll be a good thing to have it found out here, empty, and have people worrying…"


"Because we are going to a safe house, Miss Kavanaugh," Ghost says matter-of-factly. "It won't remain so, if your car is found there. Don't worry. We'll make sure your car gets back safely to your residence." She exits the car and comes around the front to open Corrie's door for her.

"As for the vampire… Nothing else moves like that. And I've had a lot of experience. Now, if you don't mind? It's impolite to keep Mr. Owens waiting."


"As long as they don't worry," Corrie says, blinking once more as her door is opened.

"You really didn't need to do that. It's not as though I'm going to run off. Beyond which, I'm fairly certain you'd catch me before I made it two steps away from the vehicle." She'd make a face at that normally, but she's almost amused by it.

"Why can I see a movie about this some day?" Shaking her head, she waits to follow her new 'friend' to wherever it is they're going.


"I have no idea."

Ghost leads her to a second car — a non-descript, mid-range sedan with tinted windows. She opens the back seat and waits for Corrie to slide in. Then, she walks around the car and sides into the other side, beside Corrie. A man in the front turns over the ignition and pulls out of the parking spot.


Truthfully, at this point, Corrie considers making a break for it. This is a bit too spy-like. A bit too cloak and dagger. A bit too, well, strange for her. Securing her purse to her shoulder, she takes out her cellular phone and hands it toward the strange woman. "I'm sure you'll want this, to toss it or whatever else they do with it in the movies to avoid being traced via it, right?" Good thing she backed up all the information on it yesterday so she's not liable to lose anything pertinent.

"Shouldn't you be blindfolding me as well? If I can see where we're going, maybe I'll be able to just up and walk away." Note the quiet sarcasm in her voice.


Ghost neither responds to Corrie's words nor takes the cell phone from her. Instead, she sits back, looking terribly relaxed, really, and lets the driver do his job.


The silence nearly drives Corrie mad. Rather than toss her phone out the window, she simply powers it off and buries it in the bottom of her handbag. Then she fidgets a little in the seat.

"I don't suppose you know why a safehouse is necessary?"


"Not particularly," Ghost replies.

She turns to regard Corrie for a long moment. After a handful of heartbeats she appears to sigh silently. The wry smile is hidden behind her mask, but her voice softens slightly. "Look. I don't work for the Reese Dynasty. And neither does 'Kato' up there." Somehow, in her voice, or maybe it's just in the gesture she uses to indicate the otherwise nameless driver in front of them, it's obvious that 'Kato' isn't actually the fellow's name. (In the first place, he's not Asian. He's African.)

"I'm doing a personal favour for Mr. Owens, who seemed quite genuinely concerned about your safety and well-being. Your cell phone is relatively inconsequential. This car, the warehouse, and the safehouse are all protected by magic. Frankly, seers, scrying spells, or direct surveillance are a greater threat than electronic tracking."

She shrugs, now. "As to exactly how much danger you're in? I've no idea. So, it's in my best interest — both personally and professionally — to assume the worst."


Corrie figures she gets about as much from Ghost as she's going to get, so she allows the silence to reign after that, without any pestering questions.

She doesn't stay silent too long before peering up into the front of the vehicle. "Well thanks for the ride, Kato. Appreciate it." It's genuine, in so far as she appreciates being safe though still finds the situation very odd.

"Yes, well I wasn't thinking the Reese Dynasty would be interested in tracking my cellular. More likely than not my sister will, and I'd rather not get her mired in this muck with me."


"The worst is worth it. Rutting bastard deserved it."


Ghost's head cants again in that she-may-be-arching-her-brow sort of way. "What did you do?"


"Attacked Gideon Reese for insinuating I was a prostitute."

Corrie tucks a stray curl behind her ear, and then turns to look out the window.

"For insinuating that I was prostituting myself to a vampire actually."


Ghost just… stares at Corrie for a moment. Then, as Corrie turns away, so does she, looking out the opposite window. After several more moments:

"Well done."



Corrie can't help smiling at that. Perhaps the first real smile since the incident occurred.

"Though I highly doubt that others will consider it a job well done." Her Mum would be livid for bringing even more attention to the family. Rhys likely isn't the happiest that she's attacked his brother. Chances are that the Reese Dynasty as a whole won't be pleased with it…


"I expect not."

Truthfully, Ghost is privately convinced the girl is either an idiot or suicidal. But she's very good at keeping it out of her voice. The girl appears to need the distraction… or perhaps the affirmation, and it's no skin off Ghost's nose to provide it.

For the moment, anyway.

Kato hasn't responded to anything said in the back. Not even to Corrie's thanks, though that isn't really such a surprise. But, he turns the car into a narrow alley and maneuvers into a tight laneway behind a string of old rowhouses.

"Here we are," Ghost says, then.


Corrie is likely suicidal. At least, of the two, she'd believe that more. After all, she could have run from danger in the Undercity on two different occasions, and instead of doing it she stood her ground.

