Harold watched his mother turn left at the end of the street, heading into the market. He could guess what errands. She'd be looking for Legion's missing children, assuming she could talk them into going home to their mother. She could be terribly arrogant like that. The problem was she was usually right.
He looked at the wall clock over the unoccupied reception desk. Nine-forty-five was horrendously late for Julie. He took out his phone and dialled her number.
"Where are you? It's awfully late."
"I'm just walking up through the market. I saw your mum but she was in too much of a hurry to stop and chat."
"I can imagine! I'll speak to you when you get here. You haven't seen anything unusual, have you?"
"I might have done." Julie sounded cagey and Harold frowned.
"Can't tell you on the phone. See you in a minute."
She rang off, leaving Harold staring at a suddenly dead phone. "Delirious?"
The imp appeared on top of the glass fronted bookcase to the right of the desk. "Yes sir? What is your desire? Another cup of tea? Slippers warmed in the microwave? A nice bowl of Mrs. P's rubbery lumps from the fairground?"
Harold frowned. "Fairground? What fairground?"
"Cornelian's Carnival. It's set up for the week on Pity's field. I'm surprised you haven't seen it. You can't miss it from your mother's house. I'm almost surprised she hasn't complained about the lights keeping her awake at night."
Harold shook his head. "I haven't been to mum's house for a few days."
Delirious drew air through his teeth. "That's not right, is it? A lad should visit his old mum once in a while."
"I do! It's not like I don't see her, is it? I mean, she was just here five minutes ago."
The imp huffed. "That's not the point is it? She'll have been alone all Sunday. No-one but her rattling around in that big old house, clinging to the hope that her son will come and see her, perhaps bring her something to show he loves her. A bunch of flowers, maybe, or chocolates or a new washing machine."