the smuggler’s bible


The man at the apothecary hums quietly to himself as he works, filling small envelopes with willow bark powders and labeling them with a little pencil. He turns, just for a moment, and walks to a small shelf, rummages gently through some bottles. When he looks up, Ossian Thornquist is standing in front of the counter. His hands are in front of him, palms down. Between them is a very long knife.

“Oh. I didn’t hear, the … uh.”

“The bell on the door? Didn’t ring, did it?” Thornquist says. “Kind of strange. Guess maybe that means I’m not a customer.”