the smuggler’s bible


She crouches slowly and feels the ground nearby, eyes forward. She’s afraid to blink, afraid to make a sound. A feeling deep inside tells her that the courtyard scene will fade if given the barest excuse.

“You told me earlier that it would be tomorrow.”

“Things are complicated now. Next week.”

Gisela’s fingers close around an object. Smooth and round. Ice cold.

“Liar. You’ve said that before, too.”

Vortigern’s reply is soft—so very soft. A whisper. The hairs on the nape of Gisela’s neck rise. Then she is falling away, backward through the open door into the snowy night.