the smuggler’s bible


They sit in uncomfortable silence. Each considering, turning it in their mind until the context is stripped away entirely.

Pale’s eyes are hard grey nails. The rest of his face seems to be anchored by them, a painting hanging on a wall. “When you reach for the rose,” he says at last, “and there is no safe place—free of thorns, I mean—you should perhaps pick a different flower entirely.”

“Sure, if there are options.” Lowen holds an unlit cigarette between two fingers, taps the others rhythmically. “Sometimes there’s just the one, and you can’t show up empty handed.”