Exhaust billowing from the Axicell plants on Southgate's north side thickened the August air and lent it the smell of clean laundry. Laud Umar turned off his book and checked the time. He'd been here an hour, and now he wondered whether he should descend the escalator to the street below and walk alone into the city or buy a ticket back to Torarica. "Keele Haxem." "What?" Laud looked up to see a teenage boy in a vintage black pinstriped suit and wingtips. "Keele Haxem," the boy said again, but he offered no hand. "What the fuck." His skin was very white, but his pallor seemed natural. His hair was fine, almost platinum blond, parted on the left and plastered against his skull in a style decades out of date. He smelled of dollar bills. "What the fuck," Laud said. Then, "You're late." "Yes," Keele said, smiling hard. "Did you—? You work for the Call." "I'm a reporter," said the boy. "I'm no good, but I'm tenacious. You wrote a book about Jackson." "Right," Laud said slowly. "

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