Perhaps she's just mad as a hatter.

"Out with me then, and you'll both be on your merry way?" Her brow raises slightly and she nods. "Thanks again for the lift." Then she's opening the door and getting out.


"I'll take you in," Ghost says lightly enough. "I expect Mr. Owens will be along soon, if he's not already here."


"I'm not going to run!" Corrie would glare at the woman, but realizes that she's simply doing her 'job' as it were.

"But I likely couldn't get in without a key anyhow I suppose, and as such I'll need you to take me in."


"That," Ghost says with a shrug, "and Winnea makes damned fine cookies."

The temptation, of course, is to imagine she's joking. Except, of course, that when the door opens the smell of fresh baked goods becomes immediately apparent.

Ghost gestures for Corrie to precede her, just as a small — as in 4' tall small — woman with bright red hair and nut brown skin 'rounds the corner to investigate.

"Goddess! It's you, Ghostie. Gave me a right fright, you did. Who's this then? The Sorcerer's friend?"

"So she is," Ghost replies, closing the door behind them. "Miss Corrie Kavanaugh, it's my pleasure to introduce you to Miss Winnea Oakroot, proprietress of this fine establishment — the Silver Oak Bed & Breakfast. Winnea, Miss Corrie Kavanaugh, a Witch. Friend to Rhys Owens and antagonist to Gideon Reese."

Winnea blinks jewel-like eyes at the introduction. "Well, come along then, ducky," she says to Corrie. "In from the fog. Never safe out in the fog, you know. Come along into the kitchen. There's a kettle on the hearth. Tea will be available in a trice and there are fresh-baked cookies just out of the oven. Your friend hasn't arrived yet, but this'll be neutral enough ground, I expect. He'll be along shortly." A beat. To Ghost: "Cookies for you, dear, before you go?"


"Winnea?" Corrie blinks. "Cookies?"

In the spy movies, safehouses are empty shells where one holes up for several days before moving to another.

When she smells the baked goods, it's almost as though she's returned home. It reminds her of Prudence's kitchen. Whatever tension had remained slowly begins to vanish.

She is about to correct the introduction, but when she's offered tea, she smiles. "It's mighty nice of you to allow the visit, Miss Oakroot. I do hope that we're not actually intruding upon anything…"


"Of course," Ghost says lightly, then, following Corrie and the diminutive Winnea into the kitchen.

"Not at all, lass, not at all," Winnea clucks, giving Corrie a motherly smile. "Always happy to provide a neutral, safe place for supernaturals to talk to while a way a bit o' time. The ground rules are simple: This here's neutral ground. You don't go flinging spell or uttering curses at each other. Inside these walls is truce. No killing or maiming or fighting of any kind. What you do in the wide world is your business. Keeping the peace here is mine."

All of which suggests this is not a Reese-connected property.

"But, I'm sure a good lass like you'll have no problem with that."

Ghost is heard to chuckle briefly from the doorway as Winnea bustles over to the counter and wraps a few cookies in a checkered napkin to give to the armoured woman. "Don't eat them all in one sitting, luvvy," she tells her, patting her hand in a grandmotherly fashion.

"I make no promises," Ghost says lightly, tucking the morsels away into a pocket of her coat. She raises two fingers up to the tip of her hood, giving Corrie a light nod. "Best of luck to you, Miss Kavanaugh. If you ever need my services for your own purposes, speak to Winnea, here. She'll let me know."


"Er… thanks, Ghost. Appreciate it."

Oh, Corrie can definitely see a movie being made of this in the future. Witch out of her element, being thrust into surreal situations. It'd likely be a blockbuster.

"I've no intention on hurtling spells in someone else's home or business, nor have I intentions of harming Mr. Owens." Probably because she actually likes him.

"I'll be more than happy to follow whatever rules you lay out, provided I can have a cuppa when it's ready." It should, with any luck, calm her nerves.


Ghost slips out the back, or so it might be presumed, since she heads back down the hallway, out of the kitchen. She leaves Corrie with Winnea, who bustles about preparing the tea and serving the cookies. "How do you take your tea, luv?" the smaller woman asks. "Milk? Sugar? Straight up?"

Her eyes sparkle merrily. She's at home, here, and apparently quite content with Corrie's answers thus far.


"Lemon if you've got it, black if you don't." Corrie watches the woman with a great deal of curiosity. Once she appears to be busy, she actually takes in her surroundings.

"Lovely place you have here, Miss Oakroot. Have you been running it long?" Beat. "I don't believe I've ever heard of it before." Though that is more than likely because she's never needed a place like this before.


"Oh, we've been here for ages and ages, this place and I. But, we don't do a lot of open advertising. Never really needed to," Winnea says easily, pulling out a lemon from the pantry and slicing it briskly. She collects the boiling water and pours it over an old-fashioned tea strainer into a wide-mouthed hand-thrown pottery mug. She sets cookies on a plate and brings them over to Corrie.

