He never got their names, and afterward Jeff couldn’t remember their faces. Young, he was pretty sure, and pleasant looking in a bland kind of way. Heavy set. Hair a kind of indeterminate color halfway between brown and black. Some kind of an accent he couldn’t place that disappeared the more he cocked an ear for it. Not locals, anyway.
“There’s someone gonna be comin’ along behind us,” one of them said.
“Looking for us,” the other added.
“You want something to disappear you?” He bound off his last stitch and handed the sleeve to the apprentice to sew into the sweater. The spell plucked at the edges of his concentration, looking for loose threads to unravel; a commission for one of the Pilot’s stringers, to encourage loose talking. “I can do that, no problem.”
“No, no, not at all.”
“We want him to find us.”
“He needs to see us everywhere, actually.”
“That’s what he paid for.”
He scratched the back of his neck with a bone needle. “You mind unpacking that a little?”
“We want everything to lead to us. Every sign, every newspaper ad.”
“Every half-heard conversation.”
“Every alleyway. Every change in the weather.”
“Huh.” He chewed on it for a while. They didn’t move, didn’t fidget with the swatches, just watched him with the patience of a pair of rocks. “I’m… not sure I can guarantee that.”
“You’re saying no?”
“You won’t even try?”
He held up his hands. “Now, I’m not saying that. It’s just… unprecedented, as all. That’s a big order, there, and I’m willing to try, but it’ll be pricey, and like I said, I don’t know I can speak for the results.”