the smuggler’s bible

the nineclaw

There’s only one place he can think to take her. The nineclaw drags Gisela out of the streambed and hoists her across his shoulders. The snow is falling harder now, covering their tracks and the blood. It’s difficult to see through the swirling flakes and white mist between the trees, but the nineclaw knows his way very well.

He walks for two days in the cold. Gisela barely stirs except on the second night when he melts some snow over a small fire and forces her to drink.

“We will be there soon, lost-cub,” he says. “Just a little farther.”