the smuggler’s bible


The door swings open under his hand. Light on the far wall, a shadow, light again. Motes gleam and swirl in his wake. There is a long room and candles on the sideboard. A man waits with a bowl for him to dip his hands, a cloth to dry them. He nods toward the table. He means, there at the end, that is your place.

Byrhtnoth sits and takes a strawberry from a dish. Across from him, a tall man, light-colored eyes, plucks bones from a capon.

“You forget, sir,” the man says quietly, “that you came with a sword.”