the smuggler’s bible


Gisela sees an opening and lunges forward, feels steel scrape against bone.

Then, a still and silent darkness that slowly fades into motion. She is aware of the nineclaw as warmth underneath her. She watches trees slide past through half-lidded eyes and hears thick snow crunching under his loping stride.

“Where are we going?” she says. Or maybe she doesn’t, because he never answers.

She wakes again beside a fire. Hushed voices argue nearby.

Faster than it looked, Gisela thinks, and—God!—so strong. She wonders if the children are all right. She wonders what happened to her father’s sword.