The kitchen, itself, is also old-fashioned and homey. The table is oak and sturdy. The floor is smooth, fitted stone. The walls are a combination of plaster, wood, and stone. Flowers grow profusely out of pots along a criss-crossed mullioned window and fresh fruits and vegetables are collected on a wide butcher block counter beside a large, stainless steel double sink. A step stool is on the floor before the counter. The most remarkable thing is that when she said 'hearth', she meant it. There's a wide fireplace at the far end, complete with a spit and cauldron. All in all… this really does have the feel of an OLD English inn.


Spotting the cauldron, Corrie can't help but laugh. "Mum used to have one of those in the kitchen, until Da made her renovate." It's her way of saying it reminds her of home without being so corny about it.

Wrapping her hands around the warm mug, she allows herself a moment to relax. Forgetting that this is a safehouse and considering it as what it is — a beautiful Bed and Breakfast.

"Should you ever consider advertising, I'd be more than happy to work on the public relations side of things at no charge. The least I can do for you allowing this." She doesn't quite reach for a cookie yet, content for the moment to warm her hands.


Winnea pushes a tall stool up to the table — one that allows her to sit fairly level with the taller woman, once she clambours up on it. "I'll keep it in mind, deary, thank you," she says kindly. "I'm not much for new fangled ways, really. Tried and true are that way for a reason, don't you know?"

She sips her own tea and reaches easily for a cookie. Amidst a mouthful, she hums a noise of contentment and brushes crumbs from her lips. "Nothing like freshly baked cookies, don't you agree?"


"Hum? Oh, yes. They smell delicious." Corrie absentmindedly picks one up, nibbling at it daintily, though she keeps one hand upon the mug as though it's going to ground her.

"I would never push any new fangled ways upon you. Word of mouth is generally just as good as a great advertising blitz." Beat. "Just don't tell my boss I said so." While Corrie herself uses 'new fangled ways' to promote her clients, or to ensure a decent spin on things for others, she'll never deny that good old-fashioned word of mouth is just as important.


Winnea gives Corrie an indulgent smile. "Not a word," she promises.

Ghost is right, though. Winnea's cookies are 'damned fine'. It'd take a helluva lot of effort to find any better in London, at least.

Just as the proprietress is reaching for a second one, a little brown critter comes toddling in from the far entry. He's about 18" tall and shambles on two legs… but he looks rather like a hind-walking hedgehog crossed with a Chicaboo (a.k.a a Monchichi in North America). Scuttling over to the table, he monkeys his way up the stool and scrambles on to the table's surface. He eyes Corrie for a moment, but then leans in to whisper something in Winnea's ear before stealing a pair of cookies and leaping down to the floor with them.


Corrie is distracted by cookies and tea, so she nearly misses the odd little creature that wanders in. The cookie is halfway to her mouth for another small nibble, when she finally catches the thing climbing up. Then she can only stare at it as she tries to figure out what is being whispered.

Though she's still finding this whole thing really surreal, she clears her throat. The cookie is placed in front of the tea mug, and she lifts the mug to her lips for a sip. When she begins to lower the mug she glances over at Winnea. "I see your cookies are very popular."

It seems a far safer topic of conversation than 'what is that'.


"That they are," Winnea says with a twinkle in her eyes. "Pali informs me, however, that your friend Mr. Owens has been unavoidably delayed. He'll be here by and by, however. I've no doubt of that."

She glances over her shoulder to see that the critter — Pali, one might suppose — is now hunched happily munching on one of his prizes beside the fire. He grins up at both women.


"Detained by his family, no doubt." Corrie isn't even aware that she's spoken the words aloud at this point. She just glances at Pali, and tries to smile. It's very odd to be grinned at by an oddly fluffy monkey creature.

"If it would not be too much trouble then, could I procure a room? I would like to freshen up if at all possible, and I've no qualms paying for it. You've been so kind already and I'd hate to put you out any more than I already have."


Winnea waves her hand dismissively. "Oh, don't you go worrying your pretty head about that. The charges for your stay have already been seen to. Here, then." She slides off her stool and sets her cup aside. "I'll show you to your room. I'm sure you've had a tiring day."


"Oh, Miss Oakroot. Please allow me to take care of the costs for the room? I'm already likely beholden to Rhys for so much, it would be unfair for me to expect payment for a room here as well." Corrie's already reaching into her handbag to pull out her pocketbook. "If nothing else, you'll wind up paid twice for the room, and you can use the extra to stock the pantry with more ingredients for your absolutely divine cookies."

A handful of money is held out to the woman as she nods. "Not tiring in so much as long and very surreal."


Winnea shakes her head, firmly. "I've little use for that, lass. Put it away. And, you might as well call me Winnea. Everyone does." She eyes Corrie directly. "Hospitality's my stock and trade, but paper currency does me little good and the coins of the realm, these days, are so adulterated there's hardly a mite of worth in them. Now. To your room. You can freshen up. Dinner's in an hour. I'll expect you down then."